happily, we are seeing a rising trend towards restaurants serving grass fed meats, at least in Northern Virginia. Thought people might want to know their options as much I’m aware of them.
1. Maple Avenue Restaurant, Vienna, VA — This is a sweet little place, right on the main drag in our Vienna town. We went for the first time on Valentine’s Day and its a great local food find. It has the feel of an urban…lunch box with windows…that’s how small it is. Clearly they want to put the focus on food–the wine selection is small but good; the beer selection looked similar. Outstanding moments: the Thai fried okra, the shrimp and grits infused with okra and chorizo. These flavor combinations…original and tasty. To me, that signifies talent I can respect. They source their meats locally, even using the Market on Maple (which sells the grass fed bison we love). I called to clarify if the meatas are grass fed and learned that the locally sourced ones are, and the majority of the non-local sources are too. (The waitress there did not know.) Oh the greens are organic too. The OhEmmGee flourless chocolate cake…deserving of the name. Check out the high ratings and photos on Yelp.
2. Elevation Burger , Falls Church, VA — You know, when you get a hankering for that burger, at least make it grass fed. Prices are reasonable and toppings include carmelized onions and balsamic mustard. You have to monitor your own self on the fries (100% olive oil) versus salad side choice!
3. Chipotle, Vienna, VA (and other locations) — This one requires some context. First, they say that all of their pork is raised with pigs living the way pigs are meant to live–nose burrowing in the ground, eating grass. Chicken? They say 100% of their chicken is now naturally raised. That is not the same as free range, where the chickens have plenty of room. It means that they get more room than CAFOs (Commercial feed lots), have no animal by products in their food, and no antibiotics. Also, a vegetarian diet can include grain. They say 50% of their beef is naturally raised (similar definitions). I want to give alot of credit to this company on this account–that they are willing to pay more for better raised meats and therefore, are tactically helping raise the standards out there using their demand driven purchasing power. On the other hand, let me warn you–buttered rice in your burrito with cheese and sour cream and a 200-300 calorie tortilla….means lunch is inching towards 1000 calories. Healthy choice awareness?…eating just half the meal at one sitting?….yup, still necessary. As a side, an interesting article by the Chipotle owner on last year’s USDA defintion of “naturally raised.” We might need to write the USDA and remind them that we have brains (and stomachs we want to protect!).
The Majestic, Alexandria, VA — Wonderful joint, in a way, some of the food is similar to Maple Avenue Restaurant–burgers, ribs…home-y american food, with less fusion options. I know for a fact that this restaurant gets some of its meats from Polyface Farms in VA, which are all grass fed. However, upon calling them they did clarify that not all of their meat is grass fed, though it is all local. Again, let’s start requesting!
By the way, a big shout out for Maple Avenue Market, our gem of a store in Vienna that serves all Locally Raised grass fed meats including bison and lamb to name a few. They also have grass fed dairy: milk, chocolate milk, and some cheeses from what I recall. Easy to find–kitty corner towards the far left across from the Whole Foods!
Please let me know if you know of other restaurants serving grass fed meats? Would love to see this list expand, at least for Northern VA. perhaps even DC?