Local Restaurants Taking a Pledge to be More Sustainable

These 22 Detroit restaurants are set to undergo sustainability changes and reduce food waste.
Photograph by Chuk Nowak

Make Food Not Waste is a non-profit that prepares and serves dishes to those in need of food, and they are currently working with international sustainability organization The PLEDGE on Food Waste to help restaurants become certified in reducing food waste and being more sustainable. Smaller scale restaurants can also register with The PRIMER on Food Waste — a “bite-sized version of The PLEDGE”.

Below is a list of seven local eateries certified to be a part of this global movement —  the first restaurants in the U.S. to do so! Plus, 15 others that are also working to get certified.

Oakland University Dining 

Three of Oakland University’s dining halls received Gold level certification: Oakland Center, Hillcrest Dining Hall, and Vandenburg Dining Hall. OU helps students enjoy convenient on-campus dining while committing to reduce food waste. Oakland University, 318 Meadowbrook Road, Rochester; 248-370-2100; oakland.edu.


Receiving Silver level certification, Alchemi of Royal Oak was honored nationally for its waste-reduction measures. The Thai and Indian restaurant is home to a wide menu of food and drinks, specials, catering, and private events. Alchemi, 215 South Main St., Royal Oak; 248-675-8875; alchemiroyaloak.com.

Johnny’s Speakeasy 

Also owned by Chef Johnny Prepolec of Alchemi, Johnny’s Speakeasy received Silver level certification. Connected to Alchemi, the short but broad menu has it all. Pair a cocktail with a handmade pasta, shareable snack plate, or seafood meal, and don’t miss out on dessert. Open Thursday-Sunday. Johnny’s, 215 South Main St., Royal Oak; johnnysroyaloak.com.

Sylvan Table

Sylvan Table received Silver level certification for its waste reduction efforts. The unique American-style restaurant resides on five acres of farmland, where more than 100 crops are grown. The restaurant has been involved with The PLEDGE program since November 2022 and has already reduced food waste by 22%, preventing over 18,212 kg of CO2 emissions in its first four months of partnership. Sylvan Lake, 1819 Inverness St., Sylvan Lake; 248-369-3360; sylvantable.com.

Folk Detroit

According to its website, Folk Detroit is “dedicated to providing a unique dining experience that prioritizes our customers, team, and community while minimizing our environmental impact.” The vibrant café received Bronze level certification for food waste minimization. Along with its rotating dine-in menu, Folk offers a wine shop, catering, takeout, and private dining events. Open seven days a week. Folk Detroit, 1701 Trumbull, Detroit; 313-742-2672; folkdetroit.com. 

More Participating Restaurants

There are multiple other local restaurants following suit of the first certified seven. Below are metro Detroit eateries registered to partner with PLEDGE or PRIMER, but that have not received an official certification status yet.

The Apparatus Room at Detroit Foundation Hotel

Located in the Detroit Foundation Hotel, The Apparatus Room is currently registered to participate in Make Food Not Waste. The restaurant was once the garage for the headquarters of the Detroit Fire Department, and now offers a breakfast, dinner, dessert, and beverage menu featuring wines, beers, and non-alcoholic options. The Apparatus Room, 250 W Larned St., Detroit; 313-800-5600; detroitfoundationhotel.com.


Women-owned café BasBlue offers an all-day menu featuring “farm-to-table offerings, homegrown coffee, and signature cocktails.” Enjoy shareables, sandwiches, salads, and more. Open Tuesday-Saturday. BasBlue, 110 E Ferry St., Detroit; 313-474-1883; basbleus.com.

Brooklyn Street Local

This brunch restaurant is a small space with much to choose from — with an espresso bar, unique beverage menu, bakery and sweets selection, breakfast classics, lunch options, and alcoholic beverages. Find them on Instagram: @brooklynstreetlocal. Open Wednesday through Sunday. The Brooklyn Street Local, 1266 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-262-6547; brooklynstreetlocal.com.

Good Cakes and Bakes  

Owned by April and Michelle Anderson, Good Bakes and Cakes is a bakery committed to providing baked goods to community, using “organic and locally-grown produce when available.” You can order from the menu or create a custom baked treat. Pastry chef April Anderson has baked for Oprah, been on panels at CGI America, and was the pastry chef for the James Beard Media Awards in NYC. Open Wednesday through Saturday. Good Cakes and Bakes, 19363 Livernois, Detroit; 313-468-9915; goodcakesandbakes.com.


