America's Greenest Restaurants

Faced with a decision to go organic for $.99 more, shoppers are increasingly opting for the green upsell. But what if there was no upsell for a great meal and all diners had to do was filter out the eco-friendly restaurants from the unfriendly ones? That's where the Green Restaurant Association comes in.


With so many restaurants touting the soundness of their environmental impact, finding the truly green ones can be daunting. The Green Restaurant Association simplifies that task but also guides restaurants onto a more environmentally sustainable path.


According to Michael Oshman, Executive Director of the GRA, "What works is creating a system that restaurants can go through and setting up a maintenance system for them to follow after certification." In order for a restaurant to become certified by the GRA, its score must reach 100 points across specific environmental categories including water efficiency; waste reduction and recycling; sustainable food; energy; disposables; and chemical and pollution reduction.


Click here for America's Greenest Restaurants Slideshow.


The GRA has certified well over 200 dining establishments with 33 of them boasting three stars, which means they have received at least 175 points. While no place has yet been awarded four stars, the ultimate goal is a total of 300 points or more.


Diners can use the GRA site's dining guide to search for green-certified restaurants by cuisine, location and star rating. The guide even breaks down the rating into the points awarded for each category.


In the exclusive club of three-star restaurants the vast majority are privately owned and operated. Renowned Chef Mario Batali has four restaurants that made the cut, and two of Top Chef Master Rick Bayless' restaurants, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, are on the list as well.


Click here for America's Greenest Restaurants Slideshow.