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How restaurants celebrated Earth Month this year

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Earth Month and Earth Day both take place in April. / Photo: Shutterstock

Earth Month is coming to a wrap, and eco-minded restaurants used the opportunity to celebrate in various ways.

From offering deals and promotions to launching reusable container lines, here’s a look at how restaurants highlighted Earth Month this year.

Giving back to the environment

Next Level Burger teamed up with ocean cleanup group The Ocean Blue Project, and throughout Earth Month, the plant-based burger chain is donating $1 to Ocean Blue for every Organic Ocean Blue Banana Shake sold at  Next Level Burger’s 10 locations. The shake features housemade organic soy or coconut soft serve, topped with fresh bananas and spirulina, which gives the dessert a bright blue hue. The shake is then topped with vegan whipped cream and organic vegan gummy fish candies. Each dollar donated covers the removal of five pounds of plastic from the ocean, according to a press release.

Snooze A.M. Eatery is also giving its customers a chance to make a positive impact. The breakfast chain is planting one tree on behalf of each of loyalty program member who dined at one of its restaurants on Earth Day, April 22. In addition, Snooze is planting one tree for every one of its team members and donating $25,000 to the National Young Farmers Coalition.

Reusable packaging initiatives and special offers

Other restaurants turned to sustainable packaging. Bakery-cafe Paris Baguette and coffee brand Lavazza collaborated with artist Matt Chessco to develop a limited-edition reusable coffee cup. The cups were available early at Paris Baguette locations throughout North America on Earth Day and were sold for $12.95. In addition, the first 20 customers to purchase a reusable cup at each cafe were rewarded with a free cup of coffee, and loyalty members earned double points when they purchased the cup. The reusable cup will be sold at all Paris Baguette locations starting May 2023. The chain will also be making a donation to to The Canopy Project, an initiative of EarthDay.org. 

reusable cup

Paris Baguette teamed up with artist Matt Chessco to design a resuable cup. / Image courtesy of Paris Baguette

Just Salad celebrated Earth Day a day early with a promotion for customers who opt for reusable containers. On April 21, the chain offered salads for $8.99 when customers used a reusable bowl in store.

Plant-based concept Veggie Grill is promoting a buy one, get one offer all month when customers sign up for its loyalty program. The deal is valid until the end of April, and diners can choose from Veggie Grill’s starters and shareables.

Curating sustainable menus

Four Chicago-area chefs prepared sandwiches using lion’s mane mushrooms at their restaurants on Earth Day. One of the chefs, Darnell Reed of Luella’s Southern Kitchen, noted that the mushrooms were “meaty,” making them a good option for vegetarian and vegan entrees. The other participants were Brian Jupiter of Frontier Chicago, Greg Wade from Publican Quality Bread and Sarah Stegner from Prairie Grass Cafe.

Jupiter offered a fried mushroom sandwich, topped with tomatoes, fried kale and provolone, and served with chimichurri. Wade served up a sandwich on pizza bianca with seared lion’s mane, salsa matcha, pickled red onion, clothbound cheddar and arugula.

Lions Mane sandwich Crispy battered lion’s mane sandwich served at Prairie Grass Cafe. / Photo by Monica Kass Rogers

Flora Flora, a Latin-inspired restaurant in Washington, D.C., celebrated Earth Day teamed up with specialty farm and food hub Karma Farm, to curate a sustainable menu. The restaurant’s chef de cuisine, Samuel Santos, crafted a six-course, plant-based menu that highlighted sustainable farming by using seasonal produce provided by Karma Farm. 

The menu stayed true to the restaurant’s Peruvian and Mexican roots, featuring dishes like braised cabbage barbacoa and queso fresco asado. It also included a “sweet surprise ending” from the restaurant’s executive pastry chef. The menu was available for $95 per person, and customers could add wine parings for an additional $70 or non-alcoholic agua fresca pairings for $45.

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