Happy Food Trumps Green Buildings

Tonight, Bill and I had dinner at The Green Well in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While it’s one of the places we have enjoyed in the past for the taste of the food, it’s lacking in my personal restaurant criteria since I saw the movie, “Food, Inc.” last summer (and started my blog). In other words, there was minimal evidence of happy food on the menu.

One item I was glad to see (although it only appeared once on the specials menu, even though goat cheese was offered on the dinner menu) was Dancing Goat Creamery cheese, which you’ll hear more about soon because I visited the cheesemaker, Barbara Jenness, last month. I love to see local products on the menu. I also noticed some cheese from Grassfields, a local farm that makes cheese from cow’s milk.

But when I asked our server about the sources for the meat at The Green Well, I was disappointed to learn the meat wasn’t grassfed, although it was fairly local.

I can’t emphasize enough to restaurateurs the importance of listing the sources of their food on the menu, especially when it’s local–such as Dancing Goat Creamery cheese–and grassfed. I know it’s tough to squeeze in all the details AND have a cool-looking menu, but this is critical information.

Because I wasn’t satisfied with the meat choices at The Green Well, I opted for the Butternut Squash Ravioli (quite delicious) from the Veggies and Grains.

I rounded out my meal with the Michigan Harvest Salad (also up to par).

As a meat eater, however, I would have loved to choose a plate from the meat menu but I didn’t feel I could count on the meat being from a happy food source.

One thing I definitely give The Green Well credit for is their commitment to environmentally-friendly and sustainable practices. In fact, it was their Caroma toilets that inspired Bill and me to purchase duel-flush toilets for our home!


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