The Good Food 100 2017

Power in Numbers

By Amanda Faison

It’s been quite a year for the Good Food 100 Restaurants™. As we raise a glass to celebrate 2018 and look ahead to 2019, we want to thank the Good Food community. The mantra of food transparency across all types of businesses, from fast-casual and food service to fine dining, has become a rallying point. “There’s power in numbers,” says Sara Brito, cofounder and president of the nonprofit. “Similar to the value of an A.O.C., co-ops like Organic Valley, or Niman Ranch's network of more than 720 independent family farms, more restaurants than ever have realized that by joining together they can make a bigger impact.”

This year, the Good Food 100 experienced 40 percent growth (from 90 participants in 2017 to 125 in 2018), which represents an additional $56 million dollar impact on the Good Food economy. The organization also hosted six Eat. Drink. Think. events across the nation, including one in Denver, Colorado, where Governor Hickenlooper (and 2020 presidential hopeful) made a surprise appearance.

There is, of course, more work to be done: “In year three our goal is to get to 150 restaurants,” Brito says. With 1 million restaurants in the United States, according to the National Restaurant Association, 150 may seem miniscule, but when dedicated to a single mission, the small become mighty. “Chefs are the 'guardians of truth' in the food system,” Brito says. Each of the chefs and restaurants featured on the 2018 list is a powerful community influencer, so it's important to hear directly from them. Here, eight chefs on why they participate in the Good Food 100:

“It is important that like-minded restaurant groups come together to share best practices and display the power over good choice supply chain practices.” —Erik Oberoltzer, CEO, Tender Greens, California, Massachusetts, New York (6 links)

“Good Food is the first of its kind providing some transparency to restaurant concepts and missions. It is easy to buy local, it’s difficult to operate a business with goals to provide a better product by supporting sustainable practices while building or expanding local economies. Good Food is able to accurately recognize and promote those of us trying to make a difference through food.” —Josh Niernberg, chef-owner, Taco Party, Grand Junction, Colorado (5 links)

“We care about the long term effects that our choices have on the planet and the short term effect we can produce with the individual consumer by choosing sustainable products and ingredients.” —Norberto “Negro” Piattoni, chef, Metta, Brooklyn, New York (6 links)

“Good Food means business practices with our values of authenticity, benevolence, integrity, determination, and excellence. And making purchasing and human resources decisions based on the best possible outcomes.” —Camila Ramos, owner-operator, All Day, Miami, Florida (5 links)

“First, Do no harm. Feed the body and the soul with delicious, nutritious products that can only be produced through sustainable means.” Fiore Tedesco, chef, L’Oca d’Oro, Austin, Texas (5 links)

“Our roots are deeply embedded in the lush farmlands of Southwest Virginia. They are nourished by modern-day farmers who employ age-old techniques, hard-working heroes who nurture not only the people, but the land as well. We’ve gotten to know these local farmers and are better for it. They help us keep time with the rhythms of the seasons. Sun-ripened tomatoes in the summer, hearty root vegetables in the winter—we serve what is fresh and natural at the peak of its flavor. Our roots are fed by a philosophy we call S.O.L.E.: Sustainable, Organic, Local, Ethical. It’s a principle that guides us as we decide from whom to source our meats and vegetables. It also informs our beverage program. We prefer working with small wineries; for example, who care not only about flavor, but about their impact on the earth.” —Matthew Lintz, Local Roots, Roanoke, Virginia (6 links)

“Our company defines Good Food as being responsibly and sustainably sourced. It must be manufactured in a way that limits its impact on the world and is renewable for future use. We appreciate and hold accountable all our purveyors on a daily basis.” Renee Erickson, chef-owner, Bar Melusine, Seattle, Washington (6 links)

“Good food to me means complete transparency. Knowing that you are buying from quality people following moral and ethical business practices. I want my customers to feel confident that they are buying the best food available to them.” Luke VerHulst, executive chef, Reserve Wine & Food, Grand Rapids, Michigan (6 links)