40% of waste today is food-related, and of the 269,000 tons of plastic garbage in the ocean, the majority comes from single-use food containers. Even worse, restaurants are increasingly keeping costs low by ordering bulk, industrially-farmed food instead of stimulating the local economy and supporting small, sustainable food vendors. Thankfully, Some DMV restaurants are playing a big part in becoming the solution to a sad food system. With plenty of Farm-to-table, locally grown, and environmentally conscious restaurant owners in the DMV area, you have tons of options to have a nice meal out without any ecological guilt.
If #OurLastStraw is your mantra, and saving the world (or at least contributing to sustainable progress) is your game, then take yourself, and your bank account, to support these 5 Sustainable DC restaurants!
The adorable, ivy-covered coffee house and American eatery, Big Bear Cafe, was founded in 2006 and took on the monster project of launching Bloomingdale’s Farmers Market less than a year later. This contribution encourages neighbors to purchase locally grown fruits and veggies in the same way that Big Bear does. Their ingredients include a mixture of self-sourced (their patio features an herb and vegetable garden) and locally vended (from MD, VA, and PA) foods. They proudly proclaim. “We preserve our own pickles, cure our own meat, and work to create an efficient kitchen that is sustainable, affordable, and conscientious.”
Founding Farmers delights locals and tourists alike at its multiple, ecologically-friendly locations. This delicious comfort-food focused family of restaurants is home to some seriously awesome practices. The restaurant group is large and growing, representing an entire movement; the fleet includes popular sister restaurant Farmers & Distillers and the prime Georgetown date spot Farmers, Fishers, Bakers. The restaurants are 100% co-op farmer-owned! The buildings themselves are LEED certified- meaning they incorporate reusable materials in their construction and decor. The Founding Farmers group also the “Our Last Straw” initiative that is working on both the individual level and the legislative level to remove single-use plastic straws from daily use.
Veggie lovers and health enthusiasts rejoice! Soupergirl is not merely a restaurant with sustainable practices. It is a restaurant and a concept that was born in the spirit of sustainability. DC residents Sara and Marilyn Polon founded Soupergirl at two locations, Takoma and M Street, because they recognized our food system as broken and had a vision to impact it in a positive way, “one spoonful at a time.” Both their fresh and grab-and-go soups support local farm communities, and are created in a kitchen that utilizes wind energy; they also are big compost advocates and cook completely plant-based. The major goal of this souper-sustainable movement? A win for healthy consumers supported farms, and a happy planet.
#FrayLife Tip: You can pick up Soupergirl soup for a guilt-free lunch on the go at whole foods locations in the DMV area!
This New York-born, Georgetown favorite pays homage to the fishermen, harbors, and coasts responsible for bringing delicious, fresh lobster to the table! They receive fresh seafood daily and pride themselves on transparency and traceability: every order they make is traceable, which means they can verify that it was gathered sustainably. Following size guides is key to supporting the lobster populations in our seas when fishing them. They also partner directly with The Ocean Foundation, an organization that is actively reversing the trend of destruction in our oceans
If you’ve lived in the DMV area long enough, you’ve probably spent some time at Busboys and Poets: home of open mics nights and $5 brunch Bloody’s. You may not have known, however, that Busboy’s holds a DC Mayor’s Environmental Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievement. The straws, to-go containers, menus, and cleaning supplies at busboys are all recyclable or compostable. They recycle their cooking oil for biofuel and use 100% wind energy at all DC and MD locations. Of course, they also serve local, ethically sourced food! A restaurant built on a moto of cultural connections with literature and art galore, Busboys and Poets is the perfect place to feed your mind and soul.
Show off your green pride next time you eat at one of these sustainable restaurants by tagging us on social using #FrayLife and #DCFray!
View More Articles By Brittney Miles