Monaco has always been oriented towards sustainable development and reducing its carbon footprint. Thanks to committed people like Kate Powers and her husband Didier Rubiolo, owners of famous restaurant Stars’N’Bars and founders of Ecohub, this mission, both educational and exemplary, has been led the right way.
Ecohub is used as a space for ecological workshops to teach everyone, including children of the youngest age, about recycling, clean energy and waste reduction. Created by Kate with the help of the Sustainable Design School in Nice, France, Ecohub facilitates monthly workshops on nutrition and wellbeing. Ecohub is well-equipped for sustainability, with a waste composter installed on the terrace as well as the first Monaco-based vegetable and spices garden to serve the restaurant! It also hosts the Monacology Week, Ecology Village and draws attention to year-round events like Earth Day, World Food Day and World Water Day.
In the frame of sustainable measures adopted by Stars’N’Bars, the menu offer was entirely changed: organic, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and locally-sourced ingredient dishes are available and will surprise you. It is also crucial to mention that it is the first restaurant in Monaco that said no to plastic straws, plastic water bottles or single-use coffee cups. Hats off to Kate, Didier and their whole team committed to these eco-actions!
We caught up with Kate and found out how the Ecohub concept emerged, how successful it has become and how Stars’N’Bars is reducing its carbon “FOOD-Print”.
Stars’N’Bars saw a turning point with the establishment of Ecohub. How did this concept come to your mind? What pushed you to create it?
In 1993, we opened Stars’N’Bars, Monaco’s first American-style sports bar and family-friendly restaurant, creating a food revolution in the principality. A lot has changed in the last 25 plus years, including our customers’ dietary expectations.
Monaco and its Head of State, Prince Albert II, have taken center stage globally as a leader in protecting our precious planet and the residents of the Principality have embraced a new sense of consumer social responsibility. We have responded to these changing needs by transforming Stars’N’Bars into a dynamic community Ecohub with opportunities to improve personal wellbeing and reduce our carbon footprint while offering new and diverse food choices.
The evolution from a family restaurant to a community ecohub has involved several key elements including a diversified menu of homemade dishes. These include traditional favourites like hamburgers, steaks and pizzas but with ingredients that are increasingly organic, locally sourced and offer vegan and non-gluten options as well as sustainable meat and fish products.
This transition has also been supported and helped by local food supply partners who share our vision and also by the creation of our on-site garden. More than 120 meters of homegrown vegetables and herbs that follow the seasons allow us to create the freshest meals possible. Another key element in the restaurant’s eco strategy has been to develop important partnerships with the local government, the private sector and global organizations dedicated to reducing negative environmental impact.
The Grand Prix, the E-Prix, Monaco Ocean Week… all these events expose so many people, including your regular clientele, to the concept of Ecohub at your establishment. Have you rallied more customers at the Stars’N’Bars as a result and have you acquired a new clientele since you adopted an eco-friendly policy?
Surveys today confirm that today’s consumer is in fact more likely to support a business that is socially responsible and we have found the reaction of our customers to be overwhelmingly positive. Also, we created a group of “Eco Angels” volunteers who collect waste after important events on the port such as the Monaco Grand Prix, Monaco Yacht Show and Jumping International de Monte-Carlo.
Thus, we have definitely seen an increase in customers who appreciate having more plant-based options without sacrificing traditional favorites like burgers. Overseas visitors, especially during major events, are also delighted to find that our ingredients are organic and locally sourced.
In addition, we have developed a new customer base who have discovered the restaurant after attending an onsite workshop or conference on nutrition, wellness or ecological issues.
We are lucky to have refocused our business plan and created our Ecohub long before the arrival of Covid-19. It has made it easier to respond to our customers’ demand for food that is fresh, healthy and from local suppliers. More and more restaurants in the Principality are adapting to this new “normal” and together we are creating a dining experience in Monaco that respects the changing needs of our customers and our planet.
How do you see Ecohub grow and evolve in the next 5 to 10 years?
The recent Covid-19 crisis and its subsequent lockdown have had a significant impact on the Monegasque economy. But we believe that this period of reflection has also enabled companies to refocus their priorities and rethink a business plan which serves customers while respecting social responsibility and environmental sustainability. We are involved with the local government as well as members of the hospitality industry, who have been seriously impacted, to find feasible solutions. Stars’N’Bars is committed to working with the Monegasque community to achieve the objective of the Mission for the Energy Transition to reduce carbon emissions by 50% in 10 years.
Find out more about Stars’N’Bars here.
Address: 6 Quai Antoine 1er, 98000 Monaco
Contact: +377 97 97 95 95