Industry Market Trends

Sustainability Spotlight: City of Chicago Boasts Having the Greenest Restaurant in the Country

Dec 22, 2011

Whether planning the holiday office party or a festive luncheon with clients, choosing a restaurant certified by the Green Restaurant Association can help you keep in tune with your sustainability plan. Recently, Chicago's Uncommon Ground restaurant, located on W. Devon Ave., was awarded the association's title of most environmentally responsible eatery in the nation. Their second location in Lakeview was named to the number two spot.

Independently-owned and operated, Uncommon Ground has an impressive list of green features, including a rooftop deck made of recycled plastic and wood composite materials, solar thermal panels, energy efficient lighting, and locally made furniture. In addition, the restaurant produces no waste, recycles materials such as glass and metal, composts their food scraps, powers its vehicle with used fryer oil, and feeds customers with locally sourced, sustainably produced products.

One of their top successes, literally, is their Certified Organic Rooftop Farm, the first one of its kind in the nation. It supplies herbs, produce, and flowers, and is also home to four beehives.

"We are proud to raise the bar and now be the Greenest Restaurants in the country," says Helen Cameron from Uncommon Ground. "We truly care about operating a Certified Green Restaurant and we challenge restaurants around the U.S. to exceed our record of environmental accomplishments. As an industry we have the potential to make a huge difference in taking better care of our planet - and ourselves."

In existence for 20 years, Green Restaurant® 4.0 Standards provide method of rewarding restaurants with points in each of seven environmental categories, including energy use, sustainable food, water, waste, disposables, chemicals and green building. Restaurants go through a thorough process of certification to meet the Green Restaurant Association's environmental standards; they also audit each restaurant annually to verify that the restaurants' claims are accurate.

To locate green dining options in your area, visit