5 local sustainable food and drink spots

So you’re a student at Arizona State University and are hankerin’ to down some sustainable grub, right? These days it’s hard to figure out where your food comes from and what restaurants are actually telling the truth. (Ever heard of greenwashing?)

Have no fear; we’ve rounded up some reasonably priced sustainable restaurant options located near the Tempe campus, home of ASU’s School of Sustainability and Global Institute of Sustainability. And we’ve rated the cost of a typical meal at each restaurant on a scale of one to five with five being the most expensive.

Memorial Union, second floor
Monday – Friday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Price point: 3

How could we start this article without mentioning Tempe campus’ very own sustainable restaurant? Boasting seasonal menus and a casual dining atmosphere, Engrained features ingredients like cage-free eggs, all-natural chicken, and local organic tomatoes. The menu regularly includes vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Our favorite has to be the tomato, basil, Queen Creek olive oil, and mozzarella flatbread—it’s like Italy in your mouth!

Don’t forget to check out the smaller and faster version of Engrained, E2, located at Orange Mall across from Wilson Hall.

La Bocca Urban Pizzeria and Wine Bar
699 S. Mill Ave, Tempe
Sunday – Wednesday 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Price point: 4

Ok, if you’re over 21 you may go to La Bocca for what the Phoenix New Times calls, “the best sangria.” But if you’re under 21 then definitely stay for the hand-tossed Mediterranean pizzas and assorted bruschetta planks. And when it can, La Bocca incorporates local ingredients likes Queen Creek olives, crusty bread from Arizona Bread Company, Scottsdale’s Sweet Republic ice cream, and Phoenix’s Schreiner’s Fine Sausage.

Desert Roots Kitchen
414 S. Mill Ave #111, Tempe (Mill Avenue Shops Courtyard)
Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Price point: 2

Do you know how much carbon, water, and crops go to raise meat? A lot. That’s why going vegan or vegetarian can lower your ecological footprint. But being vegan or vegetarian can be quite limiting restaurant-wise. Fortunately, there’s Desert Roots Kitchen, a small café hidden in the Mill Avenue Shops Courtyard. A taste for the global but penchant for the local, Desert Roots Kitchen is the place to go for coconut curry cranberry almond lentil wrap, Indonesian rice with purple cabbage, or pumpkin curry quinoa with dates and spinach. Be sure to like it on Facebook to get daily menu updates before hitting the streets.

D’Lish Health Conscious Kitchen and Coffee House
1135 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe
Monday – Friday 6:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Price point: 3

Skip that Taco Bell and instead drive-thru D’Lish for a nuts n’ berries salad or chicken breast panini. At D’Lish you can dine in, take out, or drive thru, making it virtually impossible to not eat healthy and organic. D’Lish also uses earth-friendly food and drink containers and recycling is available on site. Plus its coffee is free trade, all natural, and locally roasted. What’s not to love?

Cartel Coffee Lab
225 W. University Dr., Tempe
Monday – Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Price point: 2

With its concrete floors and bike wheel covered walls, Cartel Coffee Lab begs you to ride your bike to get your morning Joe. Now with four locations across Arizona, Tempe’s location was the first and where all coffees are roasted. The majority of roasts come from organic, pesticide-free farms in Guatemala, Sumatra, and El Salvador. If that doesn’t sway you, just come for the taste; BBC Travel named Cartel one of America’s Best Coffee Bars in September.

Honorable Mention: Chop Shop
222 E. University Dr., Tempe
Monday – Saturday 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Price point: 3

Even though the options at Chop Shop are not technically local or organic, they are healthy, and that’s a big part about being sustainable. You’ll find fresh veggie sandwiches, filling protein plates (tofu is an option), and seasonal lemonades like cucumber and mint that will reenergize you after hitting the books. You can take out, but we like to sit outside at the tables under the trees or make our next move on the giant outdoor chessboard. Chop Shop gets some points for using water-saving faux grass!