The top 5 restaurants leading the charge on sustainability in Toronto

Not only is it Waste Reduction Week, but with the threats of climate change looming in the not-too-distant future, more people have been talking about food waste and sustainability. 

Many Toronto chefs are turning to local and sustainable supplies to reduce waste and its impact on the environment. While we’re seeing changes in the elimination of plastic straws and single-use containers, these five restaurants are digging deeper and leading the charge on sustainability and eco-friendly dining.

 

Gladstone Hotel

 

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Toronto’s oldest operating hotel is a longstanding leader in sustainable hospitality. “We are Canada’s only B-Corp certified hotel and first in Ontario to commit to 100% renewable energy throughout our entire operation,” says Tara McCallum, Marketing and Communications Director. “Our menus are local, seasonal and inspired by Ontario’s growing seasons. Our in-room dry bars are also full of local treats and Ontario wine.”

The farm-to-table restaurant partners with 100km Foods Inc, Greenshift, and Bullfrog Energy. They also donate to FoodShare’s community programs that work closely with schools and communities to deliver healthy food and food education.

 

Earlscourt BBQ

 

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Located in Corso Italia, this southern-style BBQ joint is committed to decreasing their food imprint. “We have multiple green initiatives: compostable packaging, no straws, and we only generate one bag of landfill for every 500 meals,” says owner Jason Rees. 

The bar is stocked with local wines from Prince Edward County and local craft beers (with a few imports). 

 

Café Belong

 

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Situated at the Evergreen Brick Works, Canada’s first large community environmental hub, this restaurant is committed to playing a leading role in sustainable food practices. Chef and owner Brad Long’s menu changes seasonally. 

Most of what you’ll find at the restaurant comes from the Evergreen Brickworks farmers market and from suppliers who hold sustainable food farming certifications (e.g. Ocean Wise or Certified Organic). Cafe Belong is certified by Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Food (LEAF).

 

Paintbox Catering & Bistro

 

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This Regent Park bistro offers new and creative catering options including a Feast ON certified plant-based menu that’s always local and seasonal. They are one of the first certified B-Corp restaurants in Canada and 100% sustainable. 

They are partnered with Bullfrog Power, have an in-house organic garden, and are aiming to eliminate all non-disposable packaging by 2020. Through the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, Put your money where your mouth is, they are committed to creating a sustainable food economy.

 

The Goods

 

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A new addition to the Roncesvalles neighbourhood, this vegan restaurant has partnered with several community initiatives, including Roncy Reduces and @wisebird_canada and encourages customers to bring your own container (BYO). “We’ve seen a jump in BYO this summer,” says owner Lisa Lebute. 

“In January we started offering catering in a waste-free option. The waste-free catering is served family-style with big pots of soups, platters of salads and sandwiches and jugs of smoothies. We provide plates, bowls, glasses and utensils which we pickup afterwards” she says. She also works with 100km Foods Inc.

Toronto has an abundance of great restaurants and inspiring chefs who are passionate about making changes to the food industry’s waste problem. This list is only a small selection of the many restaurateurs who are creating change and improving sustainability in Toronto’s food industry.