Here Are 20 Green Restaurants You Should Learn About

With environmentally-friendly restaurants being one of the hottest trends in the industry, we thought we’d compile a list of 20 restaurants who have gone “green.”  

Look out for these national environmentally-aware chains as well as other “green” restaurants in your area!

National

1. Starbucks

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Starbucks, the largest coffeehouse chain in the world, recently has made a tremendous effort to be sustainable by turning their focus on “green” building initiatives, stating their goal to, “build all new, company-owned stores to achieve LEED® certification." The photo above displays a Starbucks store made out of recycled storage containers.  Additionally, Starbucks works to both recycle and reduce waste along with implementing the usage of eco-friendly cups. See more about what Starbucks does here.

2. Chipotle

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Chipotle, a restaurant chain specializing in burritos and tacos, proudly claims the title of the nation’s first ever Platinum LEED® certified restaurant.  Chipotle also does significant work with farmers and producers to make sure their actions have a minimal impact on the environment.  Check out more about their work here.

3. Evos

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Each of the ten locations of this self-described, “all-American burger cafe” has the impact of planting 52 acres of trees every year. Sounds like magic to us but by everything EVOS produces, like gift cards, cups, bags, etc. being biodegradable, their support of sustainable farming, environmentally made buildings that produce 75% less energy and heat, EVOS makes it happen.  Learn more about what they do here

4. Souplantation

 

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Souplantation, a nationwide buffet-style chain, aims to save 2.1 million pounds of wasted paper, 7.5 million gallons of water, 4.4 million kilowatts of energy and 3,194 cubic yards of landfill space every year by using a recycling and composting program, using energy efficient ice machines and lighting, and avoiding Styrofoam packaging.  They were recently named the “Largest Green Restaurant Chain” by the Green Restaurant Association. Read more about how Souplantation implements sustainability into their locations here.

5. Ted's Montana Grill

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Ted’s Montana Grill’s internal sustainability mantra: “Eat great, do good.”  With their focus on energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction we think that they do, indeed, do good.  When visiting this restaurant chain that specializes in bison expect to find LED lighting, solar power, water efficient appliances in bathrooms, paper straws, bamboo skewers, and the replacement of paper by bagasse- a non paper option that is both recyclable and compostable.  The restaurant chain is also a partner with Bonneville Environmental Foundation and funds water restoration certificates to offset their annual water usage.  You can learn more about the sustainability efforts of Ted’s Montana Grill here.

Northeast

6. Boloco

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New England’s burrito, salad, wraps, and smoothie chain Boloco has the impressive goal to be a near-zero waste restaurant.  They aim to do this by using 100% compostable bamboo bowls instead of the plastic alternative as well as using 100% compostable smoothie cups.  They were recognized for their efforts by being the first fast-casual chain in New England to become a 2 Star Certified Green Restaurant®.  Get more information about Boloco’s ideas about being green here.

7. Pizza by Certé

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This New York pizzeria is 3 star green restaurant.  Pizza by Certé is working towards sustainability by using recycled bottles for countertops, recycling material to make walls, and making millwork from wheat.  They also use only biodegradable utensils and paper goods.  Even deliveries are made by foot or hybrid truck.  Sounds pretty green to us.  Learn more about their efforts here.

8. Local 121

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This “new American” restaurant in Providence tries to mainly use local products to reduce the impact on the environment caused by transportation.  They also make sure that their food has been harvested in a way that minimally impacts the land and sea.  Get more information about Local 121 here.

9. Taranta

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This Boston based combo of Italian and Peruvian cuisine aims to be carbon neutral.  Their efforts has not only earned them the title of a Green Certified Restaurant but they also received the City of Boston Green Business Award.  Read more information about what they do here.

10. In-N-Out

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You might already know this SoCal based burger joint for their burgers and animal-style fries.  What you might not know is their tremendous effort to gogreen by switching to reusable trays in all locations as well as making an effort to recycle around 58 tons of production debris and diverting 2,425 tons of soil for reuse in their production of a new store in Woodland’s Gateway shopping center thus receiving them commendation from the City of Woodland for “achieving a 99% solid waste diversion rate for the company’s new facility.”  See their commendation from the city here.

11. Slapfish

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Slapfish, a restaurant specializing in “real American seafood”, uses their California location to take advantage of local resources like the nearby Aquarium of the Pacific to review their menu and offer suggestions on how to make it more sustainable.  See more of Slapfish’s ocean sustainability efforts here.

12. Bamboo Sushi

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Portland’s Bamboo Sushi is the first certified, sustainable sushi restaurant in the world. They place a heavy emphasis on marine stewardship, the environment, and sustainability. With those three aspects in mind, their goal for the restaurant is to provide the best and freshest fish possible while also trying to save the oceans and marine life.  They also partner with various organizations to increase awareness.  Check out more information about Bamboo Sushi here.

13. Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe

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Seattle’s Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe prides itself on the fact that environmentalism dictates all of their decisions.  They also can now be considered the champs of recycling with 90% of their waste being recycled, reused or composted with also implementing the practice of not providing utensils for “to go” orders (however, customers are free to borrow silverware) all with the intended goal to have a net zero impact on the Earth.  More information about Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe can be found here.

14. Mixt Greens

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This Bay-area restaurant lives up to their concept of “Eco-Gourmet.”  Mixt Greens’ buildings are completely green with enhanced energy performance in lighting, the use of natural light and window tinting to save of heat and air conditioning, the implementation of renewable and recyclable materials, and even the paint they use for the walls doesn’t give off any harmful chemicals.  From the eco-friendly buildings to the “environmentally responsible fine food” served at Mixt Greens we can say that this restaurant completely embodies the idea of Eco-Gourmet.  More information about their idea of what it means to be Eco-Gourmet can be found here.

15. Prasino

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Chicago’s Prasino uses high efficiency energy appliances in their kitchen as well as only cleaning with environmentally friendly supplies.  Their hope is that by these efforts they will lessen their impact in landfills and lower greenhouse gases. They also implement a specialized water system that purifies water instead of using bottled water.  Click here for more information about what Prasino does to be “green”.

16. Northstar Cafe

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The Northstar Cafe in Columbus donates a significant amount of money to the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and the Ohio Environment Council in recognition that they can’t have a completely sustainable restaurant.  We’re impressed with the initiative this cafe takes to help the environment and we think you’ll be too.  See more here.

Southeast

17. Radial Cafe

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80-90% of Atlanta’s Radial Cafe’s waste is recyclable and compostable.  Additionally, their take-out boxes, straws, and cups are plant-based compostable.  Not only have they cut energy usage by 40% using sustainabletechnologies they also only use eco-friendly cleaning products. Read more about their great work here.

18. LoKal Burgers & Beer

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It’s all in the name.  Miami’s LoKal Burgers & Beer uses locally sourced ingredients and are completely reliant on clean, renewable energy that’s sourced from wind and solar power.  Interest you? Check their page out here.

19. Ruggles Green

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Houston’s Ruggles Green is the area’s first certified green restaurant.  Essentially everything they use is recycled; for example, they recycle fry oil and turn it into biofuel.  Additionally, purchased energy is 100% wind powered.  As indicated by its name, this restaurant is incredibly green.  If you’re in Texas and in the mood for American food, head over to Ruggles Green and support this green restaurant.  Get more info here

20. The Kitchen

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This Colorado-based “community bistro” uses wind-power, composting, eco-friendly packaging, and even recycles cooking oil to power a server’s car.  Read more here

 

Do you know of any other restaurants that have “gone green” in your area?  Share your favorites with us in the comments!