bb’s rooftop garden a culinary delight

Joshua Agan

The rooftop at bb’s restaurant in San Marco is a hotbed of freshness. Literally.
In the growing heat of May, bb’s executive chef Joshua Agan started a raised-bed garden on the flat roof of the restaurant. Chris Bredenhoeft helped install the bed frames and bring up the organic soil, compost and worm casings.
Agan and Bredenhoeft planned a lush summer landscape of fresh culinary delights — and held their breath.
They weren’t always so sure the idea wold work. As excited as they were to install a rooftop garden — and “take locals food to the next level” — the intense summer heat and reflective white roof were cause for worry. Three months later, the neighborhood’s first rooftop restaurant garden is a wild success. It currently includes a wide variety of herbs and vegetables from spearmint to heirloom tomatoes, and even edible flowers. Every dish served at the popular Southbank restaurant now features at least one component from the garden.
Agan can be found up on the rooftop in the early morning and late evening hours — the coolest times to tend the garden. He has more plans in store for the exterior space and is excited to show it off to the local restaurant
“There’s room to expand — my dream is to put some tables up there for VIP or wine dinners — in the evening time when the lights are coming up, the views are really great from up there,” Agan said, describing how the fragrant plants lend another sensory appeal to the space. While there are currently four beds, Agan said there is room for 20 more. “But that would be a full-time job.”
He hopes other chefs and restaurant operators will visit and emulate the rooftop garden.
“I want to show them what’s possible,” said Agan, who was inspired by his Vermont childhood. His earliest memories include harvesting fresh plants and vegetables from his family’s garden. “I’d love to see more people doing it — once they see how easy it is.”
Agan is making plans already for the restaurant’s winter garden, which is expected to include heirloom beets, purple Brussels Sprouts, dragon carrots and Tuscan Kale.
“This is as fresh as it can get — it’s right there,” Bredenhoeft said. “It will save the restaurant money and appease more customers because they’re getting a fresher, better tasting product.”

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