Not only was a Chicago restaurant just named the greenest eatery in the United States, but its second Chicago location managed to snag the number two spot in the Green Restaurant Association's review of hundreds of certified members.
Uncommon Ground on Devon earned top marks in all seven categories: energy, food, water, waste, disposables, building and pollution production, the GRA reports, netting a total of 365 points. The 20-year-old dining destination has long been recognized for groundbreaking advances in sustainable business operation, including using solar panels and use of old fryer oil as fuel. The restaurant was also the first in the country to build an organic rooftop farm, a trend that has spread wildly among eco- and ingredient-conscious chefs and operators. The 640-square-foot farm space produced over 700 pounds of produce this year, according to ABC 7.
"I'm proud to have in our City of Chicago the Greenest Restaurant in the Country," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said in a statement. "Uncommon Ground is a great example of what our city can do and what our country can do, use water and energy more efficiently, grow more sustainable food, while boasting the world's most sustainable businesses."
Owned by Michael and Helen Cameron, the restaurant's two locations have won a host of recognitions, including "Best New Restaurant" by Chicago magazine in 2008 for the Devon location, Mayor's Landscape Award wins in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and the prestigious USGBC Environ-motion Award in 2009. The owners say they're pleased to add the GRA award to that list.
"We are proud to raise the bar and now be the Greenest Restaurants in the country," Helen Cameron said in a statement. "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."