Last night I went with a friend to try some new vegetarian fare. It was okay, but lacked lustre. Why is it so difficult to find decent local, organic grub?
Actually, we found that it’s not as difficult as it may seem. We found it so easy, in fact, that after some deliberation, we have decided to change the name of YERT from “Your Environmental Road Trip” to “Your Everyday Restaurant Tour.” Each day, we will bring you the latest reviews of mom n’ pop diners and Ruby Tuesday’s chain restaurants from interstate exits from across the nation. Well, not exactly, but with all the experience we have from the hundreds of restaurants we’ve dined in throughout the year, we probably could!
One restaurant really stood out as a champion of local, fair-trade, eco-friendly, and downright delicious food- and we almost didn’t go. We’ve heard the hype before (“You’ve got to go to such-n-such restaurant”) and have been impressed, but never so much as at Common Roots Cafe in downtown Minneapolis. Thankfully, Rebecca Lundberg and her daughters insisted that we go, and treated us to a meal.
When we walked in, we expected a quick meal before darting off to other engagements, but we were so impressed by the end that we chatted with owner Danny Schwartzman. This restaurant is truly leading the way for all restaurants striving to be all. At any given time, the food- from the flour to the vegetables to the cheese to the honey-is at least 50% local, and the combination of local, organic, and/or fair trade ingredients hits a soaring 89%. The tables are made from recycled barn doors, and the counters from pressed sawdust. The coffee is fair trade, and the wine and beer locally sourced. The restaurant itself is a haven for knitting groups and green drinks meetups from around the city. The freshly made pasta is superb. So good, in fact, that we went back the very next night. We highly recommend Common Roots if you are ever in the Twin Cities area.
Other Favorite Green/Local/Organic restaurants:
Galactic Pizza, Minneapolis, MN
Many of the ingredients for the pizzas at Galactic Pizza are locally sourced, some of the profits go to charity, and if you order from home, your pizza will arrive in an electric vehicle in the hands of a delivery person dressed as a superhero. Metallic tights and organic cilantro anyone?
Local Burger, Lawrence, KS
Fresh, organic, and local fast food. Their grass-fed elk burger (you read that right!) and homemade veggie burger pose a big threat to our national icon, the Big Mac.
Ivy Inn Restuarant, Charlottesville, VA
The Ivy Inn does an incredible job of weaving local ingredients into its menu, including naturally raised pork from the nearby Polyface Farms (another YERT favorite!).