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Project at Raleigh restaurant creating a buzz

Posted May 25, 2012
Updated May 28, 2012

Sitti's golden glow is welcoming on the corner of Hargett and Wilmington in downtown Raleigh. (Photo courtesy Empire Eats)
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— Honeybees aren't a common feature in downtown Raleigh, but thanks to the efforts of a new restaurant, beekeeping has become a much more city-friendly – and productive – venture. 

In early May, Sitti Restaurant partnered with Busy Bee Apiaries, a commercial beekeeping company in Chapel Hill, to put four hives on the roof of the Wilmington Street restaurant. 

In addition to the hives, which each hold about 60,000 honeybees, the restaurant is establishing a 2,500-square-foot herb and vegetable garden, which will provide fresh ingredients to the restaurant while also serving as a honeybee-friendly environment. 

Laura Tapp, with Busy Bee Apiaries, said putting bee hives on top of a restaurant provided some challenges.

"When the bees are full of the pollen and nectar, they weigh more and can't fly as high," she said. "Anything above eight stories, and the bees don't come back."

Once the bees start finding pollen and nectar, the honey will go downstairs to the kitchen at Sitti, where cooks will use it in the Lebanese dishes and drinks. 

"Being able to have an ingredient that comes from us, that comes from our roof, is really important," restaurant manager Patrick Ewald said. 

Although the bees will serve a purpose for the restaurant every day, Tapp said the partnership is about more than just food. It's a chance to educate. 

"One-third of everything that goes in your mouth, including meat, is directly related to the honeybee," she said.

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  • drjones74 May 25, 2012

    And then Monsanto buys a company studying the problem
    http://www.naturalnews.com/035688_Monsanto_honey_bees_colony_collapse.html

  • drjones74 May 25, 2012

    Harvard article on beehive collapse
    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/2012-releases/colony-collapse-disorder-pesticide.html

  • ProudBlackSingleMother May 25, 2012

    I am calling Benjamin Jealous, racially motivated comments like this are bad. I worked in food service before I got pregnant and the checks started rolling in and let me tell you, some of the nicer restaurants do not make anything, it just comes in a bag that you dump on a plate and reheat.

    Do yourself a favor, look up Sysco 3-D technology on their chicken breast product... it is made with ground up byproduct and glued together shaped into a breast... when I order a chicken breast, I expect the real thing.

  • SueInNC May 25, 2012

    One more reason to love Sitti. Their food is out of this world. Their Chicken Shawarma dish is to die for.

  • jcjohnson May 25, 2012

    Maybe if they start using fresh ingredients and stop taking the easy way out by using companies like Sysco, they can differentiate themselves from all the other food prep operations here in Raleigh claiming to be restaurants.

    ProudBlackSingleMother

    Do you have any idea how much it would cost to eat at a restaurant if companies like Sysco weren't "used" as you say? With the risk of being labelled a racist, black single mothers would probably have the least disposable income, in my honest OPINION. (I assume that is what you are). Where would those restaurants obtain olives? How would the restaurants procure salmon? Last time I travelled through Raleigh, there were very few if any, salmon farms, olive trees....etc. You do get my drift, right?

  • ProudBlackSingleMother May 25, 2012

    Maybe if they start using fresh ingredients and stop taking the easy way out by using companies like Sysco, they can differentiate themselves from all the other food prep operations here in Raleigh claiming to be restaurants.

  • bill0 May 25, 2012

    Roundup has been the #1 most used pesticide worldwide since 1980. If it is responsible for colony collapse, why didn't that start in 1980?

    "If GMO's - which came into widespread use in the 90's, not the 00's"

    The very first GMO's were approved in the US in the mid 1990's. They did not gain widespread use until the 2000's.

    And this has absolutely nothing to do with trusting the government. This is just about a calendar. It makes absolutely no sense at all to claim that something that happened 25 years before the bee problem is the cause of the bee problem.

  • katherineabauer May 25, 2012

    market restaurant has been doing this for a while

  • wattsun May 25, 2012

    actually after reading Bill comments I totally disagree with him.
    The pesticides are too blame

  • wattsun May 25, 2012

    Bill is on point people wake up and get your head out of the ground, face it it the bees go we go.

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