6 Sustainable Restaurant Dishes to Try This Earth Day
Earth Day commemorates the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. To celebrate the important holiday on April 22, we recommend eating out at one of the many local restaurants that focus on sustainability. Not only will your purchase help a small business owner in your community, but it will also support practices like organic and free-range farming that are better for you and the earth. To get the ball rolling, we picked out a few dishes from restaurants across the country that use responsibly sourced ingredients you can feel good about.
Chef Marco Canora’s East Village staple Hearth has been a neighborhood mainstay for 17 years – practically an eternity in the New York dining scene. The restaurant has built a strong foundation on dishes with integrity that change with the seasons. Canora’s team uses ingredients sourced from the nearby Union Square Farmers Market, which everyone in the kitchen visits together three mornings a week before sketching out the menu. But over the years, one dish hasn’t changed: the beloved Beef & Ricotta Meatballs with house tomato sauce, featuring 100% grass-fed beef. 403 East 12 Street, New York, NY 10009. Learn More.
Somerville gem Juliet has sustainability at the core of its ever-changing offerings. One dish on the menu right now that expresses its sustainable approach particularly well is the Choucroute Garni, a dish of Alsatian-style sauerkraut, Dogpatch Farm Mulefoot pork, and mustard butter.
According to Juliet + Company Creative Director Joshua Lewin, the pig used in the dish is delivered whole to the restaurant by the farmer, Sue, before being broken down in a head-to-tail approach by the chefs. “In addition to showing respect and care for the animal harvested in order for us to do our work, we are keeping money in the local economy, and putting it directly into the hands of a farming family, working by hand to build a business and steward the land,” Lewin said. The cut in the dish is always changing, too, in an effort to expand the consumer’s palate and appreciation for the whole animal. 21 Union Square, Somerville, MA Learn More
Like its name suggests, Founding Farmers is committed to using ingredients that are beneficial to the earth. The restaurant takes a unique approach to this with its Chesapeake Wild Blue Catfish dish. Wild Blue Catfish are actually depleting the Chesapeake Bay’s rockfish, blue crabs, clams, oysters, shrimp populations, and so the restaurant is helping to restore balance to the ecosystem by serving up the dish and using the campaign #EatTheEnemy. It helps that the dish is delicious; the flaky white fish is blackened and served with grits, sautéed green vegetables, mango pico de gallo, and lemon butter. 1924 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, D.C. Learn More.
Chicago’s original farm-to-table restaurant Lula Cafe has been committed to serving up locally sourced produce and meats since it opened its doors in 1999. The menu looks a bit different these days, with a constantly rotating four-course take-out option of "farm dinners" standing in while the restaurant remains closed for in-person dining, but the mission to provide good, healthy food remains. One of its most recent farm dinners featured Gunthorp Farms Pork (from neighboring Indiana), with locally sourced green garlic, cabbage, and chamomile. This week's menu features a spinach salad with shaved asparagus, kumquat, candied almond, and sorrel vinaigrette. Whatever's on the ever-changing menu, expect it to be seasonal and wholesome. 2537 North Kedzie Boulevard, Chicago, IL. Learn More.
This Silver Lake restaurant and market serves up local vegetables, fruits and dairy, wild Pacific seafood, and sustainably raised meats in dishes that are as Instagrammable as they are nourishing. Botanica is currently offering meals to-go, with menu items including its Chile Oil-Roasted Carrots with Coleman Family Farms chicories, castelvetrano olives, medjool dates, and spiced almonds. The cherry on top? Botanica is a women-owned, women-run business. 1620 Silver Lake Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. Learn More.
The Plant Café Organic
This small San Francisco-based group of cafes serves only organic locally sourced fruits and vegetables, free-range poultry, and wild-caught seafood. The restaurant is the first in the country to receive the U.S. Healthful Food Council’s Eat Real Platinum award that’s given to restaurants committed to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship. One of the cafe’s most popular dishes is the Plant Burger, a vegan patty made from lentils, mushrooms, beets, cashews, and bulgur wheat topped with grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and vegan mayo, and served on a bun from a local bakery. The Plant Café Organic eschews serving beef, as it is a major contributor to methane in the atmosphere. 2335 Third Street, San Francisco, CA. Learn More.
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