Going Green: Why are local restauranteurs putting plants indoors?

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Alex Cason Photography
Divine Barrel Brewing

Indoor plants are having a moment in Charlotte. The trend is known as “greening,” or bringing the outdoors in with plant life, and the refreshing interior design move is sweeping the city in restaurants, coffee shops and breweries.

The organic additions are aesthetically appealing, of course — the splash of color adds a certain organic glamour to an interior — but there’s a wellness element as well: indoor plants help to purify the air, absorbing toxins and regulating humidity.

The Suffolk Punch is a prime example of this growing trend. Equal parts brewery, culinary café, taphouse, and coffee bar, this South End staple has a little something for everyone. A step inside the former furniture warehouse reveals a massive industrial space softened by ample plant life to create a comfortable, inviting hangout spot.

Photo by Melissa Oyler
Suffolk Punch

An array of greenery hangs from the ceilings, sprouts from the tables, and drips from the walls. The majority are Pothos, with a smattering of succulents, cacti, ivy, and more incorporated throughout the space by local design collaborative Cluck Design.

“It’s not easy to design plants into a space with natural light challenges, watering challenges, and shedding,” said Madison Currie, special projects manager at The Suffolk Punch. “They did an incredible job.”

The Suffolk Punch has the commercial landscapers at Rolling Greens to thank for for the upkeep of the hard-to-get plants hanging from their ceilings. But it’s employee Kris White who cares for all the rest of the plants. “You’ll often see him up on ladders in the morning, making sure his ‘babies,’ as he affectionately calls them, are taken care of,” Currie said.

Less than a mile away, tucked away just off of South Boulevard, is another urban junglescape at the aptly named ROOTS Cafe. Given its focus on locally sourced ingredients and its sun-soaked space, it only makes sense that this neighborhood gathering place is alive with vegetation.

Inside the cozy cafe, you’ll find snake plants, a Calathea medallion or “prayer plant,” and palms of the sago, ponytail, and majesty varieties. Devil’s Ivy is in the windows, and the outdoor plants visible through those windows vary by season — right now, they include kale, rosemary, and pansies. When warm weather arrives, you’ll see majesty palms and creeping Jenny.

At nearby Living Kitchen, you might not be surprised to find an abundance of greenery — their logo is comprised of leaves, after all.

Courtesy of SouthPark Magazine
Living Kitchen

Vegans and carnivores alike flock to this plant-based restaurant for cold-pressed juices and organic, mostly-raw fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They’ll find leafy greens on their plates in their to-go cups, and adorning the walls and standing in pots throughout the eatery’s interior.

All of this natural greenery is juxtaposed by the vividly urban reds, blacks, and yellows of the 7-foot-by-10-foot mural Pachamamaby artist Nico Amortegui, whose work you might recognize from the exterior of Salud Beer Shop or the interior of Advent Coworking, among other locations.

“We are all about anything that helps contribute to a vibrant life and atmosphere,” said Jane-Howard Crutchfield, community liaison at Living Kitchen.

Across town, you’ll find another space full of flora at Divine Barrel Brewing. The NoDa brewery boasts an expansive 3,000-square-foot taproom complete with exposed brick, cozy leather couches, and plenty of plants suspended from the ceilings.

“They are Pothos plants, which are great for indoor use with minimal watering,” said the brewery’s owner and general manager Gavin Toth. It’s Toth who cares for the plants, watering them every two to three weeks and picking off the less healthy leaves.

Divine Barrel Brewing included these plants in the taproom’s design in an effort to create a warm, inviting space that would make guests feel right at home. “When I take down the plants to water them, the room looks stark,” Toth said. “The greenery really adds to the feel of our taproom.”

This article originally appeared in SouthPark Magazine.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi Alicia, WOW! You got my attention and Thanks for the wonderful article about live plants in restaurants.
    Many, many years ago I was with a date (my wife) and we were in a quaint little restaurant that had plastic flowers hanging around, and were covered in dust. And the food and service was just as bad.
    Right then and there I made a rule to never eat in a restaurant with plastic flowers.
    If a restaurant goes to the extra work to display live greenery I have noticed that they go the extra mile to provide good service and good food. Thanks, johnny p.

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