Asheville's restaurants regularly cause a national stir: this month, they're making it clear that they're the greenest ones around. Asheville is officially America's first Green Dining Destination.
Two years ago, a group of local restaurants came together through Asheville Independent Restaurants to pursue the certification, which is awarded by the Green Restaurant Association, a nonprofit based out of Boston.
“The restaurants actually worked together, and that usually doesn't happen in any other community because we're all in competition with each other,” says Peter Pollay, vice president-elect of AIR and owner of Posana Café.
To garner the accolade, 16 restaurants made improvements to their facilities in categories such as water efficiency, sustainable food and energy. Among other projects, each restaurant phased out polystyrene foam and created a full-scale recycling program.
The certified restaurants are The French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Laughing Seed Café, Plant, Posana Café, Strada Italiano, The Green Sage, Tupelo Honey Café, Cedric's Tavern on the Biltmore Estate, HomeGrown, Luella's Bar-B-Que, Neo Cantina, Rosetta's Kitchen, The Corner Kitchen, The Green Sage South, Tupelo Honey Café South and Bouchon.
But these restaurants aren’t the only ones working to reduce their environmental impact. William Dissen of The Market Place recently brought composting to “Rat Alley,” the space between the buildings on Wall Street, Patton Avenue and College Street. The project took three years to complete, Dissen says, but thanks to Danny Keaton of Danny's Dumpster, The Market Place and its neighbors will keep their food waste out of landfills.