GREEN RESTAURANT: New eatery serves up food with the environment in mind

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A new downtown restaurant is serving up dishes with the environment in mind.

Downtown diner Sue Jensen says she visits Big City Burgers and Greens at least once a week. She says, "We started coming for the salad." She goes on to say, "The burgers are fresh. The onion rings are great."

The restaurant opened for lunch in Capitol Square in December. Director of Operations Jeff Duncan says the eatery doesn't just serve fresh food. He says, "We're kind of going for the green aspect."

Duncan says the carpet is made from recycled materials. And, the food is local. He says they buy meats and produce from local farmers whenever possible. He says, "Our meat is a blend of local meats from the Midwest. It's 100 percent steroid free, antibiotic free."

But, he says their biggest green initiative is what they do with the leftovers. Big City Burgers and Greens is one of the first 100 percent composting restaurants in Iowa. Duncan says, "Everything in our restaurant goes into a recycled trash liner, so those can go in composting."

Duncan says everything from their food scraps to food containers is compostable. The restaurant is part of a program called Green RU Organic. Workers put all the waste in eight bins and a truck picks it up three times a week. The waste is then turned into fertilizer at a facility in Eddyville.

Duncan says non compostable products like tin cans and cardboard are recycled. He says, "We have a compactor out back, so we compact that and we try to recycle that." Duncan says it adds up to a zero waste facility.

Diners like Jensen seem to be eating it up. She says, "It's really good."

A spokesperson for Green RU Organic says the company is talking to schools, hospitals, colleges and even big community events about starting composting programs. Big City Burgers and Greens is only open for lunch Monday through Friday, but the restaurant also offers catering options.

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