Amid the bustle of The Grove, Neon Greens owner Josh Smith has been busy bringing the business to life. Inside the building that was formerly home to Rise Coffeehouse, the new fast-casual concept is coming together. They cultivate greens in onsite container farms adjacent to the restaurant. Feast Magazine visited Smith as the restaurant was completing its first harvest to take a peek at how things were going on this eagerly awaited project.

At its core, Neon Greens is about food transparency at every step of the process. “It’s about showing you how your food is made," Smith says, "and you as a consumer get [to have] firsthand knowledge of the process, so you become a part of it, too.”

The space will operate like many fast-casual restaurants: Customers walk in, pick a salad from a menu of about 10 signature salads or build their own with proteins, grains and an abundance of toppings. But what’s happening as you order – and throughout the day – is what sets Neon Greens apart. Set directly opposite from the shop's wraparound counter will be an elevated conveyor belt carrying freshly harvested greens from the farm to the kitchen within minutes. Farmers open a door and place pans of lettuce on the belt that snakes around to the kitchen, where a second vertical conveyor brings it to service level. The idea is pure showmanship but with a practical purpose. “It’s really a unique way to solve the challenge of how we work within the space but still keep the farm integrated in the restaurant story,” Smith says. "It also solves the problem of having to walk 150 feet from the farm to get to our kitchen.”

Read the entire article at Feast Magazine