The Green Dining Alliance is excited to announce the first-ever “Green Dining District” – a special business district or designated community in which 25% or more of all independently-owned dining establishments are GDA-certified. Maplewood’s Special Business District (SBD), on Manchester spanning from Southwest Avenue to Sutton Boulevard, is now the nation’s first green dining destination.

WATCH – FOX2’s coverage of the nation’s first green dining district:

Brian Pelletier, owner of Kakao Chocolates, on FOX2 news

Brian Pelletier, owner of Kakao Chocolates, on FOX2 news


Rachelle L’Ecuyer, the Manager of the Maplewood Special Business District, is the GDA’s community champion. Through her work, the GDA was able to partner with the City of Maplewood SBD, which is subsidizing its restaurants’ GDA membership fees, helping to encourage more restaurants to join the greening effort.

So far, eight restaurants are already participating and more are projected to join through the summer and fall. St. Louisans can choose Maplewood with sustainable dining in mind, and explore a whole new form of local, eco-tourism.

Maplewood is already a destination for dining, shopping, and artisan goods like Kakao Chocolate. Now, Maplewood also prides itself in being this first district to commit to restaurant sustainability on a community-level scale. The Special Business District intends to see the majority join the GDA by the end of 2014.

In Maplewood, collaboration has always been the key to success (photo credit: FOX2 News)

In Maplewood, collaboration has always been the key to success (photo credit: FOX2 News)

The GDA’s relationship with Maplewood started at the very beginning of the program, when Schlafly Bottleworks became one of the program’s flagship members in 2012. Schlafly sustainability champion and GDA Steering Committee member Tom Flood contributed toward the program’s development and growth. With early support from Maplewood’s City Council and Councilman Barry Greenberg, the GDA has cultivated a strong partnership with the City of Maplewood, and is now able to educate and connect the green restaurants along the strip.

As the GDA looked at the landscape of St. Louis and its distinctive neighborhoods, it became clear that a lot more could be accomplished together rather than as individual entities. Green Dining Districts create opportunities for collaboration, shared resources, and co-promotion. Neighboring restaurants may be able to combine their trash, recycling, and compost services to get a reduced rate – or they might be able to team up and place one large order together as a buying group for a better price. 

Check out these GDA establishments* the next time you cruise down Route 66:


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*some members fully certified, some pending certification

About the Green Dining Alliance

The Green Dining Alliance is a restaurant sustainability certification program of St. Louis Earth Day that works with restaurants to reduce their environmental impact and set goals for money-saving efficiencies. By considering all areas of operations, the program puts strong emphasis on reducing, recycling and composting restaurant waste, as well as sourcing sustainable food, to-go ware and cleaning supplies.

St. Louis Earth Day is a non-profit 501c3 organization whose mission is to make every day earth day by cultivating environmental stewardship and engaging individuals, governments, businesses, schools and the non-profit sector in celebration, education and action to support a healthy and sustainable future.

Green Dining Alliance program sponsors include the St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District and Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Blue Skies Recycling, Sauce Magazine, St. Louis Composting and The Trio Foundation.

From the diner perspective, how dreamy would it be to walk down your favorite block and know that every restaurant recycled, banned Styrofoam, and used energy efficient lighting? Want your community to be next? Contact Olivia at or 314.877.8608 to get things started.