To celebrate Earth Month, Byppo will continue raising awareness and encouraging action toward a healthier planet. In honor of Earth Day, we will explore local eateries that are going above and beyond to do good for our Earth. From sourcing sustainable ingredients to reducing energy usage, these spots are doing their part while serving tasty dishes with the faintest carbon footprints!
If you dine in at Cilantro Tacos, your delicious tacos will be served to you inside a signature paper boat, lined with wax paper. To minimize the use of plastic and styrofoam, the restaurant relies heavily on paper alternatives. The bowls and the takeout boxes they use are made of sugarcane, which is a highly renewable material that biodegrades quickly and its fibrous composition is greatly beneficial to the compost cycle. Co-owner Nataly Meth also expressed excitement about implementing a discount for customers that bring their own reusable cups to potentially eliminate the use of plastic cups altogether. From their flavorful food made with fresh ingredients to their recyclable and biodegradable packaging, Cilantro Tacos is committed to keeping our earth happy and healthy, regardless of the extra costs for a better experience.
“Everything has meaning and has heart to it. Everything has a purpose when it's in our store. People don’t always realize what you can give back to the community when you feed them. It’s not about the money for us, so if we can be a small part of a big picture, then we’ve succeeded.”
With a clear mission to spread love for health and sustainability through fresh food, Daily Green’s inclusive take on plant-based cuisine features colorful menu items that are flavorful beyond compare. Daily Green co-owner Eddie Cromer offers delicious, organic food that is seasonally sourced from local farms that accommodate vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets — even the average omnivore. Daily Green’s team aims to promote local sustainability and shrink their carbon footprint. Besides supporting local farms, they reduce waste with to-go ware and bags that are either recyclable or biodegradable.
“Every day I try to make up new things using things leftover and what we have fresh from farms. My philosophy for cooking is using what you got and making it taste good. There are very few places to eat where the people cooking care about the food and are using real ingredients instead of pre-packaged stuff.”
Gainesville’s newest — and hottest — addition is a new farm-to-table bar and grill located in Tioga Town Center. As warmer weather approaches, take advantage of their open dining concept that utilizes fresh air instead of stale air conditioning and enjoy an evening of over delectable, in-season dishes by Chef Brody Russell. Feel free to dine in to enjoy a high-quality meal from a locally sourced menu. However, if you can’t finish your food — which is doubtful — you can take it home guilt-free in one of their recyclable paper-to-go containers. This soon-to-be local favorite also strives to reduce food waste with a local composter that puts it to good use.
“I have a lot of love for lesser-used or underappreciated ingredients, whether it be an animal or a vegetable that most people will throw away or don't know what to do with. As long as it comes from around here, we want to show the community that we can take local and fresh to the next level because we’re cooking with whatever comes out of the ground that week.”
Vale Food Co.
Beyond its nutritious and innovative health bowls, Vale Food Co. is also known for its dedication to the Earth and daily efforts to be sustainable. After expanding the restaurant, founder Sonny Ilyas wanted the chain to live up to its earthly name, its eco-friendly brand and its distinct slogan: “Earth Matters.” Vale exclusively serves all-natural food without any artificial preservatives or harmful ingredients, supports local farmers, features tables made from reclaimed wood and uses biodegradable containers. Across its six locations in Florida, Vale offers a balance of high-quality, customizable bowls with several Earth-friendly practices, so its efforts toward sustainability make it worth checking out.
“I’ve always been more Earth-focused throughout my life, and I try to be as sustainable as possible. When I was looking through this list of words and got to the bottom, I saw that vale was an Old English word relating to the Earth, which is where our food comes from. We try to use sustainable materials in all of our restaurants because that’s what built our important brand around, so we want to bring that definition full circle.”
East End Eatery
East End Eatery is your new go-to source for a simply delicious brunch made with fresh, locally sourced produce from Rainbow Produce. Their longtime sustainable efforts include donating leftover grease to the city and they aim to create food made with in-season ingredients from Frog Song Organics to help reduce their carbon footprint and protect natural resources. East End Eatery owner Sandra Carlisi is especially dedicated to recycling anything she can and eliminating unnecessary waste, so additional items like plastic cutlery or a to-go bag won’t be provided unless it’s asked for.
“Nobody comes in first place if the planet is gone. I’ve always felt that this was important, just as a person on the planet trying to reduce their footprint as much as possible. I now have an 11-year old, and I would like to leave a planet in a better place or at least less polluted.”
When it comes to large-scale issues like global warming and climate change, there is no direct cure, but there is always a way to contribute to a more sustainable food system. Through a variety of conscious efforts, these featured local eateries are working to make positive impacts on the environment and set high standards for sustainable dining in Gainesville. Whether it’s serving farm-to-table food or switching to biodegradable packaging, these planet-friendly restaurants are paving the way for greener eating in Gainesville. Hopefully, now you’ll think twice next time you choose somewhere to eat — you could be helping the Earth without even knowing!