Aug. 21, 2012
Because people are becoming more and more mindful of eating healthy food, organic/green restaurants are on the move. However it is not clear what the many times self declared status means.
According to under current National Organic Program (NOP) regulations, restaurants are generally not required to be certified organic. The site states that according to NOP policy, establishments that process or prepare raw and ready-to-eat food labeled organic on the establishment’s premises are exempt from certification. However, a restaurant may choose to become voluntarily certified organic. A restaurant can serve organic food, even if it’s not certified organic. But if it serves organic food, rules must still be followed.
An organic certifying agent, an individual or other entity accredited by the NOP, can certify producers and handlers of agricultural products and provide critical information to guide you through the process. A good website to refer to is USDA application for National Orgainc Program
Reza Anvarian, co-owner of Southpaw’s Organic Restaurants, presently has two Dallas locations which are so popular that they’re opening a third one by the end of the year. “Organic restaurants can’t say that they’re 100 percent organic, because one day you may be able to buy organic produce and the next day you can’t,” Anvarian explains. “We buy our deserts from Dallas’ Hail Mary, whose owners distribute vegan, gluten-free, fresh pure ingredient products, and our meat source is “Heart & Healthy” Boar’s Head, which contains no nitrates, no preservatives, and low sodium. “Organic produce comes from local and California sustained land farms, and our bread is baked daily from Signature Bakery containing no nitrates, no preservatives, and no dairy.”
Southpaws’s Organic Grill 3227 Mckinney Ave. Suite 100 Dallas, Texas 75204 214.754.0100
Southpaw’s Organic Café 6009 Berkshire Ln. Dallas, Texas 75225 214.987.0351
Bolsa Restaurant is another popular Dallas organic restaurant, owned by Chris Ziele. Ziele states that Bolsa is mostly organic, in that they buy seasonal produce from Dallas area farm-to-table farms. They serve grass-fed and grain finished beef and wild boar and antelope; their King and Sockeye Salmon come from Copper River in Alaska and the Grouper Fish come from the Gulf of Mexico. The poultry is pasture raised. “We have one restaurant location and a catering location with a storefront,” Ziele explains. ( Pizza Photo: Blog Houston Press)
Bolsa 614 W Davis St Dallas, TX 75208 (214) 367-9367
Green restaurants fall into another category, in that some are certified by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), www.dinegreen.com, which rewards existing restaurants and foodservice operations, new builds, and events by a point system.
Tracy Marks, Public Relations & Social Media of Sweet Tomatoes in Dallas, states that Sweet Tomatoes is a 2-star GRA certified restaurant. Marks advises that the cost of becoming and maintaining a GRA certified restaurant status depends on the number of restaurants involved. “The investment is substantial, but it’s worth it in the long run because with the improvements and changes that the GRA makes, you come out on top, not to mention what you’re doing for the environment.”
Sweet Tomatoes 5500 Greenville Ave Unit 1320 Dallas, TX 75206 (214) 369-2200
Sweet Tomatoes 15225 Montfort Dr. Dallas, TX 75248 (972) 385-7160
Sweet Tomatoes 2901 West 7th St Fort Worth, TX 76107(817) 348-8533
Angela Calabrese, Director of Marketing at State & Allen Restaurant and Lounge in Dallas, states that they were initially GRA certified, but the cost became too exorbitant, and they pulled out. “While we’re just doing the right thing, we’re not paying the fees,” Calabrese states. “During the time that we were GRA certified, we won the Mayor’s Excellence Award.”
State and Allen Lounge 2400 Allen St Dallas, TX 75204 (214) 239-1990
Some restaurants may be very green but not certified. Organic restaurants may or may may not live up to the advertising. So ultimitately it is the consumer who has to determine the validity of claims.