Lots of restaurants these days call themselves farm-to-table, to convey that what you are eating is freshly picked. The farm-to-table movement, where restaurants buy from local farms, rather than importing it from California, Mexico, or around the world, has been a big positive movement.
Not only does it helps the environment, there's also a theory that you're supposed to eat food grown near you.
More restaurants have embraced the philosophy in recent years by buying from local sources. A few are taking the next step by having a garden, a raised bed, even a box of herbs, on site.
Here's some of the most farm-to-table restaurants in Dallas:
Bonton Market Cafe. This cafe in South Dallas is the biggest and best example of this trend, with a market and eatery that was added to a pre-existing farm. They're really more of a "farm with a restaurant" than "a restaurant with a garden." Bonton Farms is the urban farm founded in 2012 with a goal to restore health and create jobs in the area. The farm started out small, with 1.25 acres, but now has 40 acres, making it one of the largest urban farms in the Unites States. They added the cafe in 2018. At the farm, they raise vegetables, fruits, eggs, and honey, which they sell on-site, and feature in dishes at the cafe. They also sell their produce to other restaurants such as Cafe Momentum in downtown Dallas.
Bullion. French restaurant in downtown Dallas from chef Bruno Davaillon has a small installation on the ground floor, beneath the spiral stairway you climb to enter, with a crop of herbs that vary with the season. Currently growing: rosemary.
Garden Cafe. East Dallas restaurant has a sizable garden, just under a half acre, where it is growing (or has grown) a wide range of items including kale, collards, arugula, rosemary, oregano, thyme, chives, cilantro, parsley, okra, tomatoes, and blackberries, which chef-owner Mark Wootton uses on his menu.
The Fairmont Hotel. Downtown Dallas hotel was a pioneer when a 3,000-square-foot rooftop garden was created for its signature Pyramid Room restaurant a decade ago, back when "locavore" was a cool new word. The rooftop garden remains active year-round, with crops cycled in seasonally. The hotel has two gardeners who share duties along with executive chef Jared Harms, and an apiarist who overees two active beehives in the garden that pollinate the herbs, peppers, chilis, lettuce, mint, and figs. The honey is also used for baking and cooking.
Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas. Irving hotel launched what has become a thriving garden operation nine months ago, with a half acre behind the restaurant tended carefully by the hotel's on-site landscaping department.
Harvest Seasonal Kitchen. The city of McKinney is a farm-to-table hotbed, and this downtown restaurant is a major player. Owner Rick Wells not only founded the Seed Project Foundation, which funds educational, agricultural, and community initiatives that support sustainability, he also started a small organic farm on his property to help supply his restaurants called Water Boy Farms.
Homewood. Chef Matt McCallister has been a major farm-to-table proponent, even to the point of going out and foraging for mushrooms in the woods. His restaurant on Oak Lawn Boulevard has a large garden with a dozen raised beds where he's growing things all year round depending on what thrives. He currently has vegetables and herbs such as snap peas, French sorrel, dill, Chinese broccoli, Italian arugula, wasabi Japanese Heirloom daikon, Italian fennel, garlic chives, cilantro, and lacinato kale.
Local Yocal BBQ & Grill. McKinney restaurant boasts a set of planter boxes on its patio where it grows herbs and small vegetables, used mostly in its craft cocktail program.
Patina Green and Market. McKinney restaurant earns "hyper local" status with its big commitment to local produce, both sourcing its ingredients from more than a dozen area suppliers, and in growing its own in its downtown McKinney garden, where it hass partnered with Urban Dirt, the McKinney-based edible landscape company. There are nine raised beds walking distance of the restaurant where they grow whatever's in season. Right now that means radishes, kale, and broccoli.
Sheraton Dallas. Downtown hotel has a garden on the 4th floor terrace, directly above the kitchens, to service their quartet of restaurant concepts; it even has a name: Herb'n Jungle. The chefs/culinary staff tend the garden as a team, and plant seasonally. Currently growing are winter greens such as kale, Swiss shard, and mustard greens, plus herbs that lasted over the winter including thyme, rosemary, and mint. After the last freeze of the season, they'll do a new planting for spring.
Virgin Hotels Dallas. New Design District hotel has two things going for it, sustainability-wise: 1. Founder Richard Branson is a dedicated environmentalist and 2. the hotel's restaurant program is co-overseen by Matt McCallister, one of Dallas' top farm-to-table chefs. There are built-in garden boxes on the hotel grounds where they're growing herbs, greens, and seasonal items.
WhiskeyCake. The two locations of this local chain have boxes with some greens and cabbage, plus herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and spearmint.