When you sit down for a meal at FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar—Radisson Blu’s acclaimed local dining destination at Mall of America®—you’ll notice little bee icons adorning the menu of fresh food. A blurb on the right side of the menu explains the symbols:
OUR BLU BEES
As our commitment to the environment, we have partnered with the University of Minnesota’s Bee Squad to have colonies of honey bees live as permanent guests on our roof. These bees help pollinate 35% of the global food supply and 80% of flowering plants. Please enjoy this excess honey and unique gift from our rooftop guests.
Hungry patrons increasingly care not just that their food is delicious but also that the restaurants at which they dine are engaging in sustainable practices for the good of the planet. A recent article in Finance & Commerce highlighted this trend and how Radisson Blu has emerged at the forefront.
In 2015, the hotel became the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified hotel in the Twin Cities. Furthermore:
The hotel has several interesting features, among them a rooftop bee colony, developed with the University of Minnesota’s Bee Squad, that produces 35 to 40 gallons of honey annually. The honey is used in the hotel’s Fire Lake Grill House restaurant, according to general manager Harry Gorstayn.
FireLake takes flavor and sustainability seriously: thus, bees on the roof. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the bee facility on top of Radisson Blu from Director of Facilities, Scott Huston. Huston shared his impressive bee knowledge with me one sunny day in May.
Up on the rooftop…
On the roof of Radisson Blu, where you can see the skylines of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Huston introduced me to their three hives comprising 50,000 honey bees.
“The main reason we decided to bring these bees to Radisson Blu was not for their honey but for sustainability,” Huston told me.
Radisson Blu’s Responsible Business Committee helped make the decision. The Committee seeks new and creative ways to make its company a friend to the environment. The facility on the roof provides the bees with a safe haven in a location they love.
“The bees actually love being near freeways,” Huston explained. “They travel up to five miles a day, and the freeways are easy to follow. The grass along the freeways also isn’t mowed, and there aren’t any harmful pesticides applied there that could hurt the bees.”
Sweet as honey
FireLake harvests approximately six gallons of honey each year in the summer, usually around July or August. These six gallons will last for nearly a year as they incorporate it into their recipes, such as the delectable Honey Duet.
Responsibly sourced food from restaurants like FireLake tastes just a little sweeter. Maybe it’s knowing that your money is going to an establishment doing some good, or maybe it’s just the bees.