You may have read in the Huffington Post a few weeks ago about the newest trends in American bars, restaurants, and clubs; they are becoming greener. Thanks to website,  www.ecodrinking.com, anyone can hop on the web and search their nearby city for the most ethical way to go out and hit the town when it comes to sustainability, organic options, energy efficiency, and other green initiatives. To find the greenest bars and clubs across the country, the website uses numerous factors to establish whether or not the establishment is worthy of being deemed green.

EcoDrinking describes how there are no clear standards for an establishment to be green seeing that there are innumerable ways to make green initiatives (which is why businesses should begin to think greener!). However, it is easy to compare the establishments to each other by noting the number of green initiatives they are making. Some of the most common initiatives the establishments on EcoDrinking are making are: offering organic beverages, implementing recycling programs, adding more organic ingredients to dishes, using recycled materials, and using local ingredients. Thanks to the Huffington Post, you can check out the ” 9 “greenest” bars in U.S.

If you are looking for a good, and green, time on the west coast, you can check out Temple in San Francisco. Paul Hemming established Temple in response to his frustration with the “wasteful nature” his industry participates in. Temple has made major strides to green up their business. Some of green accomplishments include diverting 89% of their waste away from landfills! Even their kitchen grease is donated in order to create bio-diesel fuel preparation. They also have an eclectic array of artists who perform there allowing you to “stimulate your senses”.

Looking to hit the town in the Mid-West? Check out Uncommon Ground‘s two locations in Chicago’s Wrigleyville and Edgewater neighborhoods. The Edgewater location was just ranked by the Green Restaurant Association as a 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant. Uncommon Ground achieved this by using local foods, low-flow spray valves, and completing the décor with reclaimed wood. All employees wear organic cotton uniforms!

And for those of you looking to have a sustainable night out on the East Coast, look no further than Cambridge’s Bambara just across the Charles from Boston. Recycled cane fiber makes up their take-out containers and employees use washable mugs and glasses when taking quick water breaks. Styrofoam has no home at Bambara and recycled paper and soy ink are both used to create new menus whenever possible.

Having a sustainable and ethical evening is easier than you think and can be loads of fun! Next time you head out for dinner after a hard day’s work or want to catch up with old friends over drinks, head over to these establishments. Who doesn’t enjoy an ethically justified night out? By keeping these businesses prospering, we can further spread the message of sustainability to more business across the U.S.

-Derek Rogers

gf09se-header1Last weekend we traveled all the way over to the other side of the country to meet thousands of enthusiastic shoppers and activists at the 2nd annual Seattle Green Festival!  It was a crazy busy weekend and we had a ton of fun.  Seattle is an incredibly warm and supportive community and we applaud them for continuing their part of the effort to fight global warming, poverty and injustice in our world.

dscn32861The weekend was filled with excellent food (all vegan and organic of course!), inspiring speakers including journalist Amy Goodman and economist David Korten, great networking with other Green America approved social businesses and organizations, and tons and tons of awesome shopping!

dscn3288Here are some photos of our booth space (shared with our favorite brother company Fair Trade Sports) and the jam packed event to give you a little taste of what you missed.  If you’re in Chicago or Denver, heads up that Green Festival is on its way to you next month!  While we won’t be there this time, we hope you still check it out!

dscn3283 dscn3284 dscn32821

Since we were running around Chicago for the music festival, we decided to pop in and try as many vegan and vegan friendly restaurants we could find. This was not a hard task, as Chicago seems to be brimming with creative and delicious vegan spots including the Pick Me Up Cafe (great breakfasts), Amitabul (all vegan Korean!), and Handlebar (great drinks and late night snacks). But since this is our Restaurant Pick for Chicago we are going to have to choose the Chicago Diner as our highlight!

The Chicago Diner is any vegan’s dream who misses good old American style cooking! You can pretty much find every comfort food you had as a kid in vegan form. The restaurant is located in a nice neighborhood fairly close to the famous Linkin Park. It was easy to locate for a bunch of us out of towners and the staff was incredibly helpful and friendly! Although they are not 100% vegan, the menu is clearly marked and most dishes can be made vegan by talking to your waiter. Also, they provide a gluten free menu, for those who choose to avoid it or have an allergy.
Chikin & Steak with Rice

Their menu includes Daily Specials, Brunch (daily until 3:30pm), and the Standard Menu. Some of the favorite American dishes include Mac and Cheese, Shakes, BBQ “Bacon” Cheesburger, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, and Chikin Ranch Sandwich.
Chikin Cesaer Wrap with Mac & Cheese

During Brunch you will find other delicious American style plates such as Biscuits and Gravy, Eggz Florentine, and Eggz Benedict. Also, the Diner has awesome appetizers including Crab Cakes and Stuffed Potato Skins!
Vegan Breakfast

The vegan shakes, including Cookie Dough and Mint and the desserts, such as Strawberry Cheesecake and Banana Poppyseed Cake are AMAZING! As you can tell, their menu provides something for everyone and everyday there is a few different specials to choose from!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

They also will provide catering for special events such as weddings and provide recipes online. The Diner allows you to order cakes ahead of time and also has some cute Tees if you want to support them outside of eating their delectable dishes. So next time you are in Chicago or a local in need of some great comfort food, stop by the Chicago Diner and dive into some American grub!

The Chicago Diner is located at:
3411 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 935-6696

Feel free to share your favorite dishes or experiences at the Chicago Diner!

We just returned from Chicago and wanted to thank everyone who stopped by our booth at Lollapalooza! We had a great time and enjoyed the music and all the people we met. There was a great response to our products and to other Green and Fair Trade Vendors! We hope to be able to attend more events in the future like this, so keep a look out for us! We wanted to give a special thanks to Rob and Michelle at Bleeding Heart Bakery (the best vegan cupcakes), all their awesome staff, and all the other vendors at Green Street! We hope to see you next year! Here are some highlights of the weekend:

Anne, Gina, Amy, and Matt working the booth Anne, Gina, Amy, and Matt Working the Booth

Green Street Green Street

Anne watching Mates of State Anne watching Mates of State

Autonomie's Booth!Autonomie’s Booth!

Gina Listening to Iron and Wine Gina Listening to Iron and Wine

The End of Lolla!
The End of Lolla

As we mentioned earlier this summer, Autonomie Project has been chosen as a Green Vendor at this years Lollapalooza in Chicago August 1st-3rd! We will have a table set up on Green Street during the entire event.

We just wanted to remind you, if you are going to the concert this year to stop by our booth! Come by and check out our NEW Flip Flops and T Shirts, as well as our Ethletic Sneakers and Purses! Or just stop by to have a chat with us and find out where we are headed next!

So we hope to see you there this year, especially since Lollapalooza has made quite the Green initiative this year! We are off to pack our bags and see you soon Chicago!!!

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