When we moved away from Washington DC, I knew I’d miss two things above all others: excellent public transportation and amazing restaurants. I began my quest to find the best sustainable restaurants in Minneapolis – St. Paul. What did I learn? Although the public transit in the Twin Cities is comparatively lacking, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the restaurant scene and especially by the top-notch eateries dedicated to sustainable seafood.
What makes a restaurant sustainable?
It is important to make going green a lifestyle. But what makes a restaurant sustainable? Due to the higher costs involved in going fully organic, it is difficult for most restaurants to compete. But there are a lot of factors to consider, and it’s important to support restaurants that do even a few things to support our earth, animals, and the overall health of their consumers.
Before you dine, find out where they source their ingredients. What do they offer that is organic? Do they buy their produce, dairy and meat from nearby sources? Depending on where the restaurant is located, it may or may not be possible. Do they offer vegetarian options? Find out if the meat they source uses best practices regarding Animal Welfare Standards, including no cages/crates and no crowding; outdoor access; and being pasture centered. Learn if the restaurant sources their eggs from cage-free systems.
With these restaurants and others that are organic, buy local, support their community, work toward conserving energy and water, recycle and compost, and strive for sustainability, it is easy to make an earth-friendly choice.
What are the best sustainable restaurants in Minneapolis – St. Paul?
These are our top five sustainable restaurants to try in the Twin Cities.
Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market
289 East Fifth Street, St. Paul, MN 55101
My favorite Twin Cities dining experience happened at the chef’s table in Heartland’s St. Paul location. Locally sourced meats and vegetables, freshly baked on-site breads, and delectable desserts — all paired with delicious wines. Their nightly changing menu supports artisanal producers and small family farmers and sources organic and sustainable local ingredients. From their grass-fed roast beef to their many salads, Heartland Restaurant is a place you will want to return to again and again.
3311 East 25th Street, Minneapolis MN 55406
We absolutely love that this restaurant sources from over 40 local producers. Not only that, Birchwood Cafe actually lists all of these places on their website, with links to those farms, etc. when available. They list where they get each of their categories of food, including meat and fish; dairy; growers; beverages; and their distributors. They support local organic farms in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
Birchwood Cafe is where I go when I want a spicy black bean burger accented by fresh veggies and served with a cold Surly beer. They have excellent soups and desserts, too, and a dedication to sustainability.
Red Stag Supperclub
509 1st Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Specializing in organic and local foods, Reg Stag was the first LEED-CI certified restaurant in Minnesota and the first facility in the United States to use only LED lighting, which use 90% less electricity than their incandescent bulb competitors. They also compost and recycle.
I love the vibe at Red Stag. It is warm and traditional with a contemporary edge. Everything I’ve had there is fantastic. It’s one of my favorite places to meet for a business lunch.
We love their support of non-profit and community organizations that support hunger, education, social justice, arts, the environment, sustainability and more. When you are in the area, check out the Red Stag Supperclub.
4300 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406
I had the best rabbit of my life at The Craftsman on my birthday two years ago. Then a few weeks back, I tried their locally-sourced charcuterie plate and loved it, and I’m not a big meat eater. The Craftsman just feels classy, a throwback to another era. I’d recommend it for a full dinner or just wine and appetizers.
We love that their menu changes with what is in season, offering The Craftsman the opportunity to choose the best in organic produce, artisanal cheese from local co-ops and farms, and humanely raised poultry, seafood, and meat.
Brasa Premium Rotisserie
600 E. Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55414 and 777 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105
Brasa is the perfect place to go with friends who like to eat. Their sandwiches are fantastic, but I would recommend opting for a few sides and one or two meats. The slow roasted pork and braised beef are my favorites, but everything is fantastic and local.
Locally produced, natural and organic…. If you have a taste for flavors from southern US, Caribbean and Mexico, Brasa Premium Rotisserie is the place. Many of their ingredients are locally sourced. They offer 100% natural eggs, meat, and dairy products, and they offer many organic ingredients as well as offering fair trade coffee and tea. We love that they offer vegetarian and gluten free choices as well.
Why eat organic?
It is important to learn more about where your food comes from. The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic standards explain what it means for farms and ranches to qualify. (It is a long list of very strict guidelines.) Sustainable dining is so important for so many reasons.
As far as sustainable restaurants in Minneapolis – St. Paul, these are all excellent. Whether you live in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area, work there or are just visiting, it is worth your while to try one of these sustainable eateries. When you are looking for an amazing, sustainable food experience in the Twin Cities, you don’t have to look far. Remember when you eat out to try to patronize farm-to-table restaurants.