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Buzz Is Brewing Over A Downtown Beehive

by Ashwin Bhandari
A A
Petite Abeille Restaurant
Ashwin Bhandari/WFUV

Petite Abeille wants to install a rooftop apiary at their restaurant on 20th Street.

The Petite Abeille chainlet of restaurants are celebrating their fifteenth year of operation in Manhattan. Owner Yves Jadot wants to mark the occasion by installing a rooftop apiary at their Stuyvesant Town location.

Jadot, a native Belgian, says he came up with the idea to harvest his own honey about five years ago shortly after opening the Stuyvesant Town restaurant. "I wasn't really focusing on honey, my main thing is the restaurant, but for some reason I thought that the logo of the restaurant would actually look better on a bottle or a jar." Petite Abeille is french for "little bee."

Many Manhattan restaurants emphasize local ingredients, but Jadot said he is excited to take it even further. He started planning for his own beehives after meeting Andrew Cote, a vendor at Union Square's Greenmarket and the man behind Bees Without Borders, a group dedicated to teaching beekeeping skills to those in impovershed areas.

"It's very conceivable, we've done it dozens of times" said Cote when asked how rare it was to start this sort of project. Cote also laid out the advantages, "I don't think anything can compare to the taste of one's own honey, one's own eggs, or even one's own tomatoes."

Beekeeping was banned in the five boroughs until last April when New York City's Board of Health voted to take the bees of the list of dangerous creatures. Cote is also the president of the New York City Beekeeper's Association and said he has seen the community grow significantly since then.

Cote also added that bees are a natural fit for the Big Apple, "we are an eclectic, multicultural city, I think one more species adds, not takes away."

Petite Abeille has also partnered with local brewery Sixpoint to create a beer that uses Cote's honey.

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