After many years of asking “Where do you get your meat?” of restaurant servers and counterpeople, we are finally compiling a list of Portland-area restaurants that source their meat from ethical sources and choose sustainable seafood. We took this idea pretty much whole cloth from Seattle’s Cook Local blog. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before — I always ask about this stuff and have written about it extensively.
When we go out to eat, we want to know whether or not the meat comes from factory farms, or CAFO, sources. We are not big meat-eaters, but we eat more meat when we dine out than when we eat at home, and in general, I have a higher regard for restaurants who care about this stuff than those who do not, so for us the distinction is important.
Five years ago you could be pretty sure that unless a restaurant’s menu specifically listed that the meat being served was “free range” or “organic”, you were eating factory-farmed meat. Nowadays, at least in Portland, that is not the case. Many casual, affordable dining establishments source some or all of their meats from sustainable co-ops or directly from the farms, whereas plenty of fancy, expensive restaurants still buy meat from conventional sources. We’ve even found one case of a vegan bakery that decided to sell meat sandwiches, but didn’t bother to source their meats from a sustainable source. Don’t assume anything — it’s always best to ask. Since we always do, we thought this chart would be both helpful for our readers and a way for us to keep track of the answers we get.
This is by no means a complete list, so if your favorite restaurant is not on the list, do not assume they source otherwise. They might not be on the list because we haven’t contacted them yet, or because whether they source ethically or not, they asked not to be listed on our website, or because they chose not to confirm or deny the type of meat they use. We will periodically update this list as we obtain more information. Please note that this list does not cover vegetarian restaurants since by definition, they serve no meat.
As we began working on this page, it became clear that many restaurant owners and chefs in Portland are doing a lot more than just buying a particular kind of meat. They are working directly with farms, developing collaborative relationships with growers, and other innovative practices. It’s inspiring to see and another reason to love living here.
I’ve written a lot more about what we mean by “sustainable” meat, seafood, etc, on another page, if you care to read more about it. These pages don’t touch on seasonal or regionally-grown produce, legumes, or grains, all of which are also very important to us; we hope to cover those subjects more in future posts or pages.
|Restaurant||Sustainable Meat?||Sustainable Seafood?||Notes|
|Bakery Bar||beef, chicken, turkey (sausage), pork (but not bacon)||n/a||Cascade Natural beef for burgers and pastrami. Draper Valley chicken and turkey (for turkey sausage). Carlton Farms pork for sausage, chorizo, and belly. Steibrs cage-free eggs. rBST-free milk from Sunshine. rBST-free (sometimes organic) butter from Rose Valley.|
|Biwa||yes||yes||Draper Valley chicken. Carlton Farms and Niman Ranch pork. Cattail Creek lamb. Beef from a variety of sources including American Kobe, Cascade Natural, Montana Piedmontese, and others depending on cuts/availability. Gabe says “I try and keep the quality of our meat as high as possible, and as a result we tend to use cheap cuts from great suppliers and in the case of chickens deal only in whole animals. It is very rewarding to know the people who raise our animals.”|
|Bunk Sandwiches||beef, pork||n/a||Cascade Natural beef. Carlton Farms pork (includes pork belly, but not bacon)|
|Cloud Seven Cafe||yes||n/a||Cascade Natural grassfed beef. Carlton Farms pork. Draper Valley chicken. Eggs from cage-free hens (from Sunshine) and moving to eggs from pastured hens (from Phoenix).|
|Fleur de Lis Bakery||yes||n/a||All meat served is naturally raised and antibiotic-free. Eggs from cage-free hens.|
|Grand Central Bakery||yes; just not sure about the bacon||yes||Eggs from Champoeg Farm (pastured) and Steibrs (cage-free). Pork from Carlton Farms. Ham from Thundering Hooves. Beef from Highland Oak (grass-fed!). Lamb from Cattail Creek. Chicken from Draper Valley and soon to be pastured birds from Champoeg Farm. Turkey from Diestel. Albacore tuna, troll-caught, from Sacred Sea.|
|Kenny and Zuke’s||beef||gravlax||Cascade Natural beef in all their pastrami, corned beef, roast beef, burgers, meat loaf, pot roast, etc. Wild salmon in their house cured gravlax.|
|Laurelhurst Market||yes||yes||“What is most important to us is providing a high quality product that represents the best of what’s available. We try to source as much local product as possible, but sometimes there is something that is really special that comes from a little further away. We try to find that perfect balance between quality, flavor and price.”|
|Meat Cheese Bread||pork (not bacon), beef, chicken.||n/a||Cascade Natural beef. Carlton Farms pork. Draper Valley chicken.|
|Ned Ludd||yes||yes: farmed trout, farmed mussels||Ned Ludd generally source meats directly from farmers such as Afton Field (chicken, pork), Kookoolan (chicken), Square Peg (pork), and Carman Ranch (beef). They source some of their cured meats from Fra Mani, but make much of their charcuterie in-house. Carlton Farms pork and Cascade Natural beef are used when more direct sources are not available.|
|Pine State Biscuits||chicken, pork, andouille sausages. not sure about bacon or eggs.||n/a||Carlton Farms pork. Andouille sausages by Otto’s. Draper Valley chicken.|
We have created this list to document some of the research we’ve done. We hope that you will find it helpful, whether you are a resident or Portland or just visiting.
If you have any suggestions of restaurants to be added to this list, or you’re a Portland restaurant owner or chef and would like to be included (or need to update your information), please email Patrick.
If you find this list to be useful, please consider donating to our blog to help us continue our work in this area.