Down in a disused parking lot in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, a neighborhood eatery is doubling as a mini power plant and nonprofit arts organization. New York-born-and-bred restaurateur Sean Meenan, who runs Nolita hotspot Cafe Habana, founded Habana Outpost three years ago as a creative-minded hub where punters can eat, drink, shop and create while keeping things green. The restaurant's famous corn on the cob, hot dogs, Cuban sandwiches and veggie delicacies are served on sugarcane plates and consumed with biodegradable cornstarch cutlery; a strong-legged person mixes their fresh fruit smoothies with a Berkeley Bicycle Blender. Meenan, who also works in the film business, is intent on providing a communal space where locals can come together and hang out on his Trex picnic tables. With his eco-partner Atom Cianfarani, the two seek out the most ecologically sound materials, run a weekend flea market, host art exhibitions, organize outdoor movie screenings and events for kids -- and more. Around the area is a vast grid of solar panels that power the whole operation, even providing electricity to some of the buildings within a 10-block radius. "Con Edison wrote me a check!" says Meenan with a laugh. "It was only, like, $18, but I framed it."
Photographs by Eric Ray Davidson
See www.ecoeatery.com for more information.