The Boston-based Green Restaurant Association (dinegreen.com) recently awarded Pizzeria Rustica (2527 W. Colorado Ave., pizzeriarustica.com) a three-star certification for its consciousness in categories like water consumption, waste/recycling, energy, sustainable and local food, pollution and chemical reduction. Only two other restaurants nationwide, of some 370 the 19-year-old advocacy group works with, bear the distinction. (One is in New York, the other in Washington, D.C.)
"Three stars is definitely something to write home about," says GRA executive director Michael Oshman. "It's a big deal."
Restaurants wishing to market their sustainability must submit product invoices to GRA, essentially proving they're taking all the green steps they claim, and annually resubmit that evidence, as well as be open to surprise invoice audits. GRA grades off a point system; Pizzeria Rustica surpassed the necessary 170 points to earn three stars, garnering 222.
Pointing to overall increased awareness in the industry, Oshman says GRA, which also helps connect restaurants with environmental-minded distributors among other green services, grew by 50 percent in 2008.
• If you dine at the Famous, Melting Pot, Craftwood Inn, Cliff House or the Colorado Springs Country Club any time soon, you may notice a new beer available only in select Colorado restaurants: Herman Joseph's Private Reserve. "But wait," you say, "that beer's not new."
You would be both correct and incorrect. According to AC Golden Brewing Co.'s Aimee Valdez, a pale lager by the same name (honoring Adolph Herman Joseph Coors) was produced by Coors in the 1980s and 90s. But today's 30-barrel, numbered batches, produced by AC Golden (a brand incubation company) are "much more full-bodied," says Valdez, adding that if the beer sells well, MillerCoors might pick it up for large release, though the company could option to continue brewing small batches for sale only statewide.
• The Winery at the Holy Cross Abbey (3011 E. U.S. Hwy. 50, Cañon City, abbeywinery.com) recently released a 250-case run of 2007 Colorado Syrah, produced with grapes hailing from Palisade's Talbott Farms. Bottles cost $22.
• The Old Town Showdown (shopoldcoloradocity.com), featuring a chili and barbecue contest, vending and more, will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., July 25 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., July 26 in Old Colorado City.
• Fiddles, Vittles & Vino will be held from 3-9 p.m., July 25 at Rock Ledge Ranch (3602 Chambers Way, fiddlesvittlesandvino.com), featuring cooking demos, bluegrass, and wine and food tastings; cost is $40 ($10, ages 8-16).