I’m on a Mission…

by Marketing Intern on July 18, 2017

in eat, Green Dining Alliance, Green Restaurant Program, Uncategorized

My name is Rachel Price, and I am the St. Louis Earth Day summer Marketing. Since I’m new to St. Louis, I thought I would spend some personal time this summer exploring, and specifically trying to visit as many Green Dining Alliance Restaurants as I could to further help me understand the role of St. Louis Earth Day in our community. I’ll write about GDA-certified restaurants I visit this summer, and my impressions of how they implement “green” strategies into their operations.

First stop: Mission Taco

Location: Delmar Loop

Genre: Mexican

GDA Rating: 

We’re talking Mexico, amplified. Expect a dimly lit atmosphere with pops of color every way you turn. The vibrant orange and blue walls, bumper sticker ridden support beams, and neon Lucha Libre mask paintings and San Francisco Mission District mural compliment colorfully adorned tacos and brightly colored dinnerware.

Not to mention, our server noted that the table tops, bar structure, and outdoor wooden benches (painted a bright blue, of course) were all built from recycled materials. I give the overall appearance an A+ for the reusing of materials and how the reclaimed wood and crisp colors created a modern atmosphere with an authentic touch.

The service was great – chatty bartenders who encouraged trying the three local St. Louis beers on tap (way to promote local breweries!), little to no wait time on food and drink. And let me tell you, the menu was awesome. Talk about local sourcing.

Mission Taco not only creates guacamole, salsas and all sauces/aiolis in house, but the restaurant sources select items locally – from Illinois corn, to torta bread from Diana’s on Cherokee Street and tofu from local Mofu Tofu. I tried the tofu taco and one or two others, (okay four, I tried four tacos) the Veggie torta, and a side of street corn in addition to chips and guacamole and both hot and mild salsa as appetizers.

What I learned? House-made & local sourcing = ridiculously fresh food. Occasionally at a Mexican restaurant, one may find salsas and guacamoles to be, let’s say, a bit aged – brownish guacamole due to air exposure, or a certain sharp, pungent taste to salsa noting it probably wasn’t made the day of. You won’t find that at Mission Taco.

There is at least one thing I’ve found to be common amongst GDA certified restaurants, as you’ll come to see throughout this blog series. GDA certified restaurants care – about the environment, about service, about where they source their food – and it shows. Not only in the quality of service, but in the food itself.

Now, there is a reason I chose Mission Taco as my first stop on my tour of GDA certified restaurants. Although Mission Taco acquired a 5 star GDA rating in Energy and Water Conservation and Awareness, and 4 stars in Recycling & Reducing Waste, it scored pretty low in Chemical, Innovation, and Sourcing – the menu items I tried were pretty much the only locally sourced choices on the menu, but, man, were they awesome.  Overall, Mission taco has a rating of 3 stars. The restaurant could source more locally, replace it’s small paper menus with sturdier, more reusable ones (although it did seem as though the paper ones had been reused for some time) that are easier to keep clean, among other things.

But, when it comes to quality food, service, and the emphasis on recycling, reusing recyclables, reducing waste/energy consumption as shown by the efforts of the back of house (GDA website), and promoting local breweries and the few sources they source from, Mission Taco in the Delmar Loop knocks it out of the park.

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