Seattle Restaurants That Source Ethically

by Patricia Eddy on August 8, 2009

As you probably know, we’ve been working on a list of Seattle area restaurants that source their meat from ethical and humane sources. Well, we’ve finally contacted enough restaurants that we’re willing to publish the list.

Seattle Restaurants with Ethical/Sustainable Sourcing

A few disclaimers/bits of information about this list.

1. This is NOT a complete list. We contacted the restaurants we frequent first. Not all of them responded to our queries. Of those that responded, not all of them were CAFO free. Some of them declined to state whether they were CAFO free or not.

2. We did not contact vegetairan or vegan restaurants.

3. We verified sourcing to the best of their abilities. Some of the restaurants list the meat source on every menu item, others do not. Some have nine out of ten items on their menu sustainable and one that is not. We’ve tried to provide as much information as we can in the notes so you can make your own judgement.

4. We have relied on emails and Twitter conversations with restaurant owners and chefs, along with menus for our information. If you believe any of the information is in error, please let us know and we will investigate ASAP.

5. Much of the seafood information is still incomplete. About halfway through this effort, we realized how important it would be to include restaurants that served sustainable seafood as well. However, that means we need to contact many of the restaurants a second time.

6. If you are a local restaurant owner or local chef, and you source all or some of your meat and fish from sustainable and ethical sources, please let us know. We would love to add you to our list.

Edited to add: When researching specific suppliers, we made judgement calls in the cases of suppliers who were not exclusively pastured/wild/foraged. We were not looking for purely pastured/wild/foraged animals, but animals with space to roam, who were fed without hormones, and who were kept in as natural of a habitat as possible. For example, one meat supplier pastures their beef for 14 months, and then transfers them to a finishing facility. However, the finishing facility is not highly concentrated, the animals are still on pasture, but they are fed a grain and alfalfa mix (without hormones and antibiotics). Is this ideal? No. We would prefer that the cows were exclusively pasture fed. However, this is significantly better than the vast majority of the beef on the market today, so we have chosen to include them in our list.

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{ 3 comments }

anon August 9, 2009 at 1:22 am

My general sense is that if you call up a bunch of restauranteurs in this awful economy and ask them questions about what they are selling, they are going to say whatever they think you want to hear. If you are going to publish this list, I hope you do some followup and investigate the truthfulness of their claims. Otherwise you penalize the honest and reward those who reflexively tell you what you want to hear.

For example, do the restaurants listed eschew pork from Snake River Farms? SRF buys from producers, some of whom use confinement and antibiotics. Not only is this common knowledge in the industry – but the fact that SRF doesn’t brag about buying from those who don’t use confinement and don’t use antibiotics tells you that they buy some from producers who do, or at least reserve the option to do so when it suits them. The same is true of any processor (e.g. Salumi) that buys a lot of meat; unless they’ll tell you, “all our meat is antibiotic free”, you are safe to assume that some of it is (as otherwise they’d be trumpeting the fact).

Patricia Eddy August 9, 2009 at 9:06 am

To respond to Anonymous: Given the number of restaurants who proudly told us that they source from Tyson or Smithfield or JBS, I am inclined to believe that the majority of the restaurants on this list were honest with me. Could I be wrong? Of course. I cannot guarantee that restaurants did not lie to me, and I cannot guarantee that they are not lying to their customers. Even if a restaurant swears that they source from Skagit River Ranch, there’s no guarantee that some busy Saturday night they didn’t run out of ground beef and make a quick trip to the grocery store for CAFO ground beef.

I have investigated each beef and pork source to the best of my abilities. However we’re only two people with limited resources.

All of the information on this list was sourced from chefs, owners, and menu claims. If a chef or owner told me they were CAFO free, I have chosen to believe them. In many cases they told me the names of their producers, but in some, they merely stated they were proudly CAFO free. I will continue to check with the restaurants listed here on a regular basis to make sure that they are still professing to be CAFO free and I will do as much investigation as my time, budget, and abilities allow to verify that these claims are true. However I urge all readers to do as much investigation as they can as well. The more diners are educated the better.

Anne August 9, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Good work. It is my hope too, that in this wonderful city, the list will be growing. Do you know about the Eat Well guide? It’s a website I really rely on. According to it, there are 54 Seattle restaurants (and 11 bakeries) dishing out SOLE food. Just go to: http://www.eatwellguide.org/search/ and put in your zip. It has a nice listing of sub-categories too.
.-= Anne´s last blog ..Summer Succotash =-.

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