In order to be inducted into the Green Restaurant Association, which supports environmentally minded efforts, restaurants must first make the grade. In order to earn the “green” label, the establishment must first meet – then maintain – stringent guidelines for water efficiency, recycling, sustainable foods, building materials and furnishings, energy use, waste reduction, pollution reduction and more. Certifications are tailored to restaurant type, which include new builds, existing restaurants that “go green” and restaurant events, including these three Philadelphia-area eateries.
The Night Kitchen Bakery And Cafe
7725 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Located in Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood, The Night Kitchen Bakery and Café is a three-star certified green restaurant that has been serving up breads, designer cakes and other baked goods for the past three decades. Originally a dedicated bakery, the newly expanded venue now includes a café, open seven days a week, that serves breakfast, lunch and brunch, including artisan pizzas and specialty drinks. If you happen to be strolling down Germantown Avenue and peek in as you pass by the restaurant’s large window, you’ll see the Night Kitchen staff hard at work, crafting and decorating their baked goods.
In addition to the monetary support the restaurant provides to environmental organizations, this venue strives for sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint in the following ways:
- Installation of hardwood flooring certified by the Forest Stewardship Council
- Painting with no-VOC paints
- Sourcing local ingredients through a farm co-op
- Growing its own herbs and vegetables as well as using water collected by rain barrel to water vegetable garden and flower beds
- Composting through PhillyCompost.com
- Eliminating all styrofoam and plastic takeout bags
- Using only recycled paper products
- Installation of low-flow faucet valves for water conservation
- Implementation of a full-scale recycling program
The Terrace at Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348
A favorite Philadelphia-area attraction, located in Kennett Square, Longwood Gardens is an arboretum and botanical garden that encompasses over 1,000 acres with 11,000 different types of plants and horticulture. For the dining enjoyment of the thousands who visit the gardens and attend the year-round events and special attractions, including the family favorite of A Longwood Christmas, The Terrace at Longwood Gardens provides a myriad of dining experiences from fine dining to picnic fare.
With its three-star certification as a green restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association, The Terrace at Longwood Gardens embraces green principles and practices in the following ways.
- Being a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture, Longwood grows herbs, vegetables and fruits for use in the 1906 Fine Dining Room in combination with compostable dishes, even the water bottles sold at Longwood are crafted from compostable materials rather than plastic
- Longwood collaborates with – and supports – local farmers to provide guests with fresh, seasonal foods, resulting in a reduction of emissions from transporting, refrigerating and packing foods that would otherwise be shipped in
- Use of energy-efficient lighting
- Incorporation of sustainable wall coverings and eco-friendly flooring and furniture – which is covered in “green’ upholstery
- Recycles all water used at the facility through its effluent irrigation system
Tex Mex Connection
201 E. Walnut St.
North Wales, PA 19454
Tex Mex Connection is a three-star certified green restaurant that has been serving the Philadelphia-area suburb of North Wales for almost 30 years. With gluten-free and vegetarian menu options balancing traditional Tex-Mex menu favorites, this venue is well known for its authentic Mexican food and house margaritas. Easily accessed by public transportation – only three blocks from the Lansdale/Doylestown line and Septa 96 bus across the street – there is no need to take the car out of the garage.
In addition to supporting the community through donations to local charities each year, including a 5k run, a decades-old annual tradition that benefits the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, Tex Mex Connection has implemented numerous measures to protect the environment, including:
- 20 years of full-scale recycling
- Local and sustainable food sourcing
- Sustainable equipment conversion
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Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.