I love going out to restaurants, especially new ones.
The family and I went to a new steak and seafood restaurant on
Saturday. I couldn’t get over the architecture of the restaurant. It
wasn’t avant-garde or modernist — it was simply styled and reminded me
of a contemporary home filled with extra-large comfortable booths and
strategically-placed candles. I wouldn’t mind living there. The food was
good, but I only ate half of my steak sandwich because I had too many
french fries. After asking for a container to bring my sandwich home in,
I was presented with a super-sized plastic bag. Inside I found a large
foil container with a cover made from plastic-coated paper.
I was hit with an overwhelming sense of guilt. I’ve touted my
family’s efforts of living green to everyone and here I was a poster
child for waste. I felt sick and was depressed for the rest of the day.
I promised myself that I would bring my own reusable containers
whenever we went to restaurants so I could bring home leftovers in them.
I also vowed to write a letter to the owners of the restaurant to
suggest using biodegradable food containers.
My family frequents restaurants all the time and I’ve noticed how
wasteful 99.9% of them are. Plastic utensils, styrofoam cups, paper
products culled from virgin forests. What’s a foodie to do?
Happily, I’ve discovered a new trend in the restaurant industry —
business owners who adhere to environmental guidelines while providing
fabulous drinks and foods.
Boloco, with locations in New
Hampshire and Massachusetts, offers naturally-raised meats fed on
vegetarian diets. These meats are also antibiotic- and hormone-free. The
menu boasts colorful burritos inspired by world cuisine, smoothies,
salads and breakfast. As a certified member of the Green Restaurant
Association (GRA), Boloco recycles paper, glass and plastic. The
restaurant also does not use polystyrene foam for food containers and
uses biodegradable cups. However, its location in Vermont has not yet
been certified through GRA.
In New York, City Chow Cafe provides hungry customers with breakfast, burritos, smoothies, salads
and soups. All locations serve USDA-certified organic coffee and milk.
Also a member of the GRA, City Chow Cafe has installed low-faucet
aerators, uses biodegradable take-out containers and supplies
chlorine-free napkins and cup carriers.
Have a hankering for pizza? Look no further than Pizza Fusion
(located in 13 states, with plans for more expansions) which relies on
earth-friendly foods and business practices. On a mission to make the
world a little greener, Pizza Fusion uses Toyota Prius hybrid cars to
deliver their delicious fare, employees wear 100% organic cotton
uniforms, food is fresh and organic and the restaurant even offers
multigrain and gluten-free crusts. LEED certified, Pizza Fusion uses
compact fluorescent light bulbs, furniture made from reclaimed materials
and drywall made from 95% post-consumer content. Eating utensils and
food containers are made from biodegradable products such as corn starch
and potatoes that only take 50 days to biodegrade. Cool.
In the diverse city of San Francisco, people flock to Elixir,
the city’s first “green” bar. Long touted as the city’s best bar,
Elixir offers organic beer, from Wolaver’s, Eel River, Butte Creek, St.
Peter’s and Young’s. Organic wines hale from Organic Vintners, Santa
Julia and 5 Rivers. The popular bar also offers green cocktails made
with fresh and organic fruits and organic spirits like 4 Copas Organic
Tequila and Papagayo Rum.
With an ever-growing list of green restaurants around the country, this is one trend that is not going away.