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Mission Chinese Food Team Opening Mega-Sustainable Mid-Market Restaurant

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The Perennial is ambitious about helping the environment-- and eating well.

Earlier this year, Lucky Peach editor-in-chief Chris Ying, Mission Chinese Food/Commonwealth founder Anthony Myint, and climate and emissions expert Peter Freed announced a new nonprofit, Zero Foodprint, that aims to help restaurants reduce their carbon footprints and fight climate change. Myint and wife Karen Leibowitz, who adapted many of Zero Foodprint's principles for MCF, are now taking them to the next level with a new restaurant, The Perennial, that's headed to 59 9th Street (at Mission).

Helmed by current MCF chef and Mission Bowling Club alum Chris Kiyuna, The Perennial will focus on all sorts of ways to make sustainability delicious. Its meat will be certified as being sourced from "carbon farming" projects, in which cattle grazing promotes the growth of perennial grasses that trap carbon beneath the soil, and Chad Robertson (Tartine Bakery) will consult on breads and baked goods made with perennial grasses that can be grown more sustainably than traditional wheat. The restaurant is also building an aquaponic greenhouse, in which scraps from The Perennial will be fed to fish, whose waste will then help fertilize a vegetable garden. The space itself will boast a "living pantry," with microgreens and vegetables grown on-premises and harvested as dishes are ordered. And of course, the kitchen will be energy-efficient as well. It's all part of a philosophy that the couple have dubbed "table-to-farm."

The restaurant is also building an aquaponic greenhouse, in which scraps from The Perennial will be fed to fish, whose waste will then help fertilize a vegetable garden.

Paul Discoe (Ippuku, Greens) will design the 65-seat space, which will feature a full bar helmed by Claire Sprouse (The Square, ABV) and Chad Arnholt (Trick Dog), otherwise known as Tin Roof Drink Consulting. The plan is to be open for lunch (including to-go options) and dinner six days a week, with entrees in the $18-25 range, and a smaller bar menu for the afternoon and late-night crowd. As if that wasn't enough, Paramo Coffee will also have a kiosk inside the restaurant, and will play host to the aquaponic greenhouse (which will be funded via a Kickstarter campaign) at its roasting facility. All in all, it's an ambitious project, and one ideally suited for kicking off a conversation about what it means to serve truly sustainable food in an era of encroaching climate change. If all goes as planned, expect the Perennial to arrive in February. (And if that name sounds familiar, it's for good reason: the Daniel Patterson Group's forthcoming restaurant with Brett Cooper was also set to be called Perennial, but after learning of Myint's project, they changed the name to Aster.)

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