The Green Table,
The Green Table,
Mary Cleaver is one of the pioneers in NY of the farm to table movement. 35 years ago she moved to the city and was shocked at the state of fresh produce in NY. ‘Everything was being flown in, when we had access to such great seasonal produce around the city.’
Taking matters into her own hands, she opened a small kitchen in her apartment using the finest local ingredients she could source. This kitchen grew to become - The Green Table Restaurant, The Cleaver Co. Catering and Table Green Cafe in Battery Park. All 3 operations are based from their Chelsea Market location where we visited and spoke with Mary Cleaver.
My general philosophy is that if it grows here we only serve it in season. Summer is more fun! We also have picnics on the loading dock.
This building was originally a Nabisco plant, at the time it was the largest baking facility in the world - over 1 million sqft! They moved to New Jersey in the 70’s.
The current Chelsea market space opened in 1997. Originally you had to be a wholesaler and catering wasn’t wholesale, so I had to create a product to get my foot into the market. It was chicken pot pie. We had a small counter out front that sold them. As the market’s focus moved toward retail this slowly turned into a lunch counter and then a restaurant.
The Highline really changed the nature of the neighborhood as well. The park suddenly made it a desirable residential neighborhood and totally changed the demographic. It was transvestite Hookers and a Meatmarket before.
I wanted to open the restaurant so more people would be able to understand where their food came from. As time went on we developed a summer business with healthy snack food and local beer and wine on tap down in Battery Park as well. Along with the catering we run the three operations from this kitchen here, so we have to stagger the time between the stoves and other equipment. We have a lot of people who are in and out of here over the course of a day. In the height of summer we have around 75 fulltime staff and 150 freelancers.
We serve lunch for the office team and those who start working in the morning. Then another meal at 4pm for the lunch shift people and then a late night one for the staff after the dinner service. Then all day long there is food being put out if anyone is hungry, anyone who is here is welcome to it. We also always serve a staff meal on location at the catered events. We are in the business of feeding people, therefore we feed our staff as well.
Everything we cook is considered because we are cooks. The staff meal is based on what there is left over, we definitely eat our share of rice and beans. Sometimes there is a windfall of something really special. One of the food prep cooks is a Mexican grandmother and sometimes she treats us with tamales. It rotates as to which cook is responsible, we take turns. There is also always a vegetarian/vegan meal option for the staff.
My husband runs a farm upstate. All the produce and livestock comes down here to this kitchen. We also take the staff up to visit the farm to help them understand the importance of farm to table and our philosophy. Then at Thanksgiving every full time staff member is given a Turkey from the farm as our way of thanking them.
Chicken tika and a vegetarian/vegan tika. Without dairy. With squash and greens. Rice with coconut, cranberry and almonds. Side salad. Our own flat bread
Find them here!