Where to Eat Green Across the U.S.

Fresh vegetarian pasta by Lachlan HardyYou’ve gotten the college road trip out of your system, but not the wanderlust. Now that you’re older and wiser, you can hopscotch across the nation supporting eateries that care about the earth, savoring local produce and sipping fair trade coffee from L.A. to New York City. Does life get any better?

Here are a few places to stop along your journey, and a green quiz to bring along in case you think that you may have discovered a new spot to add our EcoSalon compilation. Many of the restaurants listed here are certified green, or are in the process of becoming certified by the Green Restaurant Association, a non-profit founded in 1990. (Restaurants awarded their seal must comply with a litany of rules and regulations such as: using recycled, tree-free, biodegradable and organic products; serving sustainable food; complying with water efficiency and conservation technologies; using non-toxic cleaning products; and featuring green building and construction.)

Here’s our A-Z guide to terrific green eats:

Atlanta is home to Radial. While there, try the Vegetarian Biscuits covered in rosemary-fennel gravy along with two eggs and vegetarian sausage (there’s also bacon, fruit, or pork sausage if you prefer).

When in Berkeley, stop by Chez Panisse Restaurant and Cafe
where they view farming, foraging, cooking, and table service as an unbroken sequence.

Boston is my hometown. If you’re looking for a sophisticated gourmet dinner try Lumiere, a few miles west of the city. But if you’d rather spend more time taking in Beantown than being waited on, there’s Boloco, a great choice for causal fare. With 12 locations across the city, there’s really no excuse not to go green. (Their grilled and braised meats are raised humanely on a vegetarian diet without antibiotics or growth hormones.) There are 9 basic burritos to choose from, and add-ins like fajita vegetables, organic tofu, and naturally-raised grilled chicken and steak.Try The Bangkok, filled with Asian slaw and Thai peanut sauce, or the Spicy Buffalo with blue cheese. Each for about six bucks.

If you should find yourself  in Chatanooga, Tennesee, check out 212 Market Restaurant.

Chicago is home to the Roti Mediterranean Grill with white quartz countertops and display mirrors that showcase the fresh produce. Organic materials like cork flooring, natural stone borders, and bisque hanging light fixtures make the room cozy and chic. Choose from items like fire roasted chicken or steak, vegetables, homemade falafel and hummus, and sauces from spicy roti to cool yogurt & cucumber. The windy city is also home to  the Blue Water Grill.

If Clearwater, Florida is your destination, try the Belle Air Grill and Wine Bar.

In Denver, Colo. there’s The Encore

…and in Houston,Texas don’t miss Cullen’s Upscale American Grille.

Of course, Knoxville, Tennessee has La Costa on Market Square.

And for you Southland explorers, be eco-conscious from 6am to 11pm at the Alcove Café & Bakery in Los Angeles. Among the many other eco restaurants in L.A. is Leaf Cuisine and Mendocine Farms Sandwiches and Marketplace.

Is your Big Apple organic? It can be if you check out Blue Water Grill in New York City, voted the 11th Most Popular Restaurant in New York in the 2008 Zagat Survey. In the heart of Union Square, Blue Water Grill highlights a variety of seafood delicacies with a Sushi and Oyster Bar. Try a Baja Roll with tuna, shrimp, avocado, jicama and jalapeno, or the Lobster Salad Sliders with avocado, tomato, arugula and applewood bacon. There’s also grilled filet mignon with parmesan polenta, cipollini onions, and a bourbon demi-glace.

If you’re on the upper west side try Josie’s, one of my very favorites. In the east village? Stop by Quintessence.

If you’re in Philadelphia on your way to the Liberty Bell, pop by the Pita Pit.

By the way, Roanoke, Virginia has the charming green Fork in the Alley Brick Oven Pub

…and Sacramento offers its visitors the Waterboy.

The Bay Area is brimming with eco-spots, but you’ll definitely want to try the Ramblas Tapas Bar in San Francisco. If you’re in San Jose, visit the Village California Bistro and Wine Bar

By the border, San Diego is serving up green grub at Café Bella Italia.

Headed to the Northwest? Seattle, Washington is home to Tidbit Bistro and Tilth, a small, quiet spot place housed inside, well, a small home. If you
‘re looking for more of a party atmosphere, try the Blackbird Bistro.

Back on the East Coast, in Washington, D.C. you’ll want to use Occasions Caterers.

(Let’s hope the future White House residents do.)

Image: Lachlan Hardy

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