100 million pieces of lunchtime trash get thrown away every 24 hours, resulting in 20 billion pieces in landfills annually. The problem, of course, stems from thousands of busy people eating on the run and resorting to food that is often packaged in wasteful plastics or styrofoam. But not all convenient food has to contribute to landfills. One new restaurant in New York is tackling that issue head on by serving everything in custom mason jars.
In 2015, the idea for Ancolie was born in France and founder, chef Chloe Vichot, began working on designs for the signature jar and fast casual location in New York City. By the next year she had surpassed her $20,000 Kickstarter goal and Ancolie opened its doors in the Fall 2016. The 500 square foot space seats 15 customers and is located in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City.
Vichot was born and raised in Paris, France and worked in finance for a decade before opening her restaurant with the goal to make eating on-the-go sustainable and delicious. After graduating from culinary school and winning a leadership award, Vichot quit her full time finance career to get the necessary job experience at a Michelin starred NYC restaurant.
Once she felt ready to take on her dream, she raised money for Ancolie on Kickstarter and surpassed her goal. Chloe went the extra mile to make sure her food could keep busy New Yorkers fueled by talking to several nutritionists to ensure she was using the best ingredients possible. She hopes to teach people how to eat out using reusable and practical containers.
The name Ancolie means wildflower and was influenced by her upbringing. Vichot reflects that, “growing up in Europe helped a lot. My parents made us conscious of the amount water we were using and taught us to waste as little as possible. We recycled or repurposed everything, including packaging, boxes, and furniture…”. Vichot was inspired to serve all meals in reusable jars while visiting Europe and saw glass jar concepts in France and Switzerland. She brought the idea back to the US where she felt there was a need, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Less than 4 percent of plastic used is recycled and 30 to 40 percent of food produced goes to waste. Ancolie solves that problem because they believe the best way to minimize garbage is to not create it in the fist place. Sustainability is at the forefront of this restaurant and they are part of the Green Restaurant Association. Ancolie signature glass jars were created to not only be sustainable but practical. The glass provides transparency to see exactly what you're eating are ideal for cold or hot meals. The glass also offers a chemical free option that helps keep plastic out of landfills.
Although glass isn't the cheapest option, Vichot believes it helps preserve food best. Vichot designed her jars with a specific practical approach making them wide enough to eat out of and stackable. They are also freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe. She emphasizes that, “There’s the aesthetic aspect. It looks visually beautiful with the different layers, and people love to take pictures of their food. It doesn’t leak all over your desk.”
Sustainability is also tied to directly to ingredients. Ancolie fills their mason jars with only clean foods, noting, “There’s no sugar or honey in the dressing, no genetically modified ingredients. We source from local markets to make sure it’s really fresh and in season.” With prices ranging from $5 to $15 you can pick up an array of options for breakfast, healthy salads, hearty mains, sides, or desserts. Have dietary restrictions? Ancolie has you covered with vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and dairy free options.
Dubbed the epicurean cantine, Ancolie offers a balanced diet without stressing about dieting or binge eating. By offering a reusable “canteen,” customers can forget about counting calories and eat the perfect size every time. Chloe stresses the importance of eating well with their approach, explaining,“It’s healthy, and it’s a good portion at 22 ounces.”
Apart from the environmental and health aspects, Ancolie also just makes life easier. Toss the mason jar in your bag before a road trip or on the way to the office. These leak proof jars were designed for easy transportation. Once the jar is empty, there are dozens of ways to use your new mason jar which will in turn help you live a more waste free life. For example, you can keep your tea fresh or buy other things in bulk like flour or grain. Ancolie’s website even offers recipes to make food in your jar. Don't want to hold onto your empty Ancolie mason jars? Receive a $1 discount when you return your jar.