You care about protecting the planet, right? Celebrate Earth Day, this Saturday, April 22, by joining the cause and relishing local foods produced in eco-friendly ways. Here are a handful of new and classic places that are conscientious about sustainability by recycling, conserving energy and growing ingredients naturally. Show your support … it’s hip to be green.
The Ivy & James
4400 Bellaire Blvd., 832-831-6944
The new restaurant concept from chef and beekeeper Jamie Zelko and partner Dalia Zelko will bow in on Earth Day. Operating with a focus on holistic agriculture, humanely raised animals and responsible seafood and aquaculture, the restaurant is a cornerstone of Evelyn Park Conservancy located in the shuttered Teas Nursery spot in Bellaire. Expect a beer garden, pavilion, patio and picnic grounds in addition to a menu of elevated American comfort food created from organic and local ingredients. Picnic baskets are available daily, and prix-fixe dinners with wine pairings are on tap Thursday through Saturday.
420 Main St., 713-227-0531, and other locations
Owner Benjy Levit doesn’t throw buzz word “local” around lightly. He means business by sourcing ingredients from local farms (about 15 are listed on the website). Additionally, his team lessens its carbon footprint by recycling, building and repairing with reclaimed woods and striving for water conservation at his restaurants. Don’t miss the chicken posole soup, ceviches from the raw bar or spinach-edamame dip at the new downtown location.
2424 Dunstan, 713-522-7602, and other location
The precursor to Local Foods, Benjy Levit’s original concept is another local, sustainable alternative to everyday eateries. For good eco-friendly eats, expect a Texas buffalo burger, local artisan greens salad, local tomato tortilla soup with grilled corn, smashed avocado toast topped with local eggs and many local craft brews. Fresh stuff!
Jerry Built Homegrown Burgers
Memorial City, 10403 Katy Fwy., 281-549-2874, and other location
The founders of these distinctive fast-casual burger joints with the mantra “the burger nature intended” are dedicated to sustainability, local community support and the environment. They believe in serving the best all-natural ingredients by sourcing seasonal items from local and regional farmers during each harvest. Jerry Built promises 100% natural beef and chicken along with daily baked buns and house fries without trans fats or hydrogenated oils.
Harvest Organic Grille
1800 Fountainview, 713-243-0900
This fairly new eatery to Houston uses sustainable all-organic ingredients with no chemicals. Don’t look for microwaves. Instead, they slow-cook wild-caught fish, all natural chicken and grass-fed meats. The vast menu includes dozens of raw juices, “super foods” and salads, and a variety of fish, beef and lamb in addition to pastas and vegan dishes.
3320 White Oak Dr., 713-637-4095
Chef Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber’s garden-to-table hit in The Heights spotlights fresh herbs and vegetables grown in the backyard garden, 44 Farms beef, local fresh eggs, creative ways with bycatch fish and more. The eatery religiously recycles, composts and conserves water and energy as much as possible.
Krisp Bird & Batter
5922 Richmond Ave., 713-239-0320
For imaginative takes on fried chicken sandwiches at this still-new spot, chef Ben McPherson sources his ingredients from local and sustainable farmers and providers. Sandwich buns are baked daily using GMO-free unbleached batter. The cooking oil is reused to produce clean energy and all packaging is recyclable and eco-friendly. Dig in and feel okay about the world.
1100 Westheimer Rd., 713-528-9800
At his perpetually packed Montrose haunt, award-winning chef Chris Shepherd does all his butchery in-house and has a long-standing relationship with local farmers, ranchers and fisherman. Aside from the economic concerns of over-fishing our oceans, the savvy chef embraces the uniqueness and unpredictability of cooking with bycatch fish. The genuine farm-to-table restaurant does not serve anything sourced more than 150 miles away from the restaurant.
5470 San Felipe St., 832-538-1016, and other location
Dish Society supports the local agriculture community by using their produce as much as possible, and meat and other products are sourced from nearby cities and towns. Black Hill Farms, Homestead Gristmill, Plant it Forward, and Greenway Coffee & Tea are a few of the suppliers you’ll find on the menu. The restaurant extends its eco-friendly efforts to packaging, recycling used goods and composting.
2305 W. Alabama, 713-533-0777, and other locations
“The greenest restaurant in Texas” now has four shops scattered from Upper Kirby (the newest location) to CityCentre, Sugar Land and the Woodlands. The CityCentre location was the first in Texas to be awarded four-star certification by the Green Restaurant Association. This means completing programs in energy, water, waste, disposables, chemical and food reduction, and sustainable food, as well as sustainable furnishings and building materials.
True Food Kitchen
1700 Post Oak Blvd., 281-605-2505
This all-around green restaurant from Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts practices recycling, local sourcing and energy conservation. As a member of the Green Restaurant Association, TFK buildings are built environmentally friendly with reclaimed woods, low-voltage LED lighting and low-VOC paint. The nutrient-rich menu spotlights anti-inflammatory foods and drinks.
6700 S. Rice Ave., 832-831-9091, and other locations
This handy grab-n-go shop with 12 locations around Houston is dedicated to sustainability with healthful take-out and meal-planning options for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike. The kitchen utilizes BPA-free recyclable and compostable packaging, and the ingredients are mostly locally sourced and organic. Look down: Some locations sport all natural bamboo flooring.
3819 Kirby, 713-524-2909
All of the national franchise locations are built using environmentally friendly sustainable and non-hazardous construction. Elevation Burger recycles waste including the olive oil used to cook their fries. They serve organically raised hormone-free beef that is grazed free-range on pastures using no pesticides.