Named Restaurant of the Year in Hour Detroit’s March 2023 issue, it’s no surprise to see that Madam has elevated its already sophisticated menu with registration to participate in reducing food waste. Located in Daxton Hotel, Madam serves a variety of menus — ranging from breakfast to dinner to lounge. Pair with a dessert and drink item. Madam, 298 S Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-283-4200; daxtonhotel.com.


This butcher shop and restaurant’s mission is to reconnect directly with farmers, animals, and land — while serving as an educational resource about sustainable consumption. Open Thursday through Sunday. Marrow, 8044 Kercheval Ave., Detroit; 313-513-0361; marrowdetroit.com.

University of Detroit Mercy Dining (Metz Culinary Management)

Metz Culinary Management works closely with local partners and vendors to source sustainable ingredients for both on and off-campus students. You can learn more about the university’s meal plans and local farm partnerships on their website. University of Detroit Mercy, 4001 W. Nichols Road, Detroit; 313-993-1245; udmercymetz.com. 

Saffron De Twah

“Detroit’s Modern Moroccan Bistro” is owned by Palestinian-Egyptian-American chef Omar Anani. Saffron De Twah is a Halal bistro with a wide menu featuring one-bowl tangies, sandwiches, and starters. Featured in Hour Detroit’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants, the bistro is committed to community and sustainability. Open Monday-Friday. Saffron De Twah, 7636 Gratiot Ave., Detroit; 586-359-6138; saffrondetwah.com.

Sister Pie

Located on a corner in Detroit’s West Village, Sister Pie is a bakery dedicated to keeping things fresh and creative. With a constantly changing menu to accommodate local agriculture and daily handmade pie dough, it’s clear Sister Pie cares about community. Find treats like pie, small and large cookies, muffins, scones, and more on their website … and for more hands-on experience, you can sign up for a pie making class with them this fall! Sister Pie, 8066 Kercheval Ave., Detroit; 313-447-5550; sisterpie.com.

Sweet Potato Sensations

What began as a Thanksgiving dinner compromise between newlyweds turned into a successful bakery of over 30 years. With an option to choose between the Sweet Tooth or the Savory menu, there are plenty of unique treats to pick from. Try pies, cakes, ice creams, and cookies of multiple flavors and sizes. Open Friday-Sunday. Sweet Potato Sensations, 17337 Lahser Road, Detroit; 313-532-7996; sweetpotatosensations.com.


With locations in both Ann Arbor and Detroit, Avalon is working to minimize food waste across the state. The café and kitchen fill a selection of dining needs – with coffees, breakfast classics, pastries, pizza, and a brunch menu! Avalon, 120 E Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-263-2996, 1049 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-285-8006; avalonbreads.net.

Baobab Fare

According to its website, Baobab Fare is a “celebration of East African food & culture.” Owned by a couple from Burundi, Baobab has a wide menu with deep ties to culture and community. Alongside dining options, the restaurant participates in local events, which can be found on their website and newsletter. Open Tuesday through Sunday. Baobab Fare, 6568 Woodward Ave. Suite 100, Detroit; 313-265-3093; baobabfare.com.

Miss Kim 

Opened in 2016, Korean restaurant Miss Kim serves food “rooted in Korean tradition and adapted to showcase Michigan’s bountiful produce.” Enjoy fried tofu, smashed potatoes, pork belly bibimbob, soy butter rice, and more. Open every day except Tuesday. Miss Kim, 415 N 5th Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-275-0099; misskimannarbor.com.

The Congregation

The Congregation is currently signed up for PRIMER. Choose from multiple drink menus offering coffee, tea, and bar specials. Pair with a bagel, sandwich, salad, or shareable. Check out the seasonal menus as well. Open Tuesday through Sunday. The Congregation, 9321 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit; 313-307-5518; thecongregationdetroit.com.


Argentinian street food restaurant Empacho is also signed up for PRIMER. Order empanadas of all kinds, and make sure to save room for their Alfajor Italian Meringue with dulce de leche. Find more on their Instagram: @empacho_detroit. Open seven days a week. Empacho, 2761 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 313-451-5503; empacho.us.

To learn more about The PLEDGE and The PRIMER, visit makefoodnotwaste.org or contact info@makefoodnotwaste.org.