As more and more people realize the benefits of organic food, new organic restaurants are popping up all over the country. But don’t let the sign fool you: Organic dives are just as common as the proverbial greasy spoon diner. Here are a few tips to help you determine whether the organic restaurant in your neighborhood is worth a visit or is just cashing in on the hype.
1. Is the organic food fresh? One of the great benefits of organic food is the lack of harmful chemicals. But for some organic produce, fewer chemicals also means shorter shelf life. To find out whether the food in the organic restaurant is fresh, just order a basic salad. If the lettuce is wilted or the cucumber is mushy, the manager is keeping organic vegetables too long in order to cut costs.
2. Does it have a good menu? Look over the menu. If you wouldn’t eat it at a traditional restaurant, odds are you won’t like it at an organic restaurant, either. Good menus have items that appeal to a variety of tastes. If you see items you know you like on your organic restaurant’s menu, there’s a much better chance you’ll enjoy your meal.
3. Are the prices reasonable? At the end of the day, an organic restaurant is just that: a restaurant. Prices should be competitive, with only a slight increase to account for the additional cost of the organic food products. If the organic restaurant in your neighborhood is charging exorbitant rates, you can bet that it is more interested in cashing in on the popularity of organic food and less interested in offering quality fare. Don’t be fooled: Pay only what your dinner is worth.
4. Is it clean? It’s the oldest and best bit of wisdom for knowing whether a restaurant is really clean: Visit the restroom. Remember, the manager lets you see the restroom. If the bathroom is filthy, what does the kitchen look like?
5. How’s the wine list? Quality organic restaurants typically spend the extra money to feature a good selection of organic wines and beers. If the restaurant skimps on the drink menu, odds are that they’re cutting corners in other places, too.
6. Does it have a nice atmosphere? Again: it’s a restaurant, albeit one that serves fresher, healthier food. The same rules apply to organic restaurants as traditional restaurants. Is it comfortable? Is the service good? Is the music volume pleasant? Is the lighting appropriate? Good management will ensure that you enjoy your experience in the organic restaurant. If he or she doesn’t, the overall restaurant quality is probably substandard.
Taking a couple of minute to evaluate the quality of the organic restaurant before you pay a visit. You’ll be glad you did.