Just when you thought mason jars couldn't get any trendier, a new Manhattan restaurant is putting them to use in a major way—all in the name of sustainability.
Meet Chloe Vichot, the mastermind behind just-opened West Village spot Ancolie, who serves up her superfood-filled salads in stylish glass jars (yes, even when you're grabbing one to-go).
The idea has been a longtime coming: When Vichot moved to New York 10 years ago, she was surprised at how much waste people created when grabbing lunch. "Every time you get a sandwich, it has paper and aluminum—which really bothered me, but I didn't know what to do about it," the Frenchwoman says.
She had her lightbulb moment at the Chobani cafe in Soho, which was across the street from her apartment. "I was inspired by the glass bowls they used, which were similar to what I saw in Europe," she says. "I figured using a glass jar would be the perfect way to avoid using plastic and other waste."
And now, after years of fundraising and hard work, Vichot has launched Ancolie, a restaurant that serves everything in mason jars.
Read on for everything you need to know about New York's first mason jar-only restaurant—including what's on the menu.
These aren't your average mason jars
Vichot didn't want to wait until her restaurant was up and running to spread the sustainability gospel. She set up a Kickstarter, which served a twofold purpose: one, to raise money for the jars, which were being custom-made, and two, to educate people. "I wanted to teach people about how eating out of a glass jar, washing, and reusing it cuts down on waste," she says. "Some people donated money because they really believed in the idea. It's heartwarming, even if it's just a dollar."
So, what sets Vichot's jars apart? First, they're wider than the typical mason jar, making them better suited for dining. (The edges are also curved, so you can easily scoop out every last bite.) The tops and bottoms are also designed to be stackable and leakproof—score!
Vichot's Kickstarter has raised over $54,000, blowing way past her goal of $20,000. "As you can imagine, opening up a restaurant in New York City is expensive, and we didn't want the jars to be an additional cost," she says. People from all over the world can also order a jar through the Kickstarter page, and Vichot says orders are coming from places as far-flung as Singapore and Korea.
And...what's in the jars?
Since Vichot envisioned lunchtime as Ancolie's time to shine, salads take center stage. "I'm not a big fan of salads that only have greens, which can leave you feeling hungry a few hours later, so all our salads are very wholesome and hearty," Vichot says. A fall seasonal menu choice: the winter salad, made with lettuce, butternut squash, goat cheese, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and chicken.
Breakfast parfaits, soups, and desserts are also served. (A popular favorite: the apple compote, made sans sugar with apples and nutmeg.) And while serving up nutrient-dense tasty food was definitely a priority when Vichot was crafting the menu for Ancolie, the restaurant's mission comes back to sustainability: Every customer can keep her or his jar, to use it (and reuse it) when packing weekday lunches. Talk about a transparent fringe benefit.
Ancolie, 58 West 8th St., New York, NY 10011, (646) 524-5929, ancolie.co
Wondering where else to eat? These are the buzziest healthy restaurants in New York City right now. And if you're looking for other ways to live sustainably and eat well, try cooking with food scraps, like these top restaurants are doing.
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