According to Stephen Morales, an Environment and Energy Commissioner in Oak Park, The Plastic Free July Program went very well. The campaign received attention in the community and boosted awareness about the importance of eliminating single use plastics throughout the Village of Oak Park and beyond.

“In general, we feel that the Plastic Free July program shows that the village wants to do more for our environment; says Morales via email,  “going forward we would like to expand on the success of Plastic Free July through other community and village level activities.”

In the end the Village had approximately ten restaurants officially participating in the program throughout July, but the League of Women Voters identified several additional restaurants that were simply trying to be more plastic free.

“We were happy to see many local restaurants are eager to do as much as possible to go green in their restaurants,” says Beverly Graham, League of Women Voters of Oak Park-River Forest President, “and we hope their considerable efforts will inspire others to follow suit.”

As part of the Plastic Free July campaign the League’s Environment Committee contacted local restaurants asking them about their use of disposable plastics. Over the course of July the committee continued their effort and expanded the “best of the best list” to include five new restaurants and three honorable mentions. The committee is working to create window decal to honor the restaurants listed.

The committee was particularly pleased with the environmentally friendly practices at Small Batch Barbecue in Forest Park. The food-scene newcomer opened on Madison Ave on July 6th. The barbecue joint is designed to avoid food waste food waste by controlling quantities and also limits the use of single use plastics throughout their operation.

Graham also shared that Spilt Milk staff members were quick to praise their eco-conscious customers for bringing their own bags and containers to transport their bakery purchases.

“Little things like that make a big difference to our local restaurants,” says Graham, “and I feel like this effort is really taking off in our community; this effort will go beyond a single month.”

Plastic Free July Best of the Best

Beverly Graham says the restaurants included on this list were identified by the League of Women Voters and have already taken strides to eliminate single-use plastics in their establishment and have embraced environmentally friendly practices from the front to the back of the house. Honorable mentions are making considerable efforts to green their businesses and have concrete plans implement

The Best of the Best

  • Boss Burrito, Oak Park*
  • The Buzz Café, Oak Park
  • Cucina Paradiso, Oak Park*
  • Citrine Café, Oak Park
  • Happy Apple Pie Shop, Oak Park
  • Hamburger Mary’s, Oak Park*
  • Hemmingway’s Bistro, Oak Park*
  • The Heritage Restaurant, Forest Park
  • Poke Burrito, Oak Park
  • Poor Phil’s, Oak Park
  • Small Batch Barbcue, Forest Park*
  • Wild Onion Tied House, Oak Park

Honorable Mentions*

  • Hecho en Oak Park, Oak Park
  • Kinslahger Tasting Room, Oak Park
  • Spilt Milk, Oak Park

*This story has been corrected to reflect Stephen Morales is an EEC Commissioner and not the EEC, Chair. As of the date of publication Nick Bridge served as the EEC, Chair in Oak Park.

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