Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Green dining catches on in Dallas-Fort Worth area
Oddfellows, Spiral Diner, and Cafe Modern are among the spots committed to organic food.
In the past, those who stocked their kitchens with eco-friendly ingredients had to compromise when they dined out. However, more options are popping up all over the Metroplex for those who want eat “green.” The online resource Urban Spoon lists 33 dining establishments in Dallas-Fort Worth that use local and/or organic ingredients.
In addition, more counter-style restaurants, such as Zoe’s, Chipotle, and Twisted Root with multiple locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, are jumping on the sustainability bandwagon by offering recyclable or biodegradable containers and utensils in place of the hard-to-recycle styrofoam containers and plastic.
Gwin Grogan Grimes, a former Fort Worth Star-Telegram restaurant critic and owner of Artisan Baking Company, said North Texas is behind the West Coast and Austin when it comes to green dining trends, however the area is coming around.
“Slowly but surely it’s catching on in the Metroplex,” she said.
Going Organic, Buying Local
Many chefs seek local and organic produce to practice sustainability but also because they say it tastes better. While pesticide-free organic products have long been touted as being tastier, veggies and fruit grown locally is considered a notch above shipped-in produce because it can be allowed to ripen on the vine longer since it will shortly be in a buyer’s kitchen.
Oddfellows in Dallas, Texas Harvest Pie Company in Keller, and the Tumbleweed Tea Room in Justin are just a few examples of area restaurants committed to buying from local and organic farmers and producers.
Michelle Weech, spokesperson for Hardies, a Dallas-based wholesale produce company that provides vegetables, herbs and fruits for hundreds of restaurants, convenience stores and schools in the Metroplex, said at least half of their clientele request or inquire about local or organic produce.
She said a slightly higher cost does not deter clients from switching to local or organic.
“There’s tons of interest,” said Weech. “Consistent availability is the bigger issue.”
Grimes, who operates her Fort Worth bakery with her husband Mark, has been a big fan of using local and organic ingredients for her products since they opened the business in 2007. Organic flour, cage-free eggs and locally grown fruits and herbs go into their baked goods, which are wrapped in biodegradable bags.
“When we first started we wanted to do everything as natural as possible,” said Grimes. “We’re just old hippies.”
Here are some other Metroplex foodies who have helped spur the local sustainable dining movement:
McNutt has long been a proponent of using organic ingredients since she opened the first vegan restaurant in Fort Worth in 2002. McNutt and her husband James also strive to run their business sustainably using eco-friendly cleaning products, unbleached paper products and biodegradable take-out containers. “VegNews” called Spiral Diner the Best Vegetarian Restaurant in America.
Cynthia Chippindale, Potager Cafe, Arlington
The owner and chef at Potager Cafe in Arlington is a big advocate of the slow food movement and buys her all organic ingredients from local farmers and ranchers. Her approach has earned her small cafe near the University of Texas at Arlington campus a loyal following since opening in 2009. D Magazine voted it the Best Hippie Restaurant.
Chef Dena Peterson, Café Modern, Fort Worth
Chef Peterson is well-known in Cowtown for her on-site garden at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, where she grows fresh vegetables and herbs for her gourmet dishes at the Café Modern. She also picks up locally produced meats, cheeses and produce at the Cowtown Farmers Market. The freshness paid off when the Cafe Modern was voted a top restaurant in the U.S. by Gourmet Magazine.
Pegasus News Content partner - Green Source DFW