Mother Earth Living

Twenty Years of Green Dining

San Francisco's Greens restaurant's recipe Rataouille—and success.
By Molly Miller
July/August 1999
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Chef Annie Somerville selects only the freshest organic produce at the Zen Center’s Green Gulch Farm.
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“Greens and organic farming have grown up together,” says chef Annie Somerville. For the past fourteen years, she has presided over the kitchen at Greens, which, she says, “was in there early on,” offering completely vegetarian fare with an emphasis on locally grown, fresh organic produce. “Now,” she says, “there’s a whole industry that focuses on fresh, organic, sustainable produce. Americans are more and more aware of what they eat, and where their food comes from, and I like to think Greens contributes to that.” But she emphasizes that Greens is not evangelical. “We don’t proselytize. The word ‘vegetarian’ will not appear in the restaurant. We don’t talk about it, we do it.”

In addition to happy in-house dining, Greens offers a successful take-out business, “Greens to Go.” And wine lovers—vegetarian or not—know the restaurant’s famously long and diverse wine list. Greens shares the Fort Mason Building, an old army warehouse, with fifty nonprofit arts, cultural, and environmental organizations that give the restaurant a bit of a built-in clientele. But most San Franciscans keep coming back for the great atmosphere and stunning views as they enjoy the delicious fresh food. That’s a combination that should keep Greens in business for at least the next twenty years.


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