When Sonya Coté and her husband, David, opened Eden East in 2012, they were already farm-to-table advocates.

“Taking people from the public and putting them on a farm is basically my life’s mission,” Coté said.

Coté worked for Whole Foods, helping to introduce consumers to organic produce in the 1990s. In doing this work, she met local family farmers struggling with the costs of organic certification whom she wanted to support.

In 2012, Coté opened her first farm-to-table restaurant, Hillside Farmacy in East Austin, where she remains the executive chef and owner.

Around that same time, Coté and a friend hosted a local supper club, from which Eden East grew.

Armed with a mobile vending permit, a commissary kitchen to cook out of and a partnership with the owners of Springdale Farm, Glenn and Paula Foore, Coté and her staff began serving up meals made from produce grown on-site and meat sourced from area farms with full table service.

Five years after Eden East opened, the Foores decided to sell the property to local developer Storybuilt. In 2018, Coté announced she and her team would keep the restaurant and farm open until construction began in summer 2020.

Eden East will close temporarily May 31. The farm’s soil—which Coté said is “super, super rich” due to 100 years of farming—will be transported to a Bastrop farm the couple recently purchased.

The plan is to reopen the restaurant in 2022, when the property has been redeveloped, and to continue to farm two of the property’s 5 acres.

The restaurant will likely move to Coté’s home, toward the back of the property, when it reopens.

Coté said the process has been “emotional,” but she remains committed to farm-to-table dining.

“It’s about small family farms,” she said. “We just need to remember that. That’s our roots.”