Earth Day is next week, and it’s a good reminder that we need to take care of our home a little better. We could plant a tree, walk or bike instead of drive, and, surprisingly, go out to eat! If you’re raising your eyebrows, you’re right…there’s a bit of a catch. We can go out to eat at a sustainable restaurant – and there are over 100 of them in and around Pittsburgh and southwestern PA!

Sustainable Pittsburgh
B52 Cafe

What is a sustainable restaurant?

Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants, part of Sustainable Pittsburgh, is helping restaurants throughout southwestern Pennsylvania become more sustainable. That means the restaurants are improving their practices involving energy, water, waste, food sourcing, people, and nutrition. There are a series of actions within each category that the restaurants can take in order to earn points. Things like upgrading to low-flow toilets, recycling, turning off lights that aren’t in use, and improving their employee environment. The number of points they earn puts them in various designation levels – platinum, gold, silver, and bronze. As they improve their practices, the restaurants can bump up in designation levels.

So…what exactly does that mean for us? It means that when we eat out at a designated sustainable Pittsburgh restaurant, we know that they care for their community and the environment. They’ve committed to reducing their energy consumption and waste, and conserving water. They’ve agreed to source their products responsibly, and that their people – employees, customers, and community around them – are important. They also recognize the importance of offering healthy, nutritious meals that are also delicious and properly portioned.

Sustainable Pittsburgh
Bae Bae’s Kitchen

So…how can you find a sustainable Pittsburgh restaurant to support?

We’re betting you’ve already supported some without even realizing it! We were surprised at the number we’ve been to lately…B52, Kahuna, Porked, Corner Mercantile, and Bae Bae’s Kitchen to name a few. And, Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants has made it super easy to find all of the restaurants with their Restaurant Finder. You can search on a map, by name, designation, location, or just browse the list. They really couldn’t have made it any easier.

Sustainable Pittsburgh
Bluebird Kitchen

How can my restaurant get designated as sustainable?

Again, Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants has tried to make the designation process as simple as possible. You request to set up an account and fill out an assessment. Once you submit the assessment, Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants will review and approve it, and you’re good to go! And, they’ll even help you fill out the assessment to make it even easier for you. With their help, the assessment process usually takes around an hour and a half, which is less time than we spend binging Netflix if we’re honest.

If you’re interested but not quite ready to commit your restaurant (or food truck or brewery or retail shop!), check out their workshop series this spring and summer. Each workshop focuses on a different sustainability topic, and also provides networking with resource providers aimed at helping you save money. The next workshop is Monday, April 29 from 4-7pm and will focus on waste reduction. Contact Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants if you’re interested in more information or want to attend!

Sustainable Pittsburgh
Kahuna Poke and Juice Bar

But what about the rest of us who aren’t involved in a restaurant?

Seriously…just patronize the sustainable Pittsburgh restaurants and you’ll be helping by building the local economy and caring for the local community. As if we needed an excuse to go out to eat! You are where you eat, and you don’t have to compromise anything – location, quality of dining experience, or even price-point – in order to support a sustainable Pittsburgh restaurant. There is a sustainable restaurant in our area for everyone…just take a look at the Restaurant Finder if you don’t believe us.

Aaaaand, being sustainable isn’t just something we should focus on for Earth Day. Follow Sustainable Pittsburgh on social media for their upcoming Graze contest, coming this summer! We promised we wouldn’t give away too many details, but it might involve tagging photos when you eat out at a sustainable restaurant to enter to win a ticket for you and a guest to an awesome curated dinner…which sounds amazing to us!

Lauren Roberts

Lauren loves all things Pittsburgh and all things food! When she's not checking out a new restaurant, you can find her in the kitchen trying a new recipe, working on her photography, or out on a bike ride exploring the city.

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