Iron Springs Ranks High in Thimmakka Green Contest


San Franciso, Calif., August 18, 2008 –Thimmakka, an award winning non-profit organization that has helped over hundred Bay Area restaurants become green, conducted the first ever contest to determine the most environmentally friendly restaurants in the Bay Area. The nomination period for the “Who’s the Greenest of Them All” contest was from April 22 to May 31, and winners were determined in early August. “San Francisco Bay Area is a hub of the green restaurant industry in the United States – it was the perfect place to have the first annual green restaurant contest.” says Executive Director for Thimmakka, Ritu Primlani, who started Thimmakka in 1998 and its Thimmakka Certified Green program in 2002.

There were over 40 entries from all over the Bay Area for this first contest, including Napa and Sonoma counties. The restaurants represented the diversity of the foodservice industry – bakery, pizzeria, ice cream store, pub, and several ethnic cuisines.

The judging was done by a blue-ribbon panel of distinguished people in the field of conservation and hospitality: Gil Friend of Natural Logic, Rachel Balsley of, Andy Katz, an environmental planner and a Director of East Bay Municipal Utility District, Pamela Evans of the Green Business Program, Alison Negrin Executive Chef of John Muir Hospitals, and Lauren Mills of Food Service Technology Center. The judging event was graciously hosted by Numi Tea at their Oakland headquarters.

The judging was based on metrics such as energy (KWh) used per month per square foot of space, gallons of water used per customer per day, percentage of waste recycled, green design elements, use of eco-friendly cleaners, organic ingredients, customer education, and importantly, a third-party attestation or certification that the restaurant had implemented the claimed green measures. Even with all the hard data collected, it was not easy to determine the top ten green restaurants in the Bay Area. “It was interesting to note that a lot of the restaurants were implementing all best practices in various segments” said Andy Katz. A shortlist of the top green restaurants was drawn up and some restaurants were asked for additional information. The final “Top 10 Greenest of Them All” had one thing in common – “they all had something uniquely exceptional that their restaurant did” noted one of the judges, Rachel Balsley.

Two restaurants tied for top place: Vineyards Inn (Kenwood, unincorporated Sonoma) and Mixt Greens (San Francisco). The rest in the top ten were not ranked: Razan’s Organic Kitchen (Berkeley), The Bread Workshop (Berkeley), Crimson Restaurant (Los Gatos), Iron Springs Brewery (Fairfax), The Butler and the Chef (San Francisco), Nabolom Bakery (Berkeley), Ajanta (Berkeley), and Tin’s Tea House and Lounge (Walnut Creek).

“We hope that this contest spurs people to seek out these green restaurants,” says Suparna Vashisht, Managing Director of Thimmakka, “because by the simple act of dining at a green restaurant, you are supporting their commitment to your health and the environment. We also hope that the 40-plus restaurants that participated in the contest inspire other restaurants to become green and the next ‘Greenest of Them All’ contest has even more contestants!”

About Thimmakka

Thimmakka is a grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to environmental outreach that has won numerous awards for its work. In the last six years, the organization’s core initiative, Thimmakka Certified Green program (TCG), has helped over 120 restaurant owners ‘green’ their establishment by implementing at least 60 measures in the areas of water and energy conservation, pollution prevention and waste reduction. By working with Thimmakka, local businesses learn how to implement easy, cost-efficient practices that reduce their environmental impact, save money and expand their businesses by generating community and government goodwill. For more information on Thimmakka, go to or email

Contact Information:

Suparna Vashisht
Voice Mail: 510 655 5566
Direct: 408 439 8090

About the Top-Ten “Greenest of Them All” (notable Green measures)

Vineyards Inn (Kenwood, unincorporated Sonoma)
– Won rebates from PGE for reducing gas usage two years in a row
– Green building elements
– Bottled water is not served
– All vegetables, fruit and meat is certified organic
– Grow most of their vegetables certified organic & certified biodynamic
– Commute to work on electric bikes when possible
– 27 yrs ago had a 5 yard dumpster & recycling bins; now a 35 gallon residential bin

Mixt Greens (San Francisco)
– “Our vision was to build our restaurants green, from the ground up. We even mixed 50% fly-ash into our concrete, and insurance companies refused to insure our floor.”
– Green building elements
– Local and organic produce
– 100% compostable and biodegradable containers etc., reusable dinnerware
– Renewable energy credits
– Biodegradable cleaners
– Customer education

Razan’s Organic Kitchen (Berkeley)
– “We stand by our greatest commitment to the earth and our customers: to provide all organic ingredients at conventional prices to our customers, regardless of the cost to us. I cannot do otherwise.”
– More than 90% meats and produce are organic
– Industry leader in San Francisco Bay Area

Bread Workshop (Berkeley) “
– “To me, environmentalism goes beyond my restaurant covers to the global impact of agriculture. It is critical to us that we present food that is not only the finest for our customers, but that makes a least impact on our earth.”
– Above average customer education
– Very careful (sustainable) sourcing of food ingredients

Crimson Restaurant (Los Gatos)
– Los Gatos does not offer composting so she BIKES her compost home; she has purchased backyard composters to produce organically fertilized vegetables for her restaurant – a full circle!
– Customer education
– Bottled water is not served
– Sources local and organic produce
– Spokesperson for environment

Iron Springs Brewery (Fairfax)
– Solid Waste Diversion over 95%
– Recycle and reuse water from brewery
– Converted old ambulance into Biodiesel to use oil from their restaurant; used for deliveries and events

The Butler and The Chef Bistro (San Francisco)
– Converted 100% of energy needs in wind power energy credits
– Customer education
– Spokesperson for environment

Nabolom Bakery (Berkeley)
– Triple-bottom line business – pays equal attention to profits, people and the planet
– Greater than 90% solid waste diversion
– Recycle and compost almost everything

Ajanta (Berkeley)
– High rate of solid waste diversion – recycling and composting
– Biodegradable take-out containers
– Sustainable seafood
– Customer education

Tin’s Tea House and Lounge (Walnut Creek)
– Implemented 109 environmental measures (minimum is 60 measures) which is 179% of the voluntary environmental compliance.
– Replaced Styrofoam take-out containers with biodegradable take-out containers and has not passed on the price difference to their customers
– Diverts grease and oil toward local Biodiesel production (1200 lbs/ yr)
– Biodegradable cleaners

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