7 Cool, Local Restaurants Where You Can Get a Meal You Can Feel Good About

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These local restaurants are where you can eat your food with a good conscience.

If you’re going to vote with your fork, you might as well enjoy the process. With the growth of the sustainable food movement has come an influx of restaurants that are not only focused on taste, but where their food comes from. From vegan restaurants to spots with their own rooftop gardens, here are 7 local restaurants around the country where you can be sure to get a meal that you will feel good about eating.

1. Homestead – Chicago, Illinois

With a 1,000 square foot rooftop garden that produces more than 130 herbs and vegetables, at Homestead you literally have farm-to-table dining. Housed on the rooftop, you have to go through a pizza joint to get here, but once you do, you can snag a spot on the deck next to the living wall and order a craft cocktail or beer.

2. Greens Restaurant – San Francisco, California

Opened in 1979, Greens has been serving up vegetarian fare since before most people knew what fine vegetarian cooking consisted of. Annie Sommerville has been the executive chef here since 1985, and with so many years under her belt, she has become well respected in the world of San Francisco restaurants, but also vegetarian cuisine in general. She works closely with local organic farmers and producers, putting a focus on ingredients that come from the region.

3. Vedge – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If you’re a vegan, at most restaurants you’re limited to very few options. Not at Vedge, one of the most notable plant-based restaurants in the country. Here you’ll find a kitchen that uses locally sourced ingredients and no animal products whatsoever. But that doesn’t mean it’s just for vegans: this is conscious eating for every type of foodie, which is a good thing, since we could all do with a little less meat intake.

4. SAME Cafe – Denver, Colorado

SAME, which is an acronym for So All May Eat, is a local restaurant that functions differently. You pay what you can at this mostly local, organic eatery, and if you can’t afford anything at all, you can volunteer in the kitchen for an hour in exchange for a meal.

5. Akasha – Los Angeles, California

Akasha is a restaurant where carnivores and herbivores come together. There’s a big focus on sustainability here, sourcing from small family farms, organic growers, sustainable and Fair Trade companies. It’s your standard California, healthy, fresh cuisine, complete with sangria and mimosas for Sunday brunch.

6. Rosemary’s – New York City, New York

New York is known for its Italian food, but what’s better than Italian food from a rooftop garden? That’s exactly what you’ll get at Rosemary’s, where the chef Wade Moises came from a previous stint at Eataly, and there is a 1,000 square-foot rooftop garden. Now, of course, those olives didn’t come from up there, but plenty of the herbs and vegetables that make their way into the menu do, and that alone is worth a trip.

7. Haven – Houston, Texas

Houston may get a bad rap from some people, but those people probably never went to Haven, a restaurant that’s focused on locally sourced ingredients. Not only that, but they compost their kitchen scraps, there’s an organic garden and a bee hive on site, and there are even organic Texas wines on the menu.

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Image: Ralph Daily

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.