Green Business Practices

Local Farms & Friends

Energy Conservation

  • maintain HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) service records
  • perform regular maintenance on our HVAC system, changing filters and checking for coolant and air leaks, clogs or obstructions of air intake
  • perform preventative maintenance on refrigerators and coolers to increase efficiency by cleaning coils, replacing seals, aligning doors and maintaining proper refrigeration levels, refrigerant chare and ensure refrigerant is not leaking
  • installed lighting controls, such as: occupancy sensors in spaces of variable occupancy (restrooms, offices, storage rooms): bypass/delay timers, and/or photocells for exterior lighting and areas with significant natural daylight
  • all lighting fixtures are energy efficient or utilize low voltage track lighting, or high intensity discharge (HID) lighting
  • installed dimmable lighting in our dining rooms
  • all our water heaters, storage tanks and hot water pipes are insulated to keep the heat or cold in
  • utilize energy efficient cooler and freezer defrost controls
  • installed refrigerator evaporator fan controllers, high efficiency evaporator fan motors, or electronically commutated fan motors
  • installed a programmable thermostat and set an energy efficient program
  • utilize double pane, low-E energy efficient windows in our buildings
  • located ice machines in a cool area away from our internal heat gains or windows


Pollution Prevention

  • we store all chemicals in their original containers with tight-fitting lids
  • we stock non-toxic, biodegradable cleaner for daily use
  • use biodegradable soaps and cleaners where possible
  • provide outdoor receptacles for cigarette butt disposal
  • regularly clean grease from roof top equipment and surfaces
  • installed side panels on exhaust hoods that capture and contain exhaust
  • ensure that all appliances are all the way under the exhaust hoods, pushed back as far as possible with the heavy-duty appliances in the center of the hood
  • utilize environmentally friendly landscape contractors
  • provide a secure location for employees and guests to store bicycles, and have bike racks near our buildings

Embracing and celebrating our local roots and foundations is key to our core value system.  Along with supporting our local farms, we believe in being an environmentally responsible business too. The following list shows how we have "greened" our organization.

Purchasing

  • at least 75% of our regularly stocked products are made with recycled content
  • we maintain a 'green' supply chain, requesting that our suppliers package products in reusable and/or returnable containers and boxes or use packaging that contains recycled material
  • we incorporate several local and/or organic ingredients on our menus year-round
  • we give preference to vendors who offer products that meet our high environmental standards
  • we utilize biodegradable or compostable "to-go" food and beverage containers
  • eliminated endangered seafood and fish farmed in ways that harm the environment from our menus


Waste Reduction

  • we utilize an environmentally friendly, paperless marketing strategy that eliminates any 'junk' mailers or outdated paper marketing waste
  • we utilize online schedules for our staff and use an online reservation systems for our guests that eliminates the wasting paper
  • we don't subscribe to any paper magazine subscriptions or newspapers
  • we serve non-alcoholic, carbonated beverages from a beverage fountain or dispenser rather than by individual bottle or can
  • installed a grease trap and make sure all grease producing fixtures flow through the grease trap
  • we recycle our grease from our grease traps 
  • we donate or exchange unused furniture, supplies, electronics, scrap materials, linens or uniforms to schools, churches, nonprofit organizations or teacher resource organizations
  • we utilize reusable menus and eliminated printed 'to-go' menus
  • our linen company participates in an environmental stewardship program and prepares our clean linens and uniforms in an earth-friendly way
  • we utilize dry-erase boards, and laminated sheets for regularly used documents 
  • our service staff uses scrap office paper for order taking
  • when possible, we recycle paper, metal cans, plastic, cardboard and glass


Water Conservation

  • we installed low flow, faucets aerators or flow restrictors where possible
  • we use our dishwashers only when a full rack is ready
  • we utilize an "as needed" or "periodic" window cleaning schedule
  • find ways to repurpose unused water, e.g., using water from steam tables to water plants
  • installed water efficient pre-rinse spray nozzle in our kitchens for dishes
  • our dish washer water flow stops when there are no dishes in the washer


Landscape

  • irrigation systems are tested every season to ensure proper operation and watering schedule
  • adjust sprinklers for proper coverage to optimize spacing and avoid runoff onto paved surfaces
  • we've planted Illinois native vegetation in our landscaping and flower beds/containers
  • developed a watering schedule reflecting the watering needs by type of plant, season and time of day
  • our wood chips or plant-based mulch is refreshed annually to increase moisture retention, reduce weeds and prevent soil erosion
  • use local mulch for ground cover and around plants
  • leave grass clippings on mowed turf rather than bagging and removing them
  • we apply water, earth friendly fertilizers/pesticides to landscape only when needed rather than on automatic schedules
  • we utilize automatic rain sensors for our irrigation systems

In our restaurants, we utilize:  

  • Sasse's Apiary (Chestnut, IL) produces the pure liquid honey we use in our kitchens and breweries.
  • Our milk and cream come from Kilgus Farmstead (Fairbury, IL).
  • Garden Gate Farm (Fairbury, IL) furnishes us with Blue Cornmeal
  • Living Water Farms (Strawn, IL) supplies us with micro greens, arugula and basil.
  • Little Farm on the Prairie located (Saunemin, IL) provides us with our farm fresh eggs.
  • Ropp Jersey Cheese (Normal, IL) make the great cheese curds we use in our Beer-Battered Cheese Curds.