US (OH): Asian restaurant opens downtown aquaponics farm

A simplified supply chain, lower food prices and vastly increased quality control: Those are just three benefits expected from a daring venture by the founders of Toledo-based Balance Pan-Asian Grille. Prakash Karamchandani and HoChan Jang are building an 8,600-square-foot aquaponics farm in the middle of downtown Toledo, Ohio, next to the chain's newest location opening this month on Summit Street.

Aquaponics is an ultra-efficient system of farming that uses fish to cultivate plants, which, in turn purify the water. And even though it's innovative and very "green," plunking down one of these farms in the middle of a Rust Belt city's downtown may not seem like the choice location for such an operation. But Karamchandani said, for Balance Grille, it's just about perfect.

"Our customers know not just where our ingredients are sourced, they can visit the facility and view the production happen," he said in an interview with QSRWeb, referring to the farm's location adjacent the brand's newest restaurant. "Our brand is gaining visibility in multiple channels, including grocery stores and our brand is differentiated."

The venture has taken about two years, a lot of creative thinking and cutting through miles of red tape with both the property owners and the city of Toledo, but if things work out as planned, the farm promises big payoffs.

Read more at QSRweb (S.A. Whitehead)

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