Most of you know how seriously we take the environment as it relates to our food and our part in being a green restaurant in Cambridge. My partner, chef Peter McCarthy, has been blogging about our menu and sourcing. He has written about where and why we source our ingredients and how it positively impacts the environment. The “where” is local farms and purveyors and the “why” is because it tastes great and is environmentally-friendly.
Honoring our eco-friendly beliefs
When we built EVOO and Za in Kendall Square, we were the first LEED-certified restaurant in Massachusetts. We obtained Gold-level LEED certification by, among other things, using earth-friendly building materials and furnishings. Almost all the wood in our green restaurant–our floors, sliding doors, and the tables at Za are made from re-sourced materials. New trees were not cut down to make these items.
The EVOO tables are made from Paperstone, recycled paper held together with a non-petroleum resin, and bamboo, a naturally renewable resource. Our stone table, counters, and bar are made of schist, locally quarried in western, MA. To save on petroleum, we visited the quarry and picked out the stone that we liked and it was trucked 80 miles rather than being shipped across the country or the ocean. We also made the decision to not use tablecloths; tablecloths are washed using caustic chemicals, and we are proud for guests to see our awesome tables.
The next time you dine with us, ask our staff or managers about our build-out and furnishings. As a green restaurant, we’re proud to show them off!
Speaking of chemicals
Whenever possible, our cleaning chemicals are plant-based and non-caustic. We use a company called Clean Green Solutions. The chemicals are substantially more expensive than bleach and your traditional window cleaner, but we make this investment because we believe in doing our part to help take care of the planet.
When you see our staff cleaning windows or tables, you can feel comfortable that we are using the lowest-impact solutions we can find.
What’s in the box?
In addition to our furnishings and cleaning supplies, we also source renewable materials for our take-out boxes and utensils. The Za pizza boxes are made from corn silk, and in addition to being compostable, can withstand heat up to 400 degrees, so guests may reheat their pizza in the take-out box–but don’t forget to take off the lid before baking! Our “plastic” to-go utensils are not actually plastic; they are made from vegetable starch. Our straws are made from vegetable starch and are unwrapped–why cause unnecessary paper waste?
The City of Cambridge enacted a Bag Ordinance last year, requiring no plastic bags at all, recycled paper bags and containers, and a ten-cent charge for a handled to-go bag. Other than the bag charge fee, this required very little adjustment for us. We have always sourced eco-friendly take-out materials, even though this is more expensive than buying conventional straws and plastic to go bags, but these are our beliefs.
On your next takeout or delivery order from Za or EVOO, whether you get a delicious seasonal specialty pizza from Za or an eclectic, locally-sourced entrée from EVOO, we want you to know that our containers are eco-friendly and user-friendly.
The compostest with the mostest
Not many people get excited talking about waste, but what we DON’T just discard is truly important to us. We compost and recycle as much as we can to minimize our overall waste. When your table is bussed, the return is divided into compost, recycling, and trash. The compost is used by our farmers, among other applications. The recycled materials are, as you would expect, recycled again. Additionally, our waste cooking oil is picked up by Lifecycle Renewables that turns it into reusable biofuel.
Very little is wasted at EVOO, a Green Restaurant
One of the ways we treat your food with respect is that we use as much of an animal or vegetable as we can. We buy whole animals and vegetables from local farms, break them down and use it all, whether in a main dish, charcuterie, stock or sauce.
We commit to these practices because we believe in them. We are one of the most eco-friendly green restaurants in the Boston/Cambridge area. We hope that you visit EVOO and Za to enjoy our food, service, and ambiance–and we also hope that you agree with us about positively impacting our environment. We only have one.
Steve Kurland- General Manager