Of all the things Salem, Mass., is known for, restaurants do not often make the cut. Year round, we have colonial characters walking about, witches and pirates at their museums, and tourists quietly reading centuries-old tombstones. However, there is one establishment not to be missed if you visit Salem: the Green Land Café.
Located at 87 Washington Street, the Green Land Café
is a restaurant "built on fresh thinking." They opened in May 2010 and quickly became a local favorite. I stopped in recently to talk with Green Land's manager, Penny Petronzio, about the restaurant's green practices.
've eaten dinner at this restaurant several times, and was always impressed by the choices of organic and locally-sourced food, such as fish from New England waters and cheeses from Vermont. I learned that each week, representatives from Green Land Café purchase many of their ingredients from Salem's Farmers Market
(located in Derby Square). The chef frequently modifies the menu to reflect seasonal changes in New England produce, and patrons are the lucky recipients of freshly-picked, delicious food! Green Land also focused the majority of its drink menu on organic wines and local beers. (Try the Whale's Tale Pale Ale from Nantucket!)
In addition to a sustainable food and drink selection, Green Land Café also chose many environmentally sound options for decorating its space. The beautiful hardwood floor is made of reclaimed barn wood, the bar is reconstructed from the building's original doors, and there are even sound-absorption panels on the ceiling made from recycled denim. The restaurant uses reusable materials as often as possible, including cloth napkins rather than paper. Best of all, there is an outdoor patio for dining al fresco throughout the summer and fall.
If you're ever in the area, this would be my highly-recommended Green Land meal:
- Baby Arugula Salad with dried cherries, goat cheese, walnuts, honey and sherry vinaigrette. (There are many vegetarian & gluten-free options to pick from.)
- Grilled Eggplant Margarita Flatbread with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and roasted garlic. (I can never say no to great Italian cooking! Eggplant starts coming into season in July — perfect timing.)
- Vanilla Mascarpone Panna Cotta with fresh raspberries, raspberry syrup and an edible orchid. (Original, fresh and light, a perfect end to a summer meal.)
Green Land also offers a tapas
menu — it's a great way to try a wide variety of food. Keep an eye on Green Land's ever-evolving lunch
menus and be sure to stop in for a meal when visiting The Witch City, north of Boston.
Photos courtesy GreenLand Cafe