America’s Top 5 Eco-Friendly Restaurants

Serving a range of tantalizing dishes—from savory slow-roasted pork to sweet pumpkin souffle— these eateries are well worth the trip.

| January/February 2005

  • Auriga chef Doug Flicker has a passion for fresh food with a conscience.
  • For many years Auriga's parking lot was home to Minneapolis's only organic farmer's market.
  • What began as a six-course lunch offered by Ron Zimmerman and his wife, Carrie Van Dyck, at their nursery has become one of the Pacific Northwest’s most popular—and charming—restaurants, the Herbfarm.
    Photo by Chris Eden
  • The bright, warm flavors of pumpkin, orange, and thyme are both stimulating and comforting.
    Photo by John Granen
  • At the Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, chef-owner Frank Stitt lets the Alabama seasons direct the restaurant’s menu.
    Photo by Christopher Hirsheimer, used with permission from Artisan Books
  • Frank Stitt's Southern Table is full of delicious, regional recipes.
  • To make this lobster recipe, you'll need live Maine lobsters, wild mushrooms, waxy potatoes and a shallot.
  • Maine's natural bounty is at its best with Fore Street's sea-fresh lobster.
  • At Fore Street in Portland, Maine, chef Sam Hayward loves to use foods from—and support—local organic farms and sustainable fisheries and ranches.
    Photo by Russell French
  • The Kitchen’s tender Slow Roast Pork is served with buttery mashed potatoes or roasted carrots glazed with pork cooking juices.
    Photo by Povy Kendal Atchison
  • The Kitchen Café in Boulder, Colorado, runs on wind-powered electricity and recycles used cooking oil into biodiesel fuel.
  • Slow roasting keeps the fish moist in this mouthwatering Slow-Roasted Grouper with Root Vegetable, Walnut, and Parsley Salad. Frank Stitt’s Southern Table is full of delicious, eco-friendly regional recipes.
    Photo by Christopher Hirsheimer, used with permission from Artisan Books

One of the joys of travel is finding a restaurant that makes the most of a region’s unique culinary bounty. Serving a range of tantalizing dishes—from savory slow-roasted pork to sweet pumpkin souffle—these eateries are well worth the trip.

1. Fore Street 
288 Fore Street Portland, Maine (207) 775-2717

Even in the dead of winter, Fore Street chef Sam Hayward tracks down food from organic farms and sustainable fisheries and ranches. His Yankee ingenuity supports local farmers and provides diners with the highest quality foods such as salad greens and chervil grown in the snow. Hayward considers Fore Street’s pure, straightforward cuisine a “food narrative of New England.” Customers watch applewood-grilled meats, oven-roasted seafood, imaginative salads, and heirloom beans and root vegetables emerge from the open kitchen. “It’s a discourse about food, nutrition, and deliciousness,” he says.

A recipe from Fore Street's menu: Potted Lobsters with Wild Mushrooms 

2. Highlands Bar and Grill 
2011 11th Avenue South Birmingham, Alabama (205) 939-1400

Southern-style generosity has contributed to the success of Highlands Bar and Grill. Chef-owner Frank Stitt’s mother mortgaged her home to help launch the restaurant; in turn, he put up money for a former waiter to start an organic farm that now provides his produce. Stitt returned home after honing his craft in Europe and wanted to create a place that “weaves southern French sensibility with Southern ingredients.” Familiar stone-ground baked grits, cornbread, and country ham are paired with French sauces and braises. “I let the Alabama seasons direct the menu,” he says. He hopes the success of Highlands and his cookbook, Frank Stitt’s Southern Table (Artisan, 2004), will spark interest in Southern foods and locally grown ingredients.

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