Sustainability has been a huge buzzword lately, with companies committing to greener practices like renewable energy courses and net-zero carbon footprints. Sustainability in the culinary field has long been embraced by smaller restaurants and chefs in the form of local farm partnerships for produce, and sourcing proteins from smaller and family-owned farms.
These days, sustainability practices are not exclusive to the elite. You may be surprised what measures businesses around Las Vegas are taking to reduce the impact on our environment.
Where to Find Sustainable Dining Options in Las Vegas
The Venetian Resort
Most of the major resorts on the Strip and their parent companies have practices and policies in place for reducing their wastewater, increasing on-site recycling and reducing impact. The Venetian Resort has partnered up with FishWise and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries program to help ensure that the property's seafood procurement is responsibly done to avoid contributing to the problem of overfishing.
Highlights from the property include the sustainable abalone at Mott 32, the Mediterranean fish market display at Estiatorio Milos and a variety of American and Japanese Wagyu options at Cut by Wolfgang Puck.
Founding Chef Roy Ellamar opened Harvest at Bellagio Las Vegas in late 2015 with a "market-inspired" menu focused on seasonal availability, local produce and sustainable seafood. The menu draws on his childhood in Hawaii and travels abroad to feature vegetarian and vegan dishes across several different cuisines and continents, from the Mediterranean to Japan.
Protein options are sustainable, organic and grass-fed for an emphasis on quality and responsibility, available grilled or prepared in a stone oven. Harvest is truly a place where diners with any diet can find a delicious meal in line with their environmental values.
Chef David Middleton opened Lakeside at Wynn Las Vegas with a major focus on global flavors and sustainable seafood. Diners can select from various wild-caught fish from the Mediterranean and beyond, including unique and seasonal options not found elsewhere.
Menu favorites include the Chili Rubbed Charred Octopus and the King Crab Pasta with black truffle sauce. Lakeside is perhaps best known for its selection of live, fresh-caught European langoustines, prepared simply with butter and lemon.
Off the Strip, the emphasis on sustainability continues at award-winning neighborhood options Honey Salt, Vegenation and Sparrow + Wolff. The farm-to-table concept at Honey Salt embraces locally-sourced produce and regional farms to support their thoughtful, seasonal menus. Founders Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla also partner with local food banks to reduce food waste and give back to the community.
Vegenation, located in the downtown area, puts the idea of sustainability into practice with their all-vegan menu with locally grown vegetables and small business partnerships. Chef Donald Lemperle works with school garden programs and community gardens to further his message of being kind to the planet.
Chef Brian Howard and the team at Sparrow + Wolf in Chinatown apply sustainability practices with their kitchen-to-bar program, utilizing kitchen ingredients as garnishes. Fresh fruits, vegetables and citrus are cold-pressed for use in their cocktails as well.
Fast Casual Brands
Sustainability isn't just a priority for hands-on chefs; major brands and corporations have also taken on the effort to work with farms and vendors who are ethical and intentionally lessen their impact on the earth.
California Fish Grill, with three locations in the Vegas valley, features a fish market-style menu with certified seafood based on guidelines from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.
Chipotle has strict animal welfare policies for the farms they partner with and deliberately works with young farmers and smaller farms. It also partners with the Farmlink project to decrease food waste and increase awareness of food insecurity.
Even bakery chain Panera Bread builds its brand around the concepts of fresh, clean food and respect for the planet. The company's long-range plans include being Climate Positive by 2050, which provides for steps they've already taken to reduce emissions, utilize more efficient equipment and improve their packaging.