Argentinian restaurant Gran Fierro initially opened its doors in 2014 in the centre of Prague in Voršilská Street.
After relocating this year to Myslikova Street in Prague, the owner, Juan Cruz, is on a mission to bring sustainability to the heart of the restaurant. “We came out of the quarantine with a fresh and more conscious approach. We can proudly say that we are transforming Gran Fierro into a Circular Restaurant.”
The new interior of Gran Fierro, inspired by Juan’s Argentinian roots, was designed by the award-winning studio Forma Fatal. Among many original details, there is an impressive wall with hanging coals that showcases their commitment to sustainability.
“It’s a magnificent looking statement. Our kitchen is based on fire, so charcoal is at the centre of it. It’s important to reflect on the negative impact of the charcoal industry, to avoid deforestation. And as well to gain knowledge on the sustainable alternatives. Our wall has a mix of charcoal and biochar, they look the same, but they are not. Knowing the difference between them is vital for sustainability.”
Gran Fierro is known for its premium steaks prepared on a charcoal grill that adds a unique and authentic flavour and moisture. But after recognising the environmental impact of unregulated charcoal production, Juan decided to do something about it.
“We discovered that the charcoal we were buying from a region called Gran Chaco in South America, didn’t have clear regulations against deforestation. And this is a worldwide problem, in many tropical countries the cutting of the trees is not properly regulated. This is an issue we want to prioritize and help spread awareness.”
Gran Fierro is now using sustainable charcoal from Marabú, a thorn bush from Cuba which grows aggressively and encroaches land which must be controlled.
The restaurant also uses a mini Kontiki, a cone shape grill that burns wood and biomass producing biochar. At that scale is quite symbolic, but they use it for demonstration purposes and as fertilizer for their plants.
The Kokoza Association, known for creating city gardens, flower beds, and composts, has helped Gran Fierro prepare an original outdoor garden with compost.
“The garden is very much edible,” says Juan. “We are growing herbs that we now use in the kitchen. The idea is to reduce the collection of waste and to produce the compost in-house, that then can be reused in our garden. Thus completing a full circle of waste-recycle-reuse.”
Juan Cruz is aware that these transformations would be much stronger if more restaurants follow. That’s why Gran Fierro joined GastroSpot, a brand new gastro community of great restaurants supporting each other during the lockdown.
“It’s incredible what the crisis can bring, what a few months ago was unthinkable, now it’s a reality. Restaurants promoting each other on social media and coming up with creative solutions together” says Juan.
And he adds: “It’s easier to find thoughtful solutions when the motivation is beyond the pure profit speculation. Luckily we are on a path to sustainability that gives us an endless source of motivation”
The restaurant plans to re-open this Thursday, the 3rd of December. Gran Fierro cannot wait to leave behind the delivery phase and welcome people again to have a real experience.
Juan concludes: “Even though we try to adapt our menu for delivery during lockdowns, it is not something we want to do as a long term. We hear that the delivery is here to stay, but as long as we can be open, we will focus on the experience that the customers can get in our restaurant. Because that’s the reason we exist.”