Do you want to eat delicious food while reducing your carbon footprint? Look no further! These 4 restaurants in the East Bay focus on sustainability as much as they do great food.
1. Bobby G’s Pizzeria, Downtown Berkeley
The friendly staff, full bar, and live music make this a great place to go with friends or on a date. Their signature pizzas have only the freshest ingredients possible, including organic house-made pizza dough, Bobby G’s fresh organic tomato sauce, extra virgin olive oil, fresh whole milk mozzarella, and aged parmesan cheese.
Equally impressive is their environmental efforts. They work with the Bay Area Green Business Program to implement energy efficient appliances and lighting, water conservation techniques, and recycling.
Through their aggressive recycling efforts alone, their total waste production is less than that of a standard family household! That’s because they either compost or recycle over 90% of their waste.
As if that wasn’t reason enough to love them, they use LEDs or compact fluorescent lighting, use low-flow spigots, give takeout containers only when asked (which are all compostable), use recycled paper for all paper needs, and buy local to minimize packaging.
Bobby G’s commitment to being “greener every year” and its fresh, delicious food make it one of the best pizza spots around.
2. Vik's Chaat, West Berkeley
A respectable Indian market and restaurant in West Berkeley, you’ll find nothing here but the most authentic, flavorful dishes from different regions around India.
My favorite is the Dahi Papdi, a cooling snack of flat papdi, potatoes, garbanzo beans, and onions smothered in yogurt and chutneys. Everything on the menu is hot, quick, and filling.
As a certified green business, Vik’s uses only compostable utensils, plates, and cups. They have high-velocity air hand dryers, waterless urinals, low flow dual flush toilets, low water use landscaping, and efficient irrigation of the landscaped areas.
The building is a reuse of an existing industrial building, and the construction debris was processed through a recycling center. They use recycled gymnasium bleachers for all the wood wainscoting, cabinetry, and benches.
Their exterior storefront was made using sand, one of the world’s most abundant and renewable resources. They use energy efficient lights and natural gas fired furnaces for heating. Additionally, they have operable skylights for natural cooling so no air conditioner is used.
The list of sustainable features goes on. Go check this place out! And don't forget to order their delicious Mango Lassi - you'll need it to subdue that spicy burn.
Photo credit: Vik's Chaat Website
3. Victory Burger, Oakland
Not your average burger joint! They make all their mouth-watering food from scratch and buy everything local!
You’ll recognize many of their vendors, which include Acme Baking, Straus Family Creamery, Dirty Girl Produce, and Oaktown Spice Shop. Their beef comes from Five Dot Ranch, a Northern California ranch that is free range, antibiotic, and hormone free. They are non-GMO verified and California Green Business Program certified.
Additionally, they use 100% compostable packaging and constantly monitor and optimize their energy and water usage. Their waste stream is over 85% compost and recycling, contributing very little to landfills.
Their deep respect for the source of their ingredients and their globally-influenced menu (with lots of vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options) make Victory Burger a great option any day.
Photo credit: Victory Burger Facebook
4. Torpedo Sushi, Oakland
A new type of sushi is in town! The Torpedo, a handheld, uncut sushi roll bursting with fresh seafood and locally grown organic ingredients, eats more like a burrito than a traditional sushi roll.
I love this place because they emphasize their “soft spot” for protecting the environment while fighting sushi cravings. They proactively support responsible fishing practices, sourcing 80% of their fish from day boats off the northern California coast that follow the recommendations of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch List.
They also chose not to carry Bluefin tuna, which is notoriously unsustainable, replacing it with local albacore. As the first sushi bar in Oakland to prioritize sustainably sourced fish, Torpedo is setting an example for other local businesses.
Photo credit: Torpedo Sushi Facebook
Now that you’re an expert on sustainable restaurants in the East Bay, it’s time to put that knowledge to good use! Invite your friends, family, and hot dates to share the experience of eating fresh and delicious food while supporting a great cause.
Perhaps, you'll find yourself wanting to work in a sustainable eatery in Berkeley and Oakland in the future!