Anyone who has worked in the culinary industry understands that being sustainable can be a challenge when it comes to creating a certain atmosphere or managing waste. However, these five U.S. restaurants prove that although challenging, it is not impossible. These restaurants have all been ranked highly by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) year after year because of their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.
1. Uncommon Ground in Chicago, USA
The menu consists of meals made from organic, locally grown produce. When we say local, we really mean local. The restaurant features its own rooftop farm and garden! The solar energy it’s not using to grow its produce, it is using to power a solar thermal system to provide heated water and renewable energy for the restaurant. If you don’t think this is commitment, you should know that even the furniture in the restaurant is made from recycled wood.
2. The Grey Plume in Omaha, Nebraska
This restaurant has been given four stars by the Green Restaurant Association, and for good reason. With floors made of 90 percent recycled material, impressive LED lighting, and Energy Star appliances, The Grey Plume has shown dedication to eco-friendly dining. Even their menus are recycled paper with soy-based ink on them.
3. Ruggles Green in Houston, Texas
As Houston’s first “green” restaurant, Ruggles Green lives up to its rank by serving a variety of eco-friendly food such as vegan, dairy-free and fresh local food meals. All of their glass, cardboard, plastic and metal are all recycled. In addition their fry oil is saved and reused as biofuel.
4. Kona Pub & Brewery, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Having a restaurant on an island can be challenging because of the amount of materials imported, but Kona makes up for this with their sustainable techniques. This brewery produces Hawaii’s first and only certified organic beer, Oceanic Organic Saison. In addition, most of the materials used to build the facility have been recycled. The restaurant also uses heat exchangers to reclaim thermal energy for water heating during the brewing process. The water collected from the condensation of air conditioning is also used for irrigation.
5. Pizzeria Rustica in Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Italian restaurant supports local Colorado Springs farmers and uses the local greenhouses, which grow produce for them. The restaurant also uses slow-method of cooking their pizzas and has minimal waste.