I won’t lie, it’s not hard to find great sustainable, organic food in Seattle. The place is a foodie’s dream, and the city has completely adopted the eco-conscious food movement. You can find everything from vegan pizza, to restaurants that swear by only using organic ingredients.
In searching for a really standout sustainable business to highlight I looked far and wide for something special. What I found in Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop wasn’t only a restaurant that was sustainable from floor to ceiling to plate, but one that also embodied a new ethos in supporting sustainable food that I had to share: Bringing sustainable to the normal everyday fare we all love.
Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop has three locations in Seattle, in Fremont, Queen Anne, and Capitol Hill. The shop serves sandwiches made from sustainable, locally sourced ingredients. The chefs and owners are conscious of the source of every single ingredient and its impact, often debating between the individual merits of organic vs. local vs. sustainable. When I read that, I was impressed; it’s easy for restaurants to greenwash their menus by claiming local or organic ingredients. It’s much more impressive for a restaurant to acknowledge the complicated issue of sustainability, rather than simply slapping a label on their food in order to attract more customers.
But the food isn’t the only focus. Everything you are served in their restaurant is either compostable, recyclable, or reusable. You won’t leave Homegrown with any of those annoying plastic take out containers that have to be thrown away. The restaurant also pays attention to where they get the chairs and building materials that make up the restaurant itself. In addition, Homegrown’s website maintains a blog about sustainable food issues.
Homegrown strives for sustainability as a local business through the green materials we print and serve on, to our rejection of bottled water, to our 100% compostable and recyclable product.
Homegrown serves a variety of sandwiches, offering a staple menu and one with seasonal ingredients. Most are sandwiches you know and love, with a bit of flair. Take the Reuben for example, with pastrami and red wine sauerkraut on toasted onion rye bread. Others are a bit more exotic, like crab cake, bacon, and avocado on a toasted sesame roll. The restaurant also serves fresh salad, soup, and homemade coleslaw. You can stop in late on Friday and Saturday night for indulgent snacks, like catfish hushpuppies and fennel and herb dusted french fries.
The Minds Behind It
The brains behind this sustainable sandwich shop are incredibly young, and should it be any surprise? The place embodies a new strain of environmentalism, one that doesn’t pit great design against sustainable food. The 23 year old co-owners, Ben Friedman and Brad Gillis, have backgrounds in environmental science, advertising and branding. The two claim to be sandwich environmentalists, “someone who puts a little more thought into creating sandwiches.”
Why It’s Special
So why isn’t Homegrown just another eco-conscious Seattle eatery? Homegrown is essentially your regular, tasty sandwich place, but with a sustainable mission. This is huge, because it sets an example that restaurants don’t have to be defined by their sustainable behavior. Rather, sustainability is just another part of running a great restaurant, similar to having a good chef and fresh ingredients.
Only when sustainable food sourcing is accepted by the mainstream as a normal part of running a great restaurant will it really achieve a lasting societal impact. Homegrown proves that a restaurant doesn’t have to be weird, preachy, or even vegetarian to make a difference. It simply serves delicious, seasonal sandwiches (and home-cooked potato chips!) with just “a little more thought.”
Joy Paley is a culture, technology, and science writer from Berkeley, CA. She is also a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on earning your online nursing degree for the Guide to Health Education.
No surprise that Global Patriot is happy to support sustainable restaurants!