Growing Their Own: Restaurant to Farm Its Own Dining Room


Dubai, Kwait, Qatar, et al: a Disneyworld of senseless “innovation.” Don’t they have the world’s tallest buildings over there now? Or was it the largest? Neon aquatic hotels? Indoor skiing in the outdoor desert? I suppose the fact Kuwait is about to get a new restaurant that grows its own produce in its dining room shouldn’t be mind-blowing news. But it is a delightful idea, sitting down on the farm in the Arabian Desert, dining in an organic oasis. (Is it also not absurdly ironic that the world’s largest oil-producing countries are leaders in so many things green?)

Dubai-based restaurant consultancy, Thomas Klein International and its Chicago architectural office, PS Studio, have been contracted by Prime & Toast to adapt the vertical farming concept for its new outlet in Kuwait. The release attributes the idea to American professor Dr. Dickson Despommier, who has brought some cred to the idea of farming in crowded urban areas (see our story, “Encouraging City Growth: Urban Farming Grows Up“).

The Prime and Toast’s farm is pretty green for its desert venue. It will be watered with condensation from the restaurant’s air conditioning system. (I suppose if you require a cooling system that has to be fired up pretty much around the clock, you might as well get some offset benefit.) The hyperlocal organic herbs and vegetables will be used to feed what’s promised to be a healthy menu “based on the fresh produce available on a particular day.”

The “farming section” (and the kitchen, as well) will do more than actually feed patrons; it will also be designed into the place so that diners will have a true eating out experience with “direct views into the production area.” In keeping with the sustainable approach, all wood used the restaurant’s furniture will come from sustainable forests.

While hardly a true urban farm benefiting a local community, or a back-to-the-land movement for desert dwellers, the restaurant is good example of how the approach’s novelty can actually fit into a marketing scheme. Says Daniel During, TKI Managing Partner, “The main feature of the restaurant is … the vertical farming section, and the rest of the restaurant was designed around this unique and innovative concept.”

Scott Adelson

Scott Adelson is EcoSalon's Senior Editor of HyperKulture, a monthly column that explores opening cultural doors to initiate personal change. He is also the author of InPRINT, which reviews and discusses books, new and old. You can reach him at