Eat up, save the planet

By Ashley Cook
November 15, 2007


Eco-friendly restaurants are sprouting up across the country with owners committing to reducing energy and water use. The move to “go green” is a good marketing strategy and one that saves companies a lot of money.

Ted’s Montana Grill and The White Dog Café are just two examples of restaurants in the Philadelphia area that have already jumped on the bandwagon to participate in this good cause.

“Every small step leads to another small step and together, these can make a big move forward in this area,” Barbara Szopa, marketing manager of Ted’s Montana Grill said. “We all just need to do our part.”

According to, the demand for organic food is growing 25 percent per year. Also, nationwide the restaurant industry consumes 1/3 of all retail electricity use.

The White Dog Café’s four-fold mission is based on serving not only the customers and community but to make sure they contribute to serving the environment. The White Dog Community Enterprises mission is to cultivate a Philadelphia regional economy that is environmentally healthy and to help create, strengthen and connect locally owned businesses and farms to provide essential human needs to our region.

This organization uses Fair Food Farmstand, an organization that carries a variety of organic and specialty fruits and vegetables and raw milk cheeses.

White Dog also has a recycling/reuse policy, a carbon offset project and a reduce their energy use policy. One hundred percent of their energy is generated from wind power and use Black Cat products made from recycled materials.

They encourage their employees to join the “green team” which is an employee organized and run group working to serve the earth.

Some greening tips are to use less water and energy, reduce waste, use safer cleaners, buy local organic food and find green products.

Low flow faucets and sprayers are great for reducing the cost of water consumption. Light sensitive dimmers will automatically dim when outside natural light is strong enough.

The motto these restaurants are living by: “shut it off, turn it down and keep it clean.”

Szopa said with a goal to be 99 percent plastic-free, Ted’s Montana Grill has a deep commitment to the environment. Menu’s are printed on 100 percent recycled paper, cups are made of cornstarch that bio-degrades in landfills and all of their to-go ware is made of aluminum for recycling. Working with Energy Services division and One World Sustainable Inc., they have installed 66 solar panels on the top of their restaurant. One policy they strongly support is no smoking.

“Green Tags” are used to help bring more renewable energy to the marketplace. These tags are used to give restaurants electricity that comes from renewables.

White Dog Café is located at 3420 Sansom Street and Ted’s Montana Grill is located at 260 S. Board St.

“We hope to lead by example so that other restaurants see how this can work and implement their own sustainable practices,” Szopa said.

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Ashley Cook

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