The St. Louis culinary scene is growing almost exponentially these days – the incredible talent and diversity on display at restaurants in the city is unprecedented. This month, as Earth Day approaches, we’ve partnered with the St. Louis Green Dining Alliance to celebrate another recent development – green dining. This isn’t new, of course, but the organization is the first independent non-profit organization in St. Louis dedicated solely to the certification of, and ongoing training in, practices such as conserving energy, reducing waste and sourcing locally.
Since it was founded in 2011, the GDA has certified 96 restaurants locally. Here, we share the story of ten who have made a significant impact through their commitment to the health and well-being of their customers and the local community.
1. Vin De Set
2017 Chouteau Avenue, Lafayette Square
See Also: 10 St. Louis Restaurants Growing Their Own Food
Vin de Set (along with sister restaurants Eleven Eleven Mississippi, Moulin and PW Pizza) has focused its sustainability efforts on growing much of its own produce in order to reduce demand on large-scale farming and also to ensure quality and freshness for their kitchens. A quarter-acre organic urban farm, twenty aeroponic towers and three bee hives provided 5,000 pounds of produce – over 50 percent of the kitchen’s usage – for the restaurant last year. All crops are heirloom and started from seed.
Other sustainable practices: a 50 kilowatt solar panel array, 100 percent kitchen scrap composting; paper, glass and plastic recycling; fish from Missouri’s Troutdale Farms; pork, lamb and additional produce from Eat Here St. Louis; bike racks to encourage car-free travel and participation in Ameren’s alternative energy research program Pure Power.
2. Urban Chestnut
4465 Manchester Avenue, The Grove
Urban Chestnut’s second location, which achieved LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, was repurposed from its previous life as a paper manufacturing plant. In addition, as water usage is a significant component of any brewery operation, the owners benchmarked usage in 2014. Just a year later, they had realized a reduction of 21 percent as a result of the capture and reuse of water used for heating and cooling processes and the streamlining of brewery cleaning procedures.
Other sustainable practices: 96 percent waste recycling and composting (including 600 tons of spent grain donated annually to cattle farmers), a largely locally-based menu, and energy reduction from daylighting and efficient lighting and equipment.
3. Bolyard's Meat & Provisions
2810 Sutton Boulevard
The owner and head butcher of Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions, Chris Bolyard, describes the shop’s “pasture to plate” offerings as animal-friendly, small-farm-raised, whole-animal butchery. Beef, chicken and pork are delivered whole and broken down by hand in-house so that each animal is utilized completely, from premium cuts to deli meat, sausage and pate. Lard and tallow are turned into soap and hand balms, bones are used for stocks and sipping broths, and trim is made into dog treats. Nothing in the shop is wasted.
Other sustainable practices: meat sourced from farmers whose animals are 100 percent pasture-raised and antibiotic- and hormone-free.
6177 Delmar Boulevard, The Loop
A rooftop solar panel array in view of Eclipse’s iconic moon harvests enough solar energy from that other celestial body in the sky to power both rooftop bars and the top two floors of the Moonrise Hotel. Bonus: The solar panel also serves as a beautiful semi-transparent ceiling.
Other sustainable practices: food waste composting; recycling of glass, paper and plastics; an electric car charging station; the use of non-toxic cleaning products; support for the research for and generation of wind energy.
5. Schlafly Bottleworks
7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood
Schlafly Bottleworks’ sustainability initiatives are centered on community. Not only does the facility's 25 kW solar array offset its energy usage, but a kiosk in the lobby walks customers through the process and shows real-time energy data. Schlafly Gardenworks, the brewery's on-site urban farm, produces thousands of pounds each year for use at the Bottleworks and the Tap Room, as well as serving as a catalyst for a year-round community farmers market, free educational events and seed swaps.
Other sustainability practices: high-efficiency heating, cooling and lighting systems; a reflective white rubber roof to mitigate the urban heat islands and kitchen scrap composting.
Turn the page for five more restaurants doing it right.