In a match made in food tech heaven, Creator, a new SoMa restaurant serving $6 robot-prepared burgers, will be the first business to serve indoor-grown greens from Plenty. Creator’s new salad is made with a spring mix of five lettuces from Plenty’s vertical farm in South San Francisco. It’s on the menu now, and at $4, that makes for a very futuristic $10 lunch combo.
Creator, which opened in June, has been rolling out slowly with ticketed lunches held at its 680 Folsom Street space. The room is clean and modern, but avoids feeling dystopian, with humans taking orders and preparing sauces and sides like the new salad. Meanwhile, Creator’s two, 14-foot, all-in-one burger machines slice buns, grind beef, and grill patties, combining them into burgers in five minutes flat.
Like those burgers, which are handled by machine from start to finish, Plenty emphasizes a clean, controlled environment. “Nothing touches this produce” says Tara Kriese, Plenty’s senior vice president of marketing. “We’re establishing a standard that’s cleaner than organic.”
Plenty’s indoor hydroponic environment can also produce healthy and popular greens like kale no matter the season. Growing them close to their final destination eliminates shipping and warehousing and keeps them fresh.
“They’re the freshest greens you can get,” says Creator culinary director and product design lead David Bordow. “It’s the freshest lettuce I’ve ever tasted.”
Bordow serves Plenty’s spring mix with goat cheese and a dressing based on one from Chez Panisse, where he used to cook. It’s a Dijon-based vinaigrette with red wine and Banyuls vinegar (aged vinegar made from sweet French wine).
Plenty just began introducing its products to the public, serving samples to Outside Lands festival goers and artists in a very Bay Area debut. But Bordow has been hip to Plenty for some time: A former roommate with ties to Stanford’s Product Realization Lab, where Bordow was a TA helping students prototype manufacturing products, went on to work at Plenty, putting it on Bordow’s radar.
“The food tech community in SF is pretty hot now, and the circles are small,” Kriese notes. Now, at Creator’s lunches, they’re starting to overlap.