Going Green One Bite at a Time: Sustainable Catering in the Midwest

While it’s important to eat your greens, eating in a green manner is also becoming more paramount. With food waste such a growing problem, sustainable caterers across the Midwest are trying to make a difference.

For your next event consider one of these notable sustainable catering companies.




SAVOR, Chicago

McCormick Place is home to SAVOR, a restaurant and catering company. Through the Green Angels recycling and waste education program, 63 percent of McCormick Place waste has been reduced or repurposed. SAVOR has received certifications from the Green Meetings Industry Council and International APEX.


Catered by Design, Morton Grove

Catered by Design specializes in eco-friendly fetes. The company’s green initiative through the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition ensures that glass, paper and plastic are recycled; environmentally friendly cleaning products chosen; all dishware is biodegradable; and the menu features more farm-to-table organic dishes.


Prasino, La Grange

A nod to the company’s dedication to sustainability, Prasino means “green” in Greek. Whether eating at the restaurant or getting food catered, clients can expect dishes that are hormone-free. “Buying local and seasonal food decreases the amount of gas emissions required to transport our ingredients from vendors to our restaurants,” the company points out.


Catering by Michaels, Morton Grove

Catering by Michaels was founded in 1980 and specializes in corporate events and weddings. With its sustainability team, managers and employees have learned to conserve. Catering by Michaels does without lawn service and sprinklers to reduce water usage, and uses Fleetmatics software that “tracks all of our delivery vans and trucks, enforces anti-idling policies and promotes energy-efficient travel routes.”


Local Root, Chicago

As Local Root  says: “We know the tomato from mom’s garden tastes better than the tomato at the supermarket.” That’s why the restaurant has partnerships with various Midwest food suppliers like vineyards, distilleries and farms. Local Root is zero-waste, too — all food scraps are composted or recycled.

sustainable catering 01 - growing crops




Gateway Market, Des Moines

Gateway Market is a Central Iowa cafe led by chef Bill Overdyk. With his culinary team, the cafe serves “made-from-scratch menu options” and “a global variety of beer and wine.” When getting an event catered, don’t forget about Gateway’s GOOD FOOD truck.


New Pioneer Food Co-op, Iowa City

Part grocery store, part catering company, New Pioneer Food Co-op has a history dating back more than 40 years. The company favors prefers organic foods — “free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.” All food containers, packages and wrappers are recycled, and most can even be composted.


Mixed, West Des Moines

Mixed is a green restaurant with breakfast options, sandwiches, wraps and salads. Those same foods and more are available for catered events, including salad and breakfast bars. The Mixed staff is also heavily involved in the local Des Moines community, linking up with other sustainable organizations.


Local Burrito, Iowa City

In just five years, Local Burrito has served Iowans 20,000 burritos and counting. As an EPA Green Power Partner and an Arcadia Power Certified Clean Energy Partner, this food truck/restaurant uses wind power that “goes into the grid, mixes with other electrons, and is delivered over the poles and wires.”


Farmhouse Catering, Nevada

Evie Peterson and the rest of her family run Farmhouse Catering. As a chef, Peterson has been cooking since she was just 12 years old. She prefers fresh, local ingredients and prepares dishes that are sophisticated yet casual enough for a corporate event. Farmhouse caters breakfast, lunch and dinner.

sustainable catering 02 - strawberries in containers




Willy Street Co-op, Madison

While Willy Street Co-op is mostly known as a grocer, its staff caters weddings and other events with 200 guests or fewer. The sustainable foods the co-op sells on its shelves are available buffet-style at these events. The co-op sources its dairy and organic produce from nearby farms.


Lee John’s Catering, Waukesha

Lisa and Louie Danegelis founded Lee John’s Catering. As a fair-trade business, Lee John’s is part of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which provides access to fresh produce from local farms and other sources. Clients can order from a locavore menu and an organic wedding menu. Recycled and earth-conscious décor is always used, such as burlap overlay for tablecloths and recycled cardstock.


Blue Plate Catering, Madison

Since 1992, Jodi Fowler and her team at Blue Plate Catering have offered rentals, event planning, event design and catering services. At the heart of those services is the café’s dedication to sustainability. Blue Plate has formed a partnership with the Fifth Season Cooperative to always have fresh produce available from nearby farms.


Metcalfe’s Market, Wauwatosa, West Towne and Hilldale

With three locations in Wisconsin, Metcalfe’s Market went green years ago, working with Ethos Green Power to meet its environmentally friendly goals. The market favors LED lights and renewable energy. In fact, their “combined renewable energy purchases are about 85% wind and 15% solar power.”


Steenbock’s On Orchard, Madison

With a menu that changes by season, Steenbock’s On Orchard team members say they “believe in supporting local businesses, employing sustainable practices, and purchasing organic items.” The University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Institutes For Discovery are regular clients.

sustainable catering 03 - tomatoes on a wooden table




D. Brian’s Deli and Catering, Minneapolis

Since 1986, Doug Sams at D. Brian’s Deli and Catering has provided healthier breakfasts, appetizers, gluten-free dishes, deli platters, boxed lunches, desserts and more for Twin City residents. The deli has upgraded to CFL and LED lighting; made the switch to hybrid delivery cars; uses recycled packaging; and has a new menu with food that is natural, organic and locally-sourced.


Common Roots Catering, Minneapolis

Common Roots Catering only gets its food (including dairy, meat and produce) from farmers in Minnesota, limiting the source radius to 250 miles. The caterers also have a partnership with Eureka Recycling to compost food wrappers and packaging.


Kelber Catering, Minneapolis

The Minneapolis Convention Center is the home of Kelber Catering, which even has its own bar with craft beer. The caterers work hard to reduce their carbon footprint, always ordering ingredients and produce from nearby farmers, serving green coffee from Dunn Bros Coffee, using recyclable dishware and reusing fryer grease.


Fabulous Catering, Minneapolis

Eden Fitzgerald and Dawn Drouillard are the founders of Fabulous Catering. The two started a green initiative for the company, where they source fresh foods through the Northwest Partnership. They also compost their food waste, coffee grounds, towels and napkins, and most other items.


Chowgirls Killer Catering, Minneapolis

With its full bar and extensive menu, Chowgirls Killer Catering is a popular choice for weddings and other events. These caterers also work with Eureka Recycling and count themselves as “the metro’s first low-waste caterer.” Continuing that proud tradition, the Chowgirls get their produce and other fresh ingredients from 20 locations across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.




Café Gratitude Kansas City

Although the chain originated in California, there is a Café Gratitude in Kansas City, too. All produce comes from Be Love Too, Café Gratitude’s own farm. Leftover food is composed, food packaging is recycled, wine bottles are repurposed as lighting fixtures, and solar panels produce natural energy.


Delish Catering & Events, Olathe

Mary Berg is the founder of Delish Catering & Events. After cutting her teeth at local restaurants, Berg decided to open her own catering company that serves organic food. Most vendors and farmers Berg works with are located in and around Kansas City.


Eden Alley Café, Kansas City

Eden Alley Café, which calls its food “local organic traditional,” is known for its scrumptious cakes, family-style brunches and huge catered buffets. The café has also joined green initiatives around Kansas City, some of which provide solar-powered energy.

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