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The Green Orchid – Soon to Be the World’s First Net-Positive Energy Restaurant – Opens at Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota Campus

The Green Orchid by Michael’s On East is now open to the public, making Selby Gardens home to the fully solar-powered restaurant, which will become the world’s first net-positive energy restaurant, generating more energy than it consumes.

The garden-to-table eatery will be operated by Michaels On East, with the Drs. Andrew and Judith Economos Rooftop Edible Garden providing fresh produce for a seasonally inspired menu. The garden was planned, planted, and is maintained by Operation EcoVets, a non-profit organization that provides personal, educational, and professional growth opportunities for military veterans.

“The new restaurant is a great fit for Selby Gardens, with a focus on sustainability and providing wonderful dishes with ingredients from local farms and our rooftop garden,” said Jennifer Rominiecki, President and CEO of Selby Gardens. “Our goal is to be best-in-class in everything we do, and The Green Orchid meets that standard.”

The restaurant, which seats up to 150 people, offers walk-up indoor and outdoor table service. No reservations are required, and the restaurant’s hours will be from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily. Admission to the Gardens is required in order to visit the restaurant and is free to members.

The Green Orchid’s menu will change seasonally, incorporating vegetarian and vegan options, catering to a wide range of dietary preferences and showcasing the versatility of vegetables and grains. The kitchen was designed by world-renowned designer Jimi Yui and features state-of-the-art electric and induction cooking facilities. No gas or flame will be used in any part of the kitchen.

The Green Orchid’s menu features fresh selections such as, The Green Orchid Salad and Cape Malay Street Tacos. For a sweet finale, all desserts are housemade including the Lavender-Infused Crème Brûlée.

“We are focused on making the garden-to-table offerings at The Green Orchid both fresh and distinctive,” said Michael Klauber, co-proprietor of Michael’s On East. “Doing garden-to-table well – especially while using electric and induction cooking techniques – requires a high level of skill and inventiveness. We believe that visitors will be impressed.”

Induction cooking uses electromagnetic fields to heat pots and pans directly, leading to extremely fast heating times and precise temperature control, which is essential for delicate cooking processes. Since induction doesn’t provide visual cues like a gas flame, cooks need to rely more on timing and the specific settings of their induction cooktops.

The restaurant is operated by the restaurant experts of Sarasota’s Michael’s On East. Founded in 1987, the celebrated restaurant offers award-winning cuisine, innovative cocktails, world-class wines, and outstanding service.

“We are proud to open Selby Gardens’ new restaurant, and we look forward to offering spectacular garden-to-table fare for Selby Gardens visitors to our region, and for residents of Sarasota and west-central Florida,” said Phil Mancini, co-proprietor of Michael’s On East.

The new restaurant is part of Phase One of a three-phase master plan for Selby Gardens’ downtown Sarasota campus. Phase One features 188,030 square feet of new facilities and amenities, including three buildings that create the first net-positive energy botanical complex in the world.

The Green Orchid is located at 1534 Mound Street in The Morganroth Family Living Energy Access Facility (LEAF), which will house parking, a gift shop, and the restaurant – capped with a 50,000-square-foot solar array.  As part of the LEAF, a stormwater filtration system will treat stormwater runoff and return clean water to Sarasota Bay. Going above and beyond LEED certification, Selby Gardens is seeking “Petal” certification through The Living Future Institute and will strive for net-positive energy, be free of toxic chemicals, and lower the energy footprint many times below that of a generic commercial structure.