A tour of 10 venerable American restaurants (and a collection of their incredible recipes) that urge diners to eat responsibly and well.
Ask anyone in the Manchester, New Hampshire area where to find the freshest local grub, and he or she is likely to point you toward Cotton. Chef/owner Jeffrey Paige’s neighborhood eatery that promises “Food, cocktails and the potential for a really good time.” (Considering that the restaurant has been cited as having The Granite State’s Best Martinis eight years in a row, those latter two items are likely related.) “It really is a no brainer,” Paige notes of the decision to focus his menu on local and seasonal fare. In fact, Paige works with more than two dozen local food producers to create his award-winning menu, which keeps things comfortable with retro classics like meatloaf and all-you-can-eat mashed potatoes and of-the-moment with a cool watermelon gazpacho.
The Greenhouse Tavern
After logging hours in the kitchens of top restaurants from Miami to New York, chef/Cleveland native Jonathon Sawyer returned to his hometown with simplicity on his mind. So in 2009 he and his wife Amelia (author of the Chef’s Widow blog) opened The Greenhouse Tavern, Ohio’s first certified green restaurant. By letting the local lands be his guide, Sawyer has amassed a large menu of seasonal gastropub items, from chips and dip to foie gras with clams, and a huge following of hungry gastronomes, who flock to the Tavern for its four-courses for $44 tasting menu.
The Kitchen [Next Door]
Finally, a pub that makes you feel good about whiling away your day on a bar stool! As part of The Kitchen mini-chain (with three locations in Boulder and one in Denver), The Kitchen [Next Door] is helping to push the idea of “community through food” and saving the world, one pint at a time. This family-friendly pub doesn’t just wear their love of community on their menu—offering farm-to-table bar bites like housemade meatballs with polenta and grilled Colorado steak and a bevy of sustainable choices when it comes to the tipple, like a full list of Rocky Mountain craft beers and organic wines on tap, served up in reused wine bottles. The restaurant gives back to the community, too, with daily “Community Hour” deals on food and drink, plus $2 of every kid’s meal is donated to help plant gardens at local schools. Talk about dining for a cause!
—By Jennifer M. Wood, a food writer and travel blogger in New York City, N.Y.