While taste is obviously huge when it comes to food, we are approaching an age where making food more sustainable is taking a front seat. If you were one of the millions of people that were sobbing hysterically when Leonardo DiCaprio won his well-deserved Academy Award, you got to hear him speak about how passionate he is about helping to save our Earth.
Sustainability is all about moving in an eco-friendly direction by reducing waste, composting, recycling, and focusing on conservation. Many restaurants throughout the U.S. have been trying to become more sustainable and are now serving more organic food than ever before. Here are a few restaurant chains across the country that have been practicing sustainability and making food without harmful add-ons.
1. Mixt Greens
With two locations in Los Angeles and six in San Francisco, Mixt Greens offers healthy options like salads and sandwiches that are made only with organic ingredients. They also use compostable packaging, which is eco-friendly, while using recycled and energy-efficient equipment in the restaurant. Offering tasty food while being earth-conscious, Mixt Greens is definitely a place worth checking out.
Bareburger offers you a wide variety of delicious burgers, America's favorite food. With over 20 locations throughout the country including New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey, Bareburger is not only known for offering high-quality burgers, but they're also famous for making their burgers without the use of GMOs and pesticides. The franchise keeps growing and it must be because of how tasty their natural burgers are.
The Plant Cafe's goal is to serve you delicious food that is 100% organic. All of the produce used in this café are grown on local farms and picked just days before served. They are so keen on being fresh that their poultry is sustainably raised, and everything else is made from scratch. The Plant offers every meal of the day at their several locations while giving you the freshest food possible.
In addition to using locally sourced meats, Busboy and Poets uses sustainable seafood, brews fair trade coffees and teas, uses recycled paper products, and uses renewable energy in their restaurants based in Washington D.C. This chain sees themselves more than just a restaurant. They call themselves a "community gathering place" that is open to thinkers, writers, artists, and dreamers. They offer meals that not only taste great but are all-natural. What else could you ask for?
Soup is one of the most comforting foods in the world. But sometimes we want more from our typical soup in a can, and thus we come to the creation of Soupergirl. With soup made from scratch using organic ingredients, this restaurant was made for those cold rainy days. All of the kitchen scraps are composted, making an eco-friendly and natural restaurant for everyone to enjoy.
6. Root Down
Root Down is located in an old 1950s gas station-turned-restaurant in Denver, CO. Besides their tasty food, this restaurant is very sustainable. Get this: They operate powered by wind and only wind, they use herbs and vegetables that they grow and harvest on their rooftop and patios whenever they can, and the inside is made up of recycled materials. How much more sustainable can a restaurant get?
With three locations on the East Coast, this farmer owned restaurant does all they can to be eco-friendly. From using recycled paper-composite countertops to using recycled paper menus with soy-based inks, Founding Farmers gets an A+ for all that they do to help Mother Earth. They don't use fume paints and most of their food comes from local farms. They even have a whole page on their website dedicated to explaining their sustainability.
Red Stag Supperclub wanted to go an extra mile past serving local and organic food, so they became the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design registered restaurant in the whole country to use only LED energy-efficient lights. By doing so, the restaurant managed to cut their energy usage in half, which is pretty dang amazing if I say so myself.
Tilth is one of the several restaurants owned by Maria Hines, who is passionate about fine dining and sustainability. At her restaurant, she tries her best to be as eco-friendly as possible. She goes as far as providing organic feminine products in the bathroom and giving soy crayons to children. Almost all of the food she serves is farmed organically, and if she can't find an item to be organic, she will make it in her own house. Even the wine is organic.
Located in Maryland, Woodberry Kitchen is yet another restaurant that serves food that has been locally grown in farms. They grind and extract the waste from vegetables, which makes it lighter and more efficient to manage. What's also really neat about Woodberry Kitchen is that the shells of the oysters are salvaged and returned to Chesapeake Bay to help regenerate oyster beds.
Nowadays, it's really important for us to try to do our part for the Earth as much as we can. These restaurants are few of many that have been doing their part in using their utilities and positions to help the earth be more eco-friendly for all. As a college student, it might seem a bit too difficult to eat sustainable with our busy schedules, but even the laziest college student can eat sustainably.