The Dome restaurant goes green

Student-run edible garden enhances restaurant's menu

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - An environmentalist at heart, Coral Gables native Rachel Dominguez told Local 10's Christina Vazquez that when she decided to open The Dome Restaurant Bar & Lounge last year, she knew she wanted to incorporate green-building materials and sustainable principles.

"We are one of the only LEED-certified restaurants in South Florida and the first and only in Coral Gables," said Dominguez.

Many of the restaurant's tables and the signature dome sculpture hovering above the dining area are made from what's called "Richlite" materials which is essentially recycled paper.

WATCH: Local 10's tour of The Dome

The restaurant incorporated an ENERGY STAR roofing system to reduce heat and energy costs.

The mirrored walls come from a local manufacturer that recycles discarded mirrors and the base of the restaurant's bar is comprised of biodegradable coco palm tree trunks.

Unlike other restaurants, The Dome doesn't use gas. Instead all its kitchen equipment operates with induction cooking methods, said Dominguez.

As for menus, Dominguez ditched paper for iPads as a way to reduce reprinting costs.

When it comes to the food, nearly all the produce on their menu comes from an organic garden Dominguez helped build, in partnership with Dilian Terry of Ready To Grow Gardens, at Coral Gables High School.

Mercy Vera runs the school's Culinary Arts Academy along with Angel Vazquez.

One of Vera's first students was Nilton Castillo, who is now The Dome's executive chef.

Castillo visits the organic garden at his former high school about three times a week to collect the vegetables the students help grow and harvest to create recipes for The Dome.

The menu changes frequently to reflect what is in season.

The students' garden consists of various vegetables and edible flowers.

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