'Green' Kashmir

Eric Connor - Contributing Writer
Posted on Friday 29th May 2009
Literally? No. Figuratively? Absolutely. Kashmir is the creation of brothers, Alex and Stavros Vasiliadis. Native to Philadelphia, these two have been creating green, eco-friendly, and health conscious venues since 1992. Their first venture, Pandora's Lunch Box, was one of the first in the city to have a menu that featured health conscious products, such as nayomaisse, faux turkey, and no food products that had been genetically modified. The brothers' have come a very long way, with their new project, Kashmir. Kashmir, is not classified as a restaurant, lounge, or a late night club. Rather, as an experience for the senses, reminiscent of a Parisian boudoir in a North African outpost, welcoming all those seeking refuge. Or, all those seeking the highest standards, in the areas of green, eco-friendly, and health conscious socializing. Kashmir, will be the first social venue in Philadelphia, striving to achieve 100% compatibility with the environment, by saving and utilizing renewable resources. I was lucky enough to sit down with brother Alex, and have a conversation with him regarding the club's unshakable commitment to the environment, local businesses, and at the end of the day, the overall enjoyment of their clientele. The first thing I wanted to know was why? When many of the products, and services, they're using are considerably more costly because of their commitment to the environment. Why go to such extremes? The brothers' stand united in their answer, "It's our personal preference." A personal preference that has been 8 years in the making. The brothers' knew from the start, that to achieve their ideal vision, there would be a price tag. However, they also understand that by utilizing the very best resources available, in the long run, they would reduce their energy usage by 60-80%, all the money spent on their food purchases would be put directly back into the community 100%, and they would be reducing their yearly hazardous waste by at least 60 pounds. The lighting that is going into Kashmir is in essence, the son, and grandson of the fluorescent light. Kashmir will be utilizing both LED, and the new, Electroluminescent (EL). This type of lighting guarantees to last 10 years, or at minimum, 100,000 hours, and is all LEED certified (www.usgbc.org). Greatly reducing their energy consumption, also, reducing the risk of harmful filaments entering our water supply. As well as the lighting; the decor, and the appliances, are all top notch 'Green' materials. All of the appliances in Kashmir, are certified Energy Star Equipment. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Energy. It's a voluntary program designed to identify and promote energy efficient products (energystar.gov). In addition, Kashmir will be using 100% non-hazardous, non-toxic, and sustainable detergents. Aside from brother's Alex, and Steve, there is also one more invaluable member of this team. Executive Chef Varnana Beuria, who carries a Finance Degree from the University of Pennsylvania, has created a menu that is 100% local, sustainable, and organic. Varnana is utilizing the very best of the New Jersey shore fisheries, the dairy products from the Amish Country, fruits and vegetables from Lancaster County, and uses unbleached flour for all bread and flour based products. Having worked in such establishments as Pasion, and Tria, it won't be long before neighboring chef's are trying to duplicate the no nonsense sensibility of this talented, and environmentally aware chef. At the end of the day, it's safe to say that Kashmir is on the cutting edge of responsible restaurant management in every aspect of the business. Go Green!

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