Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Going Green (Pepper)

I have noticed that a lot of pizza joints are going the organic/healthy rout lately. Even large national chains like Papa Johns and Pizza Hut are advertising whole wheat crusts and all natural toppings. There are a few smaller pizza chains that have been green all along. Let's take a look:

Amy's Kitchen On the frozen pizza tip we have Amy's! Amy's is the BOMB and also the leading provider of natural frozen foods. They provide some delicious vegetarian frozen pizza varieties including options for a boatload of food-allergies and religious dietary restrictions. Ingredients are organic and all-natural.

My favorite Amy's pie is Cheese & Pesto Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust. Dang that's a good pie! There is something about pesto on a whole wheat crust is REALLY delicious!

Naked Pizza This New Orleans based pizza parlor opened in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina. Since then their mission has been to combat "our national epidemic of obesity and chronic disease" by offering lower calorie pizza made from natural ingredients as an alternatives to everyday fast food and pizza, something they call "Pizza 2.0."

Naked Pizza boasts a commitment to good nutrition. along with a multi-grain dough mix that includes more than 10 seeds and grains, skim milk mozzarella, prebiotics and probiotics which are microscopic fibers and good bacteria that live in your guts and promote healthy digestion and immunity. Their crust and cheese are 100% natural and according to their chart a slice of thin crust cheese pizza is just 91 calories. They also have menu items that pay homage to their area like the Creole Cajun Throwdown with has Alligator Sausage, Shrimp, Chicken, Garlic, Bell Pepper, onions. Wait! back it up! ALLIGATOR SAUSAGE!? WOW! You can follow Naked Pizza on Twitter.

Pizza Fusion was also started in 2006 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was founded college classmates Michael Gordon and Vaughan Lazar. Their idea was to provide an pizza delivery service that would fill the "huge void in the restaurant sector that prevented people from eating out organically."

Pizza Fusion builds franchises LEED certified buildings , delivers pies in hybrid cars purchases renewable energy certificates to offset 100% of their power consumption.

Pies at Pizza Fusion are a little on the pricey side because rather than buying cheap crap ingredients they are purchasing local and organic ingredients. they also offer Vegan cheeses and gluten-free crusts and desserts. I have to say that as someone who was previously on a gluten-free diet, this is a great idea! Pizza is a huge miss for people with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Pizza Fusion offers gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and lactose free menu items. Good for them, but I would like to see the prices come down a bit if it is at all possible.
Pizza Fusion is also on Twitter, and they also have a location in Richmond, VA!

Mellow Mushroom is an Atlanta based pizzeria that has been around for about 30 years. They might not be the most organic pizza chain, but they certainly are making an effort on the VEG front. They offer tons of veg options. I have to say, that from a chain, Mellow Mushroom seems to have some way more casual business policies. That is, they seem less rigid in their quest for corporate conformity, while maintaining product consistency. They have a very laid back, and humorous atmosphere which I think is pretty refreshing for a chain restaurant. They have a totally psychedelic decor tons of excellent beers on tap and also feature events like live music and trivia nights.

My best friend Catherine turned me on to this place when we were in college together. We drove all the way to their only VA location in Charlottesville just to get a pie. I have to tell you, it was worth the drive, and the headache of traffic from the UVA football game. It was a delicious pie with a nice firm crust and a most memorable sauce. Catherine had worked at a Mellow Mushroom in before college and is now a manager at a Mellow Mushroom in Georgia. I would love to see them start living up to their hippy cultural cash in and start going a little greener! Mellow is also on Twitter.

I've gotta hand it to Pizza Hut and Papa Johns for acknowledging the growing desire for natural and organic ingredients. Pizza Hut is now offering a multi-grain crust made with five grains and hyping their "all-natural" cheese and meat toppings. Papa Johns is working the 100% whole wheat crust angle advertising that their whole wheat dough is made using Ultragrain flour, an award-winning, all-natural, 100-percent whole wheat flour.

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