While we'll argue that we should, collectively, make eco-conscious decisions on a daily basis, Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to both do right by the environment and support local businesses that have made it their mission to do right by the environment. From a pond-side oasis in Lincoln Park to a rooftop destination in West Town, here are five sustainable restaurants worth dining at this Earth Day.
Nestled pond-side in the heart of Lincoln Park, this breathtaking fine-dining spot promises a meal that reflects its serene, natural setting. Chef Bruce Sherman's menu changes seasonally, but always includes a bounty of ingredients sourced from local markets and small, area farmers; the current iteration spotlights dishes like whole wheat ravioli with Chevre mousse, charred asparagus, Canadian bacon, tomato jam, pickle, and a quail egg, duck with wild rice arancini, grilled rapini, orange, piquillo pepper, and green olives, and charred venison loin with purple-top turnip brulee, red cabbage, apples celeri rave, spring spinach, and red wine syrup. 2610 N. Cannon Dr., 773-477-5845
Only one restaurant in the country is allowed bragging rights as the first certified organic rooftop farm in the U.S., and it just so happens to be this one. The 2,500-square-foot deck is made of post-consumer recycled materials, and houses roughly 650 square feet of soil, where everything from rosemary and thyme to sweet and hot peppers, beets, and fennel grow. The restaurant offers brunch, lunch, and dinner services, which feature dishes like chilaquiles, 10-grain pancakes with whipped butter and pure local maple syrup, a grass-fed beef smash burger, and local apple and beet salad. 1401 W. Devon Ave., 773-465-9801
Perched above Roots Handmade Pizza, this eco-conscious West Town gem boasts nearly 3,000 square feet of organic rooftop garden, which comes complete with two vertical hanging gardens, and myriad planter boxes burgeoning with vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Though a 65-seat indoor dining space remains open year-round, the best way to dine here is out on the 85-seat rooftop patio. Indulge in garden-to-glass cocktails, small-production wines, and an ever-evolving literal farm-to-table menu. 1924 W. Chicago Ave., 773-332-2354
Long before current food culture watered down the meaning of “farm-to-table,” this Logan Square staple was spearheading the sustainably sourced movement in Chicago. Today, it's one of the neighborhood's most enduring restaurants, and continues to draw serious crowds for its crave-worthy weekend brunch ("Royale" breakfast sandwich, anyone?), and simple, farm-fresh dinner fare, like grilled spring radishes and ramps with rhubarb glaze, taleggio butter, and rye cracker, and bucatini with oxtail, spring onion, and black trumpet mushrooms. 2537 N. Kedzie Ave., 773-489-9554
The award-winning breads and French pastries at this quaint Lincoln Park cafe and bakery have garnered great attention in recent years, but what people often overlook here is the shop's rooftop garden, which is visible from the second-floor seating area. From the delicate, edible flowers adorning certain pastries to the herbs that accent a concise lineup of seasonal vegetable and grain salads, the rooftop garden planters play a surprisingly big role in the menu. The cafe relies on local producers, including Breslin Farms, Kilgus Farmstead, and more to supply ingredients that can't be grown or produced on-site. 1220 W. Webster Ave., 773-883-1313