St. Augustine has no shortage of eco-friendly restaurants

Creative Juice Bar serves shrimp quesadillas made of fresh, local ingredients. The café is one of several St. Augustine restaurants making the move to sustainable, eco-friendly containers and compostable utensils.

By Hannah Duffey

A few familiar quotes that we have all heard since elementary school, “Go Green,” “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” “Join the Race to Make the World a Better Place.”

However, many fail to act upon the phrase, especially restaurants in Florida.

Do not lose hope, several restaurants in St. Augustine have made it a goal to break that stigma and do what they can to promote sustainability and become more environmentally sound.

Sprout Kitchen, Charlotte Street, has done an exceptional job acting on its philosophy to provide its customers with plant-based options that are good for the body, planet, and animals.

The restaurant has a set menu where all of its items are made from fresh ingredients that are in season. These options range from whole-food smoothies to cold-pressed juices, sprouted bowls, fresh salads, sprouted bagels, soups and wellness lattes for the coffee lovers.

“This past winter we had a carrot ginger soup that was popular,” Miranda, manager of the Sprout Kitchen.

The kitchen makes it a priority to use local farmers.

“We have a few different farmers that we have used in the past. Ben Wells was used pretty frequently and Sarasota Farms,” she said.

It’s not just the food that is clean, the business uses all recyclable containers and straws. All their packaging is made from wheat-straw fiber, to reduce the amount of waste in landfills and is more sustainable.

“We use agave natural straws, pre-recycled containers and all the containers we use are compostable,” Miranda said.

Sprout Kitchen is not the only restaurant around that is promoting health and sustainability in the community.

Creative Juices Natural Cafe, Anastasia Boulevard, ensures that its customers are being provided with fresh ingredients, while still being environmentally safe.

The local cafe has a wide range of healthy, nutritious foods and drinks that are all locally sourced. The movement of the cafe is to help nourish the bodies of the individuals in the community and give back to the environment.

“There is a set menu each year for the customers to choose from because it takes a lot of energy and time to form those menus and the customers know what they like,” owner Chris Faunce said.

The owners do everything to make sure all their items are high quality.

“We honestly produce what we enjoy to eat and want to share what we have learned and give the best that we can. If we don’t eat it, then we do not want to sell it,” Faunce said.

These items range from fresh-pressed juices to smoothies, wraps and burgers as well as gluten-free and vegan options.

For the most part, all the items are bought locally and in season, however, higher demand products, such as berries and pineapples, have a slower turn-around rate.

All local farmers are used through their supplier, Taylor Farms, and from time to time they go to the local farmers’ market to buy the produce that is used.

The goodness doesn’t stop there, the cafe has even started its own garden in the back of the restaurant this year, where they grow things such as parsley, sage, thyme, mint and basil.

Although the garden has not made it a full year yet, Faunce is confident that it will be successful and produce items that the customers will love and enjoy.

The efforts that the cafe makes are endless.

All their containers, cups and straws are eco-friendly and sustainable, which is something that they take pride in.

“We try to use all eco-friendly disposables, biodegradable cups and straws,” Faunce said.

Other local businesses are benefiting from the cafe’s efforts as well.

“We take our waste products to the local garden in Lincolnville,” Faunce said.

Faunce is continually making efforts to be as sustainable as possible.

The cafe uses a solar hot water system, however, in the near future they would like to make a better effort and use solar electricity.

“In the future, we will do solar electric in the back to run our juice machines off the solar energy hopefully,” Faunce said.

A fan favorite, Buena Onda, King Street, has joined the other locals in making efforts to be sustainable and provide the community with clean options.

All of their fresh food is served on real plates, cups and silverware to reduce the amount of waste that goes into the landfill.

“Our to-go utensils are also compostable, including the bag they come in, made from CPLA, a plant and chalk-based plastic formed with renewable sources,” said Amy Tarmey, owner of Buena Onda.

Buena Onda is community-based and they take pride in that.

They buy their produce from the local farmer, Ben Wells, and buy their free-range eggs from Wild Roots Ranch located in St. Johns County.

Once a month at West King Wednesday they partner with other businesses to sell local foods and help promote them.

“Businesses in the West King business district are open late, run specials, have local pop ups, music and more. For ‘West King Wednesday’ Buena Onda hosts a market in our parking lot, featuring local makers and small businesses selling everything from vintage goods, to art and jewelry, to baked goods and ceramics. Each ‘West King Wednesday’ Buena Onda donates a portion of our proceeds to schools, local charities, or other non-profit organizations,” Tarmey said.

Go green and help make the world more environmentally sound.

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