We Asked, You Answered: Favorite Sustainable Burger Joints

Digital illustration/photo by Jamie Leo

Yes, they exist! And (forgive the plug, you'll thank us later) you can find them on our Eat Well Guide. In fact, you can find over 1,000 restaurants serving sustainably raised beef on the Guide. Smart restaurant owners see that consumers are making smarter choices when it comes to personal health as well as the environment and as a result, they are offering more local, seasonal produce, vegetarian options as well as grass-fed beef, pastured pork and free range organic chicken.

Giving up meat entirely is not for everyone, but reducing your consumption even slightly – and opting for pastured meats – makes a difference.

Until fairly recently, pastured meat was available most readily at farmers' markets and specialty food stores and those of us who love to tuck into a good burger were left to set aside our sustainability concerns for the duration of the meal, or cook them up ourselves. However, a little digging around reveals that you can eat sustainable meat for a decent price at the following featured restaurants - healthy for your body and budget! Here’s a roundup of our favorite sustainable enterprises striving for a smaller impact on the Earth:


Our local favorite is Bareburger, a new burger joint that recently landed in New York City and is expanding rapidly with two new locations this summer and another opening soon. Bareburger fully discloses the production methods of their meat (which are regionally sourced, minus the elk and bison from Montana), cheese and produce and offer a comprehensive argument for organic and pastured animal products. They support local New York City food artisans such as Blue Marble Ice Cream and Rick’s Picks and all of their takeout containers are biodegradable. The restaurants are built from sustainable and reclaimed material and are powered by Green Mountain Energy.

In the Pacific Northwest:

Burgerville works with local, sustainable farmers to serve up the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer at 39 locations across Washington and Oregon. They have a long list of local producers and offer seasonal treats such as the northwest blackberry smoothie and the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Cheeseburger (with its hand-prepared buttermilk-battered onion rings made from Walla Walla sweet onions grown in Washington and Oregon) topped with local Tillamook cheddar cheese. All of the burgers are made from pastured vegetarian-fed and antibiotic-free beef and Burgerville doesn’t stop at the menu – they also purchase wind power credits and recycle used canola oil to covert into biodiesel.

In the Southwest:

Coal Burger is the latest addition to Eat Well Guide and the one that caught my eye, inspiring me to write this post. At first glance, the name didn’t sound too legitimate, but after some investigation I learned they were quite the opposite. Coal Burger serves certified organic grass-fed beef, organic dairy, hormone and antibiotic free chicken, and indicates the sustainable and organic items on their menu. Coal Burger has two locations in Arizona and one in Texas. It’s great to see sustainability in the south!

We opened it up to our Sustainable Table community and our Facebook fans and Twitter followers, and asked “What is your favorite sustainable burger joint?” We got a few responses about specific locales, but many were either farmers promoting their beef or folks getting meat direct from their farmers and making their own grass fed burgers.

Here is a sample (Twitter and Facebook, respectively):

Twitter :

@eatsustainable: Favorite sustainable burger? Here in Austin, we love Sputnik and Wholly Cow.

@cutandbake: @eatsustainable Grazin Diner in Hudson NY, from the guys at @GrazinAngus. #sustainable #burger

@joshwenderoff: @eatsustainable favorite #sustainable #burger = @eat_elevation burger. why? #elevationsauce and great fries and shakes

Facebook :

Living Large in our Little House: My house? Grass fed, free range local beef. That’s the best we can do in Arkansas.

Sara Vogel: Brasserie V in Madison WI is wonderful.

Heather Cornelius: we get grassfed beef delivered from a pretty local farm (within 2 hours)... there have to be some good places around here, but we're cook at home folks

Tanisha Waggoner: We make our own at home from Grass-fed, humanely raised beef from Page River Bottom Farm. :)

Stu Shafer: Local Burger in Lawrence, KS. "The world’s most local burger!" Bison, Elk, Pork, Chicken, Turkey, grass fed Beef, all sourced locally, plus great house made veggie burgers and lots of gluten free items for those who need/want that option.

Jen Lewis: Mann Grand Ole BBQ!! San Diego!

Gerney Lee Carter: Otto’s in State College, PA. Local grass fed beef burgers, local cheese and local produce when available.