Restaurants, on average, can produce over 150,000 lbs. of garbage annually. For consumers, this means going out to eat can actually leave a sizable carbon footprint if they don’t eat the greenest restaurants.
Rethinking the way restaurants process waste and promote sustainable food growth has been the focus of many culinary experts, farmers, and consumers for years. More than ever, consumers are choosing to dine at restaurants that purchase from local and organic food sources.
Here are the top eight restaurants transforming the industry through green practices.
1. The Grey Plume, Omaha, Nebraska
The Grey Plume is the first American restaurant to receive the Green Restaurant Association 4-star SustainaBuild honor. With over 90% recycled content floors, solar-powered hand sinks, and an extensive LED lighting display, almost all of the Grey Pljmes products are recycled and sustainably produced. Even the wood used to build The Grey Plume is FSC certified. The Grey Plume also features an extensive menu of seasonal, locally raised produce, farm fresh meats, and dairy products.
2. Founding Farmers, Washington DC
Owned by more than 40,000 farmers apart of the North Dakota Famers Union, Founding Farmers’ unique name lies in its commitment to keep the tradition of American agriculture alive. Founding Famers features products made from individual family farms and is shipped directly to any one of its locations. Founding Farmers makes all of its meals from scratch and promotes sustainable food conservation through the practice of recycling and composting.
3. Boloco, New England Chain
Boloco promotes conservation practices through its use of 100% compostable bamboo bowls and corn cups. Its menus feature naturally raised meats, organic smoothies, and tofu options. Being a certified 2-star green restaurant, this popular northeast chain fits all of its locations with low flow water heads, LED lights, and paper stone tabletops.
4. Restaurant Nora, Washington D.C.
In 1999, Restaurant Nora was named America’s first certified organic restaurant, meaning that 95% of its ingredients were produced by certified organic farmers, producers, and suppliers. Even more impressive may be the chef’s commitment to sustainable farming practices utilizing eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaning materials as well as composting her garden.
5. Chez Panisse, Berkeley, California
Founded by Alice Waters in 1971, Chez Panisse may have been the restaurant to kickstart the green food revolution. Chez Panisse’s philosophy is about supplying customers with a fresh, organic food experience, which changes seasonally. Consumers will often hear that the food they’ve eaten was freshly caught from the sea or grown by a trusted organic producer only minutes away.
6. Tilth, Seattle, Washington
Tilth of Seattle is built on an unusual pairing of organic delights, which make up this New American cuisine. Using wild picked ingredients, time honored preparation, and a commitment to organic dining options.
7. Uncommon Ground, Chicago, Illinois
In 2013, Uncommon Ground received the prestigious honor of being named the world’s greenest restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association. Uncommon Ground features the world’s first certified organic rooftop garden in the US where they source many of their ingredients. Uncommon Ground also hosts Illinois’ first organic brewery, which has a wide selection of organically infused cocktails and drafts.
8. Ralae, Copenhagen, Denmark
Being the pride of a rich culinary city, Ralae’s philosophy is built around the surprise of the gastronomic experience. Ralae’s chefs use induction methods for cooking, it’s restaurant comes fully equipped with LED lighting fixtures, and over 90% of its dishes are certified organic.