It’s easy eating green

The Coup combines delicious healthy food with a healthy attitude toward the environment

As Calgarians become more environmentally aware we begin to look for similar values in the companies we support or invest in. At a time when there is more money than ever to spend on eating out it makes sense to expect the restaurants we frequent to be as conscious of the impact they have on our environment as we are.

The Coup is leading the pack in terms of environmental responsibility. The business’s forward-thinking attitude coupled with an eagerness to promote and support local producers makes its creative eclectic vegetarian/vegan menu even more appealing. Among its offerings you’ll find Lund’s organic beets and carrots ultra-creamy goat cheese and goat yogurt from Fairwinds Farm as well as Golden Lane honey. Breakfast served on weekends until 3 p.m. stars eggs from Sunworks farm and hash browns made from organic Poplar Bluff potatoes.

“We definately choose local first — not always easy all year in Calgary” co-owner Dalia Cohen says. “We are part of a community garden and grow a small portion of our food there during the summer. The environment is definitely our top priority and for this we spend a bit more on our products sometimes without raising our prices.”

Fresh produce certainly makes up the bulk of the menu; I’ve never seen so many wholesome looking plates pass by as I did one recent day when I waited in a cozy green booth for my lunch. The room was full and everyone seemed to have that healthy glow and alertness that comes with eating things like sesame yam dip and quinoa for lunch instead of chicken fingers and fries. (The kitchen at The Coup doesn’t even have a deep fryer.) Choosing which dish to order was a tough decision and as a carnivore I was pleasantly surprised to have such a hard time. In the end I settled on a bowl of dairy-free chipotle-yam soup a falafel quesadilla with hummus sheep’s feta cabbage carrots olives pickles and banana peppers grilled in a sprouted tortilla beside a mound of mixed greens topped with seeds and one of the best freshest dressings I’ve tasted all washed down with a pineapple and fresh black currant (real black currants in March!) smoothie so good I’d choose one over a Peters’ milkshake any day. (It should be noted here that I am a huge fan of Peters’ milkshakes.) The Coup’s frittata of the day was tempting: made with purple cabbage shitake mushrooms mozzarella and spinach.

The evidence that The Coup takes its environmental impact seriously lies in its attention to details; its conscientiousness doesn’t stop at the handmade pottery bowls plates and cups the food is served in its use of recycled paper products (including toilet paper hand towels menus napkins and even business cards) low-flush toilets and offer of tax-free takeout if you bring your own bag or container. The Coup recycles as much as possible and composts all its raw material something other restaurants are beginning to do as well. The restaurant industry in general typically has a high rate of waste and energy consumption.

The Coup goes even further. “We have switched over to Bullfrog power and are offsetting some of our waste right now by planting 36 trees every month” Cohen says. “It’s important to watch our water consumption as well as which cleaning products are used. Our staff is all on the same page which makes it much easier… and more knowledge is brought through 20 people than just (co-owner) Tabitha (Archer) and myself.”

The Coup is setting an example for other Calgary eateries to follow showing restaurateurs what’s possible and proving that Calgarians are basing their dining decisions on more than just food. “The restaurant was not opened to make money” says Cohen “it was to share our values in a non-lecturing way; to show other businesses how simple it is to compost and recycle and do some of the small things which have a great impact. If a few people start others sometimes become interested and follow.”

They are supportive and enthusiastic role models. “There are many people who ask us where to find certain things” she adds eager for their knowledge and research to benefit other restaurants as well. “This forms a community of people working together… in an expanding city.”

Living proof that eating green doesn’t just mean ordering a salad.

The Coup is located at 924b – 17th Avenue SW; www.thecoup.ca