If there’s an upside to fossil fuel flunkies and climate change deniers controlling environmental policy, it’s that a larger swath of people have begun to take responsibility for the size of their carbon footprints. These Brooklyn restaurants are doing their part to aid in ecologically sound eating: from Bun-Ker and its house-grown mushrooms (produced on hydroponic mini-farms), to 21 Greenpoint’s waste-free Sunday suppers, and Little Cupcake Bakeshop’s vegan sweets and committedly green interiors, these eight green-minded eateries deserve your Earth Day love.
Little Cupcake Bakeshop: Blasting the assumption that being a conscious culinary consumer means subsisting on greens and beans, this indulgent sweet shop assures you can have your cupcakes and eat them too—thanks to energy efficient practices, salvaged interiors, toxic-free cleaning solutions, biodegradable packaging materials and local farm-sourced ingredients, in addition to a new roster of vegan and gluten-free treats, including red velvet, peanut butter/banana, and cookies and cream cupcakes, as well as blueberry oat and raspberry almond bars.
9102 3rd Ave., Bay Ridge; (718) 680-4465
Habana Outpost: As if offering bicycle-blended margaritas and a prime outdoor patio wasn’t enough, Habana provides free, hands-on programs celebrating urban environmentalism, and engages in numerous green initiatives: installing solar panels and a sunlight-fueled chandelier, using rainwater to hydrate plans and flush toilets, utilizing wheat walls, corn cups, and potato starch cutlery, and making deliveries via a gas-powered Lincoln that runs on the restaurant’s discarded oil.
757 Fulton St., Fort Greene; (718) 858-9500
Bareburger: A rare bird amongst fast food joints, Bareburger is fanatical about the sustainable provenance of their ingredients. They serve grass-fed, pasture-raised meats (including bison, elk, boar, and nitrate-free duck bacon), organic Goffle Road Farms chicken, grape leaf-preserved pickles, non-homogenized milk, certified humane eggs, fair trade sodas, vegan protein alternatives, and collard wraps in lieu of buns. They’re even one of a select few purveyors to carry the Impossible Burger, a plant-based patty that uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions than one made from cows.
(Locations in Cobble Hill and Park Slope)
Bun-Ker: Not only do they eschew MSG and use local veggies and heritage meats, but next door neighbor, SmallHold, has supplied Bun-Ker with two of their very first Minifarms. The Viet eatery uses them to grow mushrooms for vegan summer rolls, vegan pho, and meat-free banh mi, producing 40 times the output per square foot of a traditional farm, with 96% less water usage.
99 Scott Ave., Bushwick; (718) 386-4282
21 Greenpoint: While reducing waste is the driving force behind each and every menu, a special Sunday Supper is entirely dedicated to discarded foods—think a $21, 5-course feast based on whatever they happen to still have on hand that week—from an East Asian hot pot with halibut collar, to bruised, baked apples topped with honeyed ricotta, to biscuits slathered with mozzarella butter and eggplant mash (formed from the tops and bottoms of the veggie, that had been hacked away to formed perfectly shaped fries).
21 Greenpoint Ave., Greenpoint; (718) 383-8833
Modern Love Brooklyn: Why resign yourself to kale salads and lentil burgers served in quick and casual cafes, when you can sup in style at this honest-to-goodness special occasion place for vegans? It specializes in black eyed pea and zucchini “crabcakes,” surf and turf with New England “glam” chowder and herb-grilled seitan, and hen of the woods piccata that features lemon and caper-sauced maitakes.
317 Union Ave., Williamsburg; (929) 298-0626
Faun: Faun’s most local produce supplier is its own garden (which provides a natural habitat for butterflies and bees, and benefits from composted kitchen scraps), yet that’s hardly the restaurant’s most eco-conscious maneuver. Reclaimed interiors include gumwood floors and a Sycamore bar, made from a Hurricane Sandy-felled tree, a Mayim water filtration and carbonation system that eliminates the costs of shipping and the discarding of empty bottles, and a 100% natural wine list that supports small, independent growers who forgo chemicals and minimize their impact on the Earth.
606 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights; (718) 576-6120
Toad Style: Bed Stuy’s quirky, 100% vegan wonderland is also soy free, palm oil free, largely gluten free (except for locally-sourced bread) and non GMO, while somehow managing to avoid seeming especially wholesome, thanks to housemade cashew cheese fries, BBQ pulled jackfruit with grilled cabbage slaw, and battered cauliflower dipped in sweet chili mustard.
93 Ralph Ave., Bed-Stuy (347) 789-1589