Chicago is home to a vibrant dining scene beyond just serving delicious food, with a growing trend towards sustainability in recent years, with many restaurants taking steps to reduce their environmental impact and promote sustainable practices. From farm-to-table concepts to zero-waste initiatives, Chicago’s most sustainable restaurants are leading the way in adopting eco-friendly practices that prioritize the planet while still delivering mouthwatering flavors. If you’re looking for places to eat this Earth Month, try one of these sustainable restaurants in Chicago!
208 S La Salle St, Chicago, IL 60604
The Grill on 21 demonstrates how classic American grill can be more approachable, still indulgent, a bit healthier and completely socially aware for their guests and the environment. As a classic American steakhouse with a modern twist, they take great pride in sourcing only the highest quality ingredients from environmentally responsible, local family farms, ranchers, and sustainable fisheries. Some of their proud partners include: Cook’s Venture Farms, Mick Klug Farms, Fischer Farms, Mighty Vine, Nichols Farm & Orchard, Kinnikinnick Farms, Hook’s Creamery, Revol Greens.
2429 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
At the Michelin-starred Middle Eastern restaurant, Chef Zach pays homage to the Middle East with a farm-driven, Midwestern twist. He challenges diners to explore and expand their culinary palates by offering a four-course “choose-your-own-adventure” menu. Weekly, Chef Zach receives his meat, produce, and fruits from local farmers. He also takes various products that farmers’ can’t sell and finds a way to utilize them at Galit. This allows Chef Zach to think outside the box and encourages him to be creative while utilizing as much of a product as possible. It also allows him to work on various innovative ways to prolong the Midwest seasons for as long as he can by preserving ingredients, pickling, fermenting, or drying them out, ensuring nothing goes to waste and only providing the best of the best for his guests. He not only practices sustainability by utilizing the entire part of an animal, but also prides himself on having a sustainable community by taking care of those within his community network at all times.
1 W Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601
Put your money where your neighborhood is. Raised is a one-of-a-kind cocktail bar offering an unbeatable Chicago River location, stunning city views, an impressive seasonal cocktail program and gourmet shareable bites. Not only does Raised deliver an elevated urban rooftop experience, but the bar is committed to sourcing ingredients within 300 miles of the property, partnering with some of the best local businesses from the Chicagoland area. Guests can sip and munch happily knowing that their drinks and meals come with a lower carbon footprint, plus they’ll also support their Chicago community.
400 N La Salle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654
Hannah’s Bretzel is a Chicago-based fast casual sandwich concept with three locations throughout the city, is home to über sandwich makers who create food with purpose. More than anything, Über means tasty. Über also means organic, whole grain focused, nutritionally balanced and free of growth hormones, antibiotics or preservatives. Founded in 2005 by Florian Pfahler, Hannah’s Bretzel pays homage to his hometown of Stuttgart, Germany. Named after Pfahler’s daughter Hannah and the popular German “bretzel”, Hannah’s Bretzel is passionate about providing healthy, ingredient-focused food made and delivered with the smallest environmental footprint possible .All Hannah’s locations operate 100% on wind and solar power, use 100% biodegradable or recyclable packaging, and delivered to the Chicago community solely with an electric Mini Cooper. In recent years, Hannah’s has also introduced in-store composting to each location’s business model to completely close the waste cycle.
FOODWORKS is a restaurant incubator that specializes in unique dining solutions throughout the country has launched the GREEN Project to advance fruit and vegetable consumption in America. With the program launched back in late summer, Earth Month is the perfect time to highlight Foodworks dedication to offering diners all across the country sustainable and plant-forward dining experiences. GREEN highlights chefs across the country who create unique, exciting and flavorful dining experiences that are healthy and sustainable by integrating more fruits and vegetables into menu items.
The guiding principles for GREEN are based on the Culinary Institute of America’s “Menus of Change” and FOODWORKS mutual commitment to advancing public education and availability around plant-forward options in the American diet. FOODWORKS has created a network of partners across the country to support the plant-forward efforts of GREEN. The potential of more exposure has encouraged both larger and specifically local restaurants, especially in non-traditional environments like corporate dining, colleges and universities, healthcare, manufacturing and distribution. Partners include regional operators like DIG, Protein Kitchen, Sweetgreen and more.
3335 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657
In Chicago’s Northalsted neighborhood Wood, a six time Michelin Bib Gourmand winner Chef Devin Kreller prides himself on utilizing every part of the animal within his dishes to make sure no food is wasted. Every Wednesday, Chef Devin receives his meat from a variety of local farmers and breaks down each part of the animal himself. The main difference between receiving meat already processed and Chef Devin processing it himself, is he is able to contain the flavor of the cut, and knows exactly how the animal was raised, treated, and fed.
2763 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Did you know that the original diets of the Incan and Mayan people almost completely consisted of plant-based meals? Don Bucio’s Taqueria in Chicago’s Logan Square from Chef Rodolfo Cuadros is on a mission to rethink Mexican food with his 100% plant based taqueria. His goal is to help diners reduce their carbon footprints one dish at a time, and every dish at Don Bucio’s is plant based. Diners can expect Chicarónes con Salsa without the pork, Asada Tacos with forest mushrooms sans steak and their signature Nopal Milanese Torta with refritos, mojo verde, pico, arugula and DBT escabeche. Remember, you don’t need to commit to an entirely plant-based diet for all meals, because one dish per week is the help the Earth needs.
1559 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Bloom Plant Based Kitchen is a Bib Gourmand restaurant serving up 100% plant-based and gluten free dishes in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The restaurant is an absolute must-try for any vegans in Chicago, but also a surprise smash hit for the carnivores in life. Better yet, Bloom is one of Chicago’s only independent restaurants to have installed an ORCA Biodigester to sustainable rid the restaurant of food waste from forever filling a landfill. The biodigester breaks food waste down into a disposable liquid that is safely transferred into Chicago’s sanitary structures. Bloom literally stands for zero waste and is leading the charge in Chicago at complete sustainability to the food on the plate, and the food left on the plate.
35 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL 60523
Sourcing high quality ingredients from independent farms and small suppliers matters when it comes to sustainability. The Table at Crate in Oakbrook from Chef Bill Kim puts theory into action with how the restaurant sources their ingredients. The restaurant proudly supports local farmers like Three Sisters Garden and Mick Klug Farm, and they only use ABF chicken from Indiana, sustainable salmon and Publican Quality Breads. Literally the best of the best is served on the plate, whether that be Chef Bill specialities like his Korean BBQ Salmon or his Lemon Chicken with dairy-free mashed potatoes, chili asparagus and herb chimichurri. Change happens one bite at a time, and the next bite should come from The Table at Crate.
2012 Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60618
Irene’s is Chicago’s Finer Diner for a reason. Located in North Center, the restaurant proudly supports local suppliers and in-house productions to reduce carbon footprints and operate as sustainably as possible. Irene’s makes jams in-house from Midwest grown berries, bakes their own bagels and sourdough breads and serves up the healthiest kids menus available in Chicago’s Northside. Guests can also look forward to breakfast and lunch favorites seven days a week that utilize the highest quality ingredients — from Slagel Farm Eggs and Sir Kensington Ketchup to Jones Soda and Passion House Coffee Roasters served in Irene’s homey dining room. Breakfast and lunch simply taste better when diners know the food is sourced from cruelty-free suppliers and completely avoidant of bloated transnational emission busters.
Featured Image: Bloom on Facebook