Frequenting local establishments that support local farms and industry is an excellent way of reducing your carbon footprint while dining out.
But a few restaurants in the metro have taken extra steps in the use of recycled or repurposed materials, or have made structural investments in their properties that will not only reduce their carbon footprint, but perhaps save money in the long run.
Take Tiffany Magness, for example.
She owns Green Goodies by Tiffany, 7606 N. Western, where she uses repurposed furniture and serves cupcakes on dishware she found in antique stores.
Beyond that, Green Goodies is a bakery catering to those who have food allergies, gluten intolerance and is 100 percent peanut-free. Magness also uses all-organic ingredients in her baking and sources ingredients locally when she can. For example, when berries are in season, she obtains them from local farmers markets to use in her cupcakes.
She takes the green in her bakerys name a step further.
All of our packaging, as well as the disposable forks we use, are made with recycled materials and are 100-percent biodegradable, Magness said.
Sometimes its not about eating green, but drinking green. Thats part of the concept behind Coop Ale Works, a local brewery owned by Mark Seibold, JD Merryweather and Daniel Mercer. The brewery, 1124 N.W. 51st, uses a high-efficiency water heater in both its brewing and cleaning process.
We use 50 percent less water than the national average, in comparison to other breweries, Merryweather said about the high-efficiency water heater.
Coop also recently started canning some of its beers. All of the packaging is made from recycled materials, and the aluminum cans are 100 percent recyclable.
The brewery provides the spent grains and yeast left over from the brewing process to local bakery and cafe Bhings Cafe, 4305 N. Meridian.
Spent grain, a byproduct of beerbrewing, is comprised of the residue of malts and grains that remain in the kettle after the mashing and lautering process.
Bhings Cafe, owned by Bhing Davies and her husband, Steve Jarolim, is a small cafe and bakery that specializes in breads, sandwiches, pizza and Filipino food. All of the breads are made by Jarolim onsite with the spent grains and yeast obtained from Coop.
So why use spent grains? I found a recipe that I wanted to try, and when I had the opportunity to get spent grains locally from Coop Ale Works, I played with the recipe until we had a product that we liked, Jarolim said.
The resulting breads are delicious, and Bhings now makes several types of bread with the spent grains, as well as pizza dough and cinnamon rolls.
At a recent cooking class at The Tasting Room at Will Rogers Theatre, 4322 N. Western, chef Kurt Fleischfresser said that a geothermal unit to heat and cool was used onsite.
It was a decision made with my partner Carl Milam, who owns the building, and is very environmentally conscientious, Fleischfresser said. Right now, we are still recouping our cost, but in the long run we hope the reduction in our energy bills will more than make up for it.
Geothermal technology utilizes the earths relatively constant temperature to both heat and cool buildings. The technology is still rather expensive, but uses 40-70 percent less energy than conventional systems.
With a little creativity, these local establishments have shown that eating green is about more than simply eating greens.
Click here for more on Coop Ale Works green initiatives.