Northeast Times

Fare brings fresh, organic food to the table

Real­iz­ing the shift­ing at­ti­tude in Fair­mount, and the city as a whole, the new Fare res­taur­ant along Fair­mount Av­en­ue boasts a purely or­gan­ic kit­chen.

Fare Gen­er­al Man­ager Robert Am­ar. The Fair­mount Av­en­ue res­taur­ant opened it’s doors back a few weeks ago with the mis­sion to of­fer only or­gan­ic foods.

Phil­adelphia is a new place.

Once the “work­shop of the world,” Philly had tower­ing chim­neys on man­u­fac­tur­ing plants that filled the air with ac­rid smoke.

The Delaware River was once so pol­luted, it is said fumes from the river would eat away at the paint on the bot­tom of passing planes. These pois­on wa­ters es­sen­tially killed off the shad in the Delaware River, which were once so plen­ti­ful, a neigh­bor­hood — Fishtown — was named in hon­or of the fish.

But now, res­id­ents are more en­vir­on­ment­ally savvy.

Re­cyc­ling pro­grams are more suc­cess­ful now in the city than they ever have been, and loc­als are look­ing at their own im­pact on the en­vir­on­ment while seek­ing out fresh, loc­al foods — as op­posed to frozen or fried meals.

And in this new age of a clean­er, green­er Phil­adelphia, Fair­mount’s new Fare Res­taur­ant might just be ahead of the curve.

The new eat­ery, at 2028 Fair­mount Ave., opened May 26 and fo­cuses on what Robert Am­ar, the eat­ery’s gen­er­al man­ager, called “fresh, clean and thought­ful” meals.

It proudly boasts a “100 per­cent or­gan­ic kit­chen,” which Am­ar said means there are no chem­ic­als used in any in­gredi­ents.

Ad­mit­tedly, he said, it’s a tricky thing to provide, but the own­ers — a trio of Andy Siegel, a prop­erty own­er of L’Oca Itali­an Bis­tro across the street, Savvas Nov­rosid­is, own­er of nearby Fair­mount Pizza, and Dav­id Orphan­ides, a zon­ing at­tor­ney — wanted to en­sure meals that were un­like any­thing else in the area.

“Hav­ing a 100 per­cent or­gan­ic kit­chen takes a tre­mend­ous amount of time,” said Am­ar. “All the foods we are us­ing are free of chem­ic­als … We did it be­cause we couldn’t get this any­where else.”

“The ques­tion was ‘where can you get something like this?’” con­tin­ued Am­ar. “And the an­swer is you really can’t.”

Point­ing to sim­il­ar busi­nesses which may fo­cus on loc­al and fresh in­gredi­ents, Am­ar said that too of­ten these places of­fer fried foods or cheese­bur­gers where the meat and cheese or oth­er in­gredi­ents may be or­gan­ic, but it’s com­bined in­to a fatty, high-cal­or­ie dish.

“What’s the point of mak­ing something clean and or­gan­ic if you’re just mak­ing a heart at­tack on a bun?” ques­tioned Am­ar. “We want to try to present something that, after you eat it, you don’t feel like ‘blech’.”

As an al­tern­at­ive, Am­ar poin­ted to Fare’s bur­ger of­fer­ing: a bison bur­ger with spin­ach and feta cheese, her­bed yogurt, lem­on and mint.

“With that, you’re still full but, it’s less heav­i­ness,” he said.

But, how do you pre­pare these foods to en­sure the “fresh, clean and thought­ful” aes­thet­ic that Fare is aim­ing for?

First off, he said, you don’t fry any­thing.

“We don’t even own a fry­er,” said Am­ar.

Typ­ic­ally fried foods that Fare does of­fer, like squid, are in­stead grilled to keep in the fresh fla­vors and aroma.

“You want to taste the stuff, not cov­er it up,” he said.

As for provid­ing loc­ally pro­duced foods, Am­ar said the res­taur­at­eurs want to provide fresh, or­gan­ic foods first; if they can get that loc­ally, they will. But, Fare will not sac­ri­fice or­gan­ic qual­ity for loc­al­ity, he said.

“If it’s loc­al and not or­gan­ic, we will not buy it,” he said. “Who is in our com­munity is im­port­ant, but the whole world is our com­munity, too … We are put­ting our money where we think the re­in­force­ment should be.”

One look at the menu and Fare’s fo­cus on fresh foods is ob­vi­ous.

From an ap­pet­izer of­fer­ing a cauli­flower and mil­let mash with shii­take sauce to baked chick­en meat­balls with kale, Yukon golds and cheese, Fare’s of­fer­ings stand out from the tra­di­tion­al bar foods offered at many eat­er­ies throughout the city.

But the new es­tab­lish­ment’s push for healthy liv­ing doesn’t stop at the kit­chen.

Fare’s Web site, fareres­taur­ant.com, provides blog posts about life­style choices, sus­tain­ab­il­ity and eco-friendly con­struc­tion.

Am­ar said Fare’s staffers prac­tice what they preach in that the eat­ery’s tables are con­struc­ted of what he called “garbage wood.”

It’s an un­var­nished black wal­nut, which he called “sap­wood.”

“This is all from re­claimed wood,” said Am­ar as he ran his hands across a bare tab­letop. “This is garbage wood. People usu­ally throw it away.”

The re­cently opened Fare is loc­ated at 2028 Fair­mount Ave. For more in­form­a­tion on the new res­taur­ant, call 267-639-3036 or vis­it the Web site at fareres­taur­ant.com.

Re­port­er Hay­den Mit­man can be reached at 215-354-3124 or hmit­man@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at hmitman@bsmphilly.com.

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