Some Richmond restaurants going 'Green'

By Heather Sullivan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Want to eat out and help the environment? Now you can. Some Richmond restaurants are going green. The state and Virginia Tech are showing them how.

The wall tiles in The Republic Restaurant and Bar at 2053 West Broad Street look red, but really they're "green." "All the tile you see here is recycled from windshields," said owner Rick Lyons.

When Lyons opened The Republic, he decided to make it environmentally friendly. The wood bar and wood floor came from an old BF Goodrich factory.

The state is helping restaurants go green through a program called Virginia Green and some Virginia Tech classes. Explained Tom Griffin with Greener Results Consulting and Virginia Green state coordinator, "They have to have firm commitments to energy conservation and water conservation and they also have to recycle their grease" among other requirements.

The Republic does. Its frying grease is converted to bio diesel. And the trash is recycled. Said Lyons, "I would say about 75 percent of our trash now gets recycled as compared to 100 percent just going into a landfill."

The restaurant uses a water saving dishwasher and faucets, and energy efficient HVAC and lights, "which probably use about 10 percent of what a normal incandescent would be," said Griffin.

Even the take-out food containers are recyclable. "Hopefully at some point this will be back here in a couple of years as another new container," Lyons told us.

Going green can cost green. But it can also save some. Said Griffin, "Changing your heating and air conditioning system to an energy efficient system, the return on investment might not be immediate, but again are there are real paybacks."

Lyons' payback? He says customers are showing their support. "They're going to want to put their dollar into something that's giving it back, trying to make something better for the environment."

You can find green restaurants through Virginia Green and information about green classes for restaurants at Virginia Tech.

Now for this week's Restaurant Report:

In Chesterfield, the Waffle House at 2101 Willis Road had four critical violations. The inspector noted that food employees failed to wash their hands before engaging in food preparation and before putting on clean gloves. Violations were corrected during the inspection.

Moving to Richmond, Stool Pigeon's at 101 South 15th Street had four critical violations, including pots, pans, bowls, lids, a produce slicer and some utensils were observed soiled. Violations were corrected during the inspection. The restaurant has earned perfect scores on some inspections in the past.

In Henrico, Tops China at 5660 Brook Road had four critical violations. The report says no dates were on cooked pork, shrimp, and chicken in a walk-in fridge. The restaurant had all violations corrected for a perfect score on a follow-up inspection.

And this week's NBC 12 Hall of Fame Award goes to Burger King at 5146 Nine Mile Road. This fast food restaurant has earned perfect scores on all of its last six inspections.

(c) 2010. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.