It’s true for news, for clothing, for the water you drink and for the food you put on your plate: The source matters.
When you eat at home, you can control the source—whether by growing your own food or by checking labels and websites of the food you buy. You can choose produce from local growers (watch for “I’m local!” signs or stickers) or organic dairy or grass-fed beef or fair-trade coffee.
But when you go out to eat, all bets are off. You’re at the mercy of the establishment and the foods they opt to purchase.
Unless, that is, you visit a Good Food 100 restaurant. Some 125 restaurants throughout the country participate in this program—now in its second year—which encourages transparency and sustainability in restaurants’ purchasing decisions.
Here’s how it works: Restaurants apply annually to be on the Good Food 100 list. In the application, they report the sources of their purchases in the following categories:
Bread, Flour, Legumes and Grains: Produced using certified-organic and/or sustainable agricultural practices.
Dairy and Eggs: Raised without the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics or added hormones; no cages or confinement.
Fish and Seafood: Wild and sustainably farmed fish and seafood. This includes fish and seafood on Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch’s Green and Yellow lists.
Meat and Poultry: Raised without the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics or added hormones; no cages or confinement.
Fruits and Vegetables: Certified-organic and/or sustainable agricultural practices.
All Other (for example: oils, condiments, spices): Produced using certified-organic and/or sustainable agricultural practices.
Restaurants then receive a ranking of anywhere from two to six links, based on their percentage of “good food” purchases, compared with other restaurants of the same type (such as fine dining or fast casual) in the same region.
The current list includes restaurants from 23 U.S. states, with Colorado and California leading the way (they have 44 and 16, respectively). Before your next restaurant outing, check out the full list at goodfood100restaurants.org.