Eco-conscious restaurants don’t need to be reminiscent of dry granola, patchouli oil or limited selections of tofu-based meals, but unfortunately sustainably based businesses (like the new Eagles stadium, Tierra Mia Salon or James) have to work harder to shake the stigma that follows businesses that cater to such healthy lifestyles. When David Orphanides—along with his business partners, Fairmount locals Andy Siegel and Savvas Navrosidis—decided to start a new restaurant here in Philadelphia, he promised himself one thing: “If I was going to spend all that time and energy on something, it would be something I believed in.” Orphanides realized the best business idea is one that harmonizes with the creator’s values; in his case, that was living an eco-conscious lifestyle. He proposed Fare to those closest to him who shared the same love for eating and drinking as organically, locally, sustainably and responsibly as possible, including general manager Robert Amar and chef Tim Bellew. Fare the Restaurant-Bar was born soon after.
Fare Restaurant-Bar (no relation to Pure Fare) located at 2028 Fairmount Avenue should open before Memorial Day and will be green right down to the no- or low-VOC paints and stains, recycled traffic light pendant lights, FSC-certified ebonized bamboo flooring, white quartz bar (quartz has a lower environmental impact than other stone) and off-premise composting. Team Fare couldn’t be more excited about their product and the upcoming opening. “Even though it may turn out that we may not have made the best decisions with everything it took to put this restaurant together,” explains Orphanides, “we certainly researched as much information as we could and questioned everything before anything was finalized.” Satisfied with the details of the restaurant, the boys are spending the next few weeks on their labor of love; Bellew has moved on from creating the menu (with some amazing ingredient combinations, which we can’t reveal here unfortunately) to putting together the stainless steel equipment in his kitchen out of excitement to get the doors open. The 100-percent-organic ingredients that make up the menu will be as local as possible, some of which will even come from Fare’s outdoor garden adjacent to the restaurant, and cooked and plated in a simple fashion that will let the flavors speak for themselves (when you have sweet sun-drenched tomatoes like Fare will, there is no reason to cover them in heavy sauces).
As the afternoon sun streams through Fare’s wall of windows on Fairmount Avenue, Amar runs his hand along the bar top as he bursts with information about the bio-dynamic wines and organic liquors they will be serving. He goes on to tell me about how they will be filtering water in house and offering that still or sparkling for no charge, something that hopefully will be more popular in the future (paying for water is so 2010). But the best part of the story comes at the very end of our meeting when I start complaining that there are no good juice bars in Philly. “We’re doing fresh organic juices, too” Amar smiles at me. The juice combinations on the menu will be available for refills—you can bring in your juice bottles to stock up for the week (which I will be doing to fuel most of my mornings at work)—and Amar plans on using the fresh juices in creative ways on his cocktail menu as well. Juices were just the icing on the organic cake; they had us at free water.