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Battery Park-Grown Ingredients Fill Menu at Downtown Food Kiosks

By Julie Shapiro | August 15, 2012 2:00pm

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — It's just a few steps from farm to table at these Downtown eateries.

At the Table Green food kiosk in Battery Park, which opened last month, servers are pouring a summery sangria made with cucumbers and mint — grown just a few feet away at the Battery's 1-acre urban farm.

The result is a light, fresh and local beverage — which is exactly what owner Mary Cleaver had in mind when she opened the lower Manhattan offshoot of The Green Table, her popular Chelsea Market restaurant.

"She is our East Coast Alice Waters," said Warrie Price, president of the Battery Conservancy, of the Bay Area-based sustainable food champion. "[The menu] is very much about New York."

In addition to the sangria, Table Green also serves beer made in Brooklyn and wine from Long Island vineyards, along with fruit grown in the Hudson River Valley.

A second Battery Park kiosk, called Table Green Cafe, serves smoothies made from local fruit and Blue Marble Ice Cream from Brooklyn.

Cleaver hopes to incorporate more produce from the Battery Park farm into the menu soon, explained Kate Ferranti, business operations manager for The Cleaver Co., which runs the kiosks.

One of the most popular items so far is the BN Ranch grass-fed beef hot dog — a twist on the ubiquitous street-food dogs found in carts throughout lower Manhattan. Table Green's hot dog costs $6 and comes wrapped in a puff pastry, like an oversized pig-in-a-blanket.

"People seem really excited about the hot dogs," Ferranti said. "They've been flying off the shelves."

In addition to the steady stream of tourist customers, Ferranti also hopes to draw Downtown residents to the kiosks, which have a one-year contract in the park with two optional one-year renewals.

"It's a really beautiful spot," Ferranti said of the cafe tables overlooking New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. "There's no place like it in New York."

Table Green, just south of Castle Clinton, serves beer and wine along with sandwiches and quesadillas, and is open from 11:30 a.m. until sunset. Table Green Cafe, near the Battery Gardens restaurant, offers snack food, beer and ice cream and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.