The owners of a French restaurant on Annapolis' Main Street, an Irish pub on Maryland Avenue and a small market in Eastport all share the same environmental zeal.
Jean-Louis Evennou was so thrilled when his staffers designed a green T-shirt to advertise their eco-friendly policies that he drove them to New York City and treated them to a pricey French meal. Now he has proudly mounted the shirt on Cafe Normandie's wall.
Fintan Galway instructs his waiters to discuss sustainability every time they hand patrons a straw. The ones he's ordered are 100 percent compostable, but he and his business partners still discourage Galway Bay customers from using them.
Lisa Park, who has painted her fingernails and the walls of Leeward Market bright green, regularly digs through trash to recover recyclables accidentally thrown away.
But their passion amounts to more than quirks. All three Annapolis eateries recently qualified as Certified Environmental Stewards, joining five other local establishments in the city's new plan to push businesses and residents to go green.
"There are a lot of programs that restaurants have to comply with," said Maria Broadbent, Annapolis' Environmental Program Coordinator. "They all have to have systems for grease recovery, certain permits and ordinances, but this is really to award and honor the ones that are going beyond compliance, and are really stewards of the environment."
The program grew out of the Sustainable Annapolis initiative, which started a few years ago as an energy task force. Since then, the city has developed strategies to reduce carbon emissions, use energy efficiently and improve the health of the bay.
"This is the only program that we know of that's run by a municipality and is a certification verification program," Broadbent said.
Still, other cities across Maryland are tackling the issue in their own ways. Howard County's restaurant week starts Monday, and it encourages local businesses to use local products. Twenty-five different establishments are participating in the effort to promote the environmentally and economically friendly initiative.
So far, Annapolis' program has certified eight total restaurants. In an effort to include the entire community, Broadbent developed a separate stewardship program for homeowners. Branches for other businesses are in the works, she said.
All three of the most recently certified restaurants didn't need that boost. Evennou, who makes his own biodiesel fuel from Cafe Normandie's used oil and composts all his food scraps, said he scored more than 200 to begin with. Anthony Clarke, one of the owners of Galway Bay, said he qualified with a little more than 100, and Park said Leeward Market racked up at least 130 points.
Still, Broadbent worked with each restaurant to make sure their reports were accurate and to help them earn even more points. The checklist includes resources and explanations of the initiatives.
"It's nice to know all the parameters that we needed to become certified," said Galway, who works with local distributors as much as possible.