If the neon pink couch and a James Beard award-winning chef wasn’t enough to draw you into Rifrullo Café before, the Brookline eatery has a new reason to warrant a visit. As of this month, Rifrullo Café had achieved the 3 star Certified Green Restaurant® recognition by the Green Restaurant Association.
The Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a national non-profit organization, grants certification to establishments that meet certain sustainability standards in categories such as energy usage, waste disposal, and plant-based menus. Restaurants earn points from taking various actions within these categories, and their point totals determine what level of certification they earn.
Rifrullo’s sustainable initiatives include installing aerators on their faucets to decrease water usage, utilizing energy efficient LED bulbs in the kitchen, and part of restaurant’s electricity consumption is sourced from renewables. In fact, the café’s iconic pink couch contributes to their goal of sustainability as well, as it was passed down and reused from Rifrullo owner Colleen Suhanosky’s father’s own restaurant.
After taking 56 environmental steps and earning 194 green points, Rifrullo has received 3 star Certified Green Restaurant® recognition, well over the required 175 total points throughout the eight categories of possible change.
Rifrullo Café is the only commercial restaurant in Brookline with this recognition, but Suhanosky hopes to continue expanding green initiatives throughout the area.
“Our mission at Rifrullo is to embrace our community, create as much value as possible and make memorable experiences. At the same time we are using quality ingredients supporting our local growers and doing our best to control waste management. We are diligently working to be a model for responsible food consumption and production. My strategy when I opened Rifrullo in 2013 was to grow together as a community and share the pride. We are passionate about eating mindfully, seasonally and deliciously.”
Suhanosky was encouraged to reach this milestone by Brookline resident Anne Sudduth of Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants, a small firm that specializes in sustainability efforts. According to Sudduth, “Rifrullo was already taking great initiative with their sustainable practices; this certification expanded this work, and brings them into the well-deserved spotlight. We know that consumers want to buy responsibly; 84% of people say that the environmental impact of their purchases matters to them.”
While Rifrullo may be the first to do so, we will hopefully be seeing more area restaurants looking to make sustainability a priority. For now, customers can feel good about patronizing a cafe that is conscious about its impact on our earth, while also sinking their teeth into a delicious grilled cheese sandwich and freshly made keto-cookie.
By Casey Maslan, a junior in the Environmental Studies department at Boston College, and intern at Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants.