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Give preference to restaurants doing the right thing

Have you ever thought about the environmental footprint of your favorite restaurants? Recently we've noticed a wide range of dining experiences on the eco-friendly spectrum. We aren’t talking about whether or not their produce is local or how their beef was raised; we’re talking about the basics that anyone can see. Is everything they serve you in a plastic or disposable container, or are they using cloth napkins and reusable cutlery?

We started becoming more aware of standard restaurant practices a few months ago and how varied their approaches to sustainability could be. Not long ago, we went to a new restaurant in Dallas called Urban Taco. The food was good and the atmosphere was pleasant, and as we were waiting for our food to be served, we noticed that they had cloth napkins. This is always a plus in our book. They were also serving food and beverages in reusable plates and glasses. If it hadn't been for all the brightly-colored, plastic straw plopped in every glass in the room, they would have received a gold star!

The following week we met a friend at one of our favorite restaurants, Tru Food Kitchen. We’ve been going there on a regular basis for a few years now but had never been aware of their environmental consciousness. In fact, as long as a restaurant wasn't serving on Styrofoam plates, we didn't really pay attention to this element of dining out. But this time was different and we couldn't have been more pleased! They were using pottery plates, reusable glasses and cloth napkins, and we didn't see a single disposable item in the room. NO straws! The cherry on top was the energy-efficient Dyson Airblade hand dryer (Day #46) in the bathroom. No wonder we like this place so much! We'll definitely continue going back.

Then just the other day, we hit the lowest of lows. We walked into The Raw Bar, a poke restaurant in a hip part of town and ordered a healthy, vegetarian meal. We were given a plastic cup for our water, paper napkins and plastic utensils for our food. We were dining in, so surely we would see at least one reusable item. Oh but no! They brought our food out in a plastic bowl. Some people might think this is too drastic, but we have no plans on going back to The Raw Bar. Even though the food was enjoyable, there are plenty of places serving delicious food in reusable bowls with reusable cutlery, and we'd prefer to give our business and support to restaurants who are trying to do right by the environment.

Start noticing how your favorite restaurants rate on the sustainability scale. It can be eye-opening and even shocking once you start to pay attention. We personally want to return to establishments that are serving delicious, fresh food, but we also want to see that they're conscious of their environmental footprint.


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