Vegeteria is at the avant garde edge of the green cuisine movement. The Salt Lake restaurant, scheduled to open April 1, features green…everything–green plates, cups, tablecloths and waitstaff uniforms. “The idea behind Vegeteria,” said head chef Forrest Raynes, “is to create a footprint that you can eat.” Being a sustainable restaurant involves a lot more than just buying local food and recycling basic materials.
The menu changes daily since leftovers are reused to create nightly specials. “We have also moved closer to the start of the food chain by offering hay and sileage, thus bypassing the cow entirely!” Raynes said. For diners who still eat meat, Vegetaria features a meal of kosher ham served on a bed of freshly mown grass. Desserts include yummy candied brussel sprouts, and leading the drink menu is a refreshing wheatgrass daiquiri.
The coffee, of course, is all free-range. Cell phone numbers for bean pickers are available on request. Patrons can text photos to the field workers so they can enjoy seeing the rewards of their labor.
Chef Raynes takes water conservation seriously. “In order to eschew harsh cleaning chemicals, neighborhood dogs lick our plates clean.” To do away with paper waste, diners are encouraged to simply wipe their mouths with the back of their hand. “Most people do this at home anyway,” Raynes said.
Repurposed elements are part of the decor. Tables are constructed with produce boxes from the day’s deliveries. Diners can either sit on stacked tires, or pedal while eating, thus managing calories while generating energy for ambient lighting. Methane emitted by guests is collected and used to fire the stoves.
The restaurant flavors its dishes with PC correctness. “Women pay only 77 percent of the total bill,” Raynes said. Going green has never tasted so good.