“Reduce, reuse, recycle” is a phrase that the owners of The Writer’s Block don’t take lightly.
Everything has a “second life,” says Vered Mares, one of the four owners at the Block. She says they attempt to have as little waste as possible — by using “every bit of everything that we have.”
“Nothing gets thrown away arbitrarily,” Mares said. “We freeze a lot of stuff.”
Bread and cookies are never thrown away. Instead, they are repurposed into bread pudding, croutons, crostini or pita chips. Tomatoes that aren’t eaten are reduced into soups; the trimmings of potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, peppers and onions get boiled down for stocks. They even make their own chicken stock from scratch.
Everything that isn’t useable for their stocks is fed to Mares’ chickens.
“This is not something that is by design, per se, it’s just how we were raised,” Mares said.
Many restaurants use what Mares calls “plate fillers,” which are rarely eaten in one sitting, like french fries. Mares says she and her team have spent a lot of time looking at portion sizes.
“It feels good to see a really, really full plate, but what that is full with makes a big difference,” Mares said. “Our portions really cut down on what comes back uneaten and also what gets taken home in to-go boxes.”
What might be even most surprising is the amount of waste — or lack of — The Writer’s Block creates. The restaurant does not have a dumpster. Instead, they use three residential cans per week which are typically not overflowing. Mares says that most weeks, their five recycling cans are crammed full.