Tuesday, 09 March 2010 19:16

Sustainable Restaurants

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Today the L.A. Times had a great article on eco-friendly restaurants in Los Angeles, with the header: "Restaurants are looking beyond today’s special, by growing gardens on site, dealing with eco-conscious farms, installing water filtration systems, recycling grease and more."

Here are some bullet points:
  • The article starts out by talking about Grace, a restaurant I've been meaning to review for a while - now I feel even more compelled to go! They will be moving to a new location and plan to plant a garden that "could yield as much as a quarter of the produce for [the] kitchen", use low or no VOC pant, "install cisterns so water from designated prep sinks can irrigate the garden", and compost. At their current location they also recycle their used oil to run a family car!
  • "There's no legal definition for a sustainable restaurant" but it "generally means serving the needs of the present while preserving the ability to meet the needs of the future" Which often translates to "using locally grown produce, buying supplies from companies that respect the environment and encouraging frugal practices in their kitchens."
  • Tender Greens also got a shout out (love that place). They are hoping to find some disposable gloves that "could be recycled or composted" Although they're doing some eco things already like, "uniforms [that] are organic cotton T-shirts" and "buy produce from local growers"
  • Chipotle was mentioned (a good go-to mexican joint for vegans across the country). The owner commented on his experience of visiting a pig farm: "What I saw was horrifying...real exploitation, terrible exploitation of the animals in terms of their well-being, exploitation of the land. Factory farms pollute, they smell...I did not want my success to be based on this kind of exploitation" Though that didn't turn him or the chain vegan, he now buys animal products from small farmers.
  • The Green Restaurant Assn. "issues certifications based on a point system in categories such as food, waste and building materials"
  • Leslie VanKeuren has some more suggestions for restaurants: "Use cloths from the hamper to wipe up spills rather than reaching for paper towels. And switch to "inquire versus include" for takeout orders."
  • Santa Monica has a green certification program: "close to 800 restaurants, as varied as Jack in the Box and Campanile, take part in a city recycling program that has diverted 55,000 tons of food waste from landfills to compost"
  • Napa Valley Grille has a new community-supported agriculture project: "people can buy shares in the harvest from a farm, Kathy and Michael Feig's Country Fresh Herbs, and pick up boxes of food for about $35 at the restaurant on Wednesdays"
  • Mixt Greens makes sustainability a top priority: "the floor is concrete with fly ash, a byproduct of power plants that otherwise would go to a dump, Silverglide says. The counters are made from scrapwood from a frame manufacturer, and the tabletops from plastic detergent bottles"

Since EVG is evolving, I've realized how important it is to me to go to restaurants that are both vegan (or vegan-friendly) and sustainable. Therefore, those types of establishments are getting priority over others for reviews. Is this important to you too?
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