River Café Serves Sustainability

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River Café, a world class restaurant on Prince's Island Park, makes deliberate and conscious decisions on how they source, prepare and serve the food at their restaurant, as well as how they operate. 

As a pioneer in the local food movement, River Café focuses on serving a cuisine from ingredients indigenous to the region. The restaurant connects with many local growers and producers at their farms and at rural farmers markets. They even recognize the provenance of their ingredients on their menu by naming the farms from which they came from. Their practices began to identify the cuisine at River Café as local and seasonal Canadian Cuisine. 

The team at River Café buys direct from a network of over 60 producers and tends to an edible garden at the restaurant, producing many herbs, berries and edible flowers during their short growing season. Their garden allows them to feature fresh ‘just picked’ ingredients, just picked at lunch and just picked at dinner. This process helps to eliminate the energy used for transport, and the energy used for storing in their refrigerators. Picking before service each day also contributes to the quality and freshness on the plate.

In addition to sourcing from farms and their edible garden, they have also helped the emergence of urban agriculture from sourcing from half a dozen urban farmers.

River Café also works with Ocean Wise and relies heavily on current scientific information to make sustainable choices, often working directly with fishermen and coastal shellfish operations.

How River Café has lessened their impact on the environment:

  • Developed extensive composting and recycling initiatives to reduce landfill waste by more than 30% of a typical restaurant
  • Implemented 100% compostable materials for takeout and catering supplies
  • Replaced the use of continuously running cold water to cool stocks with large frozen cool packs 
  • Implemented 100% green energy use in operations – wind generated electricity and green gas
  • Created a ‘lights out’ initiative in the dining room during daytime hours and replaced fixtures and lamps to more efficient models
  • Conducted a Carbon Footprint Study and recognized vast inefficiencies in local distribution networks, which led to new distribution collaborations and in some cases, the purchasing of more efficient delivery vehicles
  • Became a Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice (LEAF) certified restaurant

River Café is guided by making a difference and contributing to a healthy community. To read more about River Cafe's sustainability efforts, click here.