A restaurant that not only serves delicious cuisine but is also does good for the environment? It sounds like a myth — like the unicorn — but there truly is such a place in Minneapolis. Owner Kim Bartmann has worked hard at making a name for the restaurant
Enerchange: The Red Stag Supperclub is the first LEED restaurant in the Cities. What prompted you to move in this direction?
Kim Bartmann: I was already interested in sustainable agriculture and other environmental issues; the built environment is, like the food system, a major contributor to our collective carbon footprint. So building a new restaurant was a great opportunity to explore that process.
Enerchange: Why is being environmentally conscious so important to you and the restaurant?
Kim Bartmann:I like clean air, living soil, and water, and consider those things basic human rights, things that we all deserve to have access to. I want to contribute to making the world a better place, and unfortunately my career direction took me into a place that is a big offender in terms of environmental damage. So at this point I want to do what I can do to help demonstrate that there’s another, more sustainable, way to do business.
Enerchange: What are some things that the restaurant does that is exclusively unique to the company?
Kim Bartmann:We’ve reinvented to northern supperclub, and serve amazing limousin beef steaks, and many other signature dishes made from other locally sourced products. We were one of five restaurants to partner with Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis to pilot their commercial composting program for restaurants in 2007.
Enerchange: You hold the annual Red Stag Block Party. How do you integrate the “green” idea to this event?
Kim Bartmann:We, again, serve locally sourced products, book local bands, make it a zero-waste event, and choose a local organization as our beneficiary.
Enerchange: If you don’t have the money to renovate a building to be LEED certified, what are some ways other shops can be greener?
Kim Bartmann: I think there is a legitimate argument that LEED isn’t more expensive than not. But, you can certainly use the LEED guidelines on site selection, air quality, materials selection, and energy and water efficiency to inform your choices in the building or renovating process. Many energy efficient technologies are becoming more affordable as the green building movement grows, and, if you take your operational costs into account, choosing the “green” way is a no-brainer. Choosing a healthier environment that also doesn’t have that “new car smell” is also a good idea for a restaurant in particular!
Enerchange: What are some areas that the Red Stag are looking to expand and be greener in the future?
Kim Bartmann: The Red Stag will be adding a private party room this fall, and we will do the buildout informed by the same process we used in the beginning, only now we know much more! We’ll use a lot of vintage lighting and an antique bar— using existing materials is pretty sustainable in my mind. In 2007, LEED didn’t recognize that, but now it does. The LEED system is growing along with its users, which is in itself more sustainable.