Kristofor Lofgren wants to move the conversation about sustainability in the restaurant industry “beyond just the food.” Lofgren founded Sustainable Restaurant Group in 2008 in Portland, Oregon, first with Bamboo Sushi, the world’s first certifiably sustainable sushi restaurant. QuickFish Poke Bar opened in 2016 as what he calls Bamboo’s fast-casual “deconstructed sushi in a bowl” sibling.
“Food needs to be more about impact than just art,” he says. “I think for a long time media looked at food as either art or a commodity. The commodity side being fast food, how cheap can it be and how tasty, how fast. The arts side being Eleven Madison Park or Alinea, how pretty it can be and all the negative space you can create on the plate. We really want food to be more about conversation about impact.”
Sustainable Restaurant Group has grown out of the City of Roses and now has locations in Denver with plans to expand in San Francisco and Seattle, an eventually, as Lofgren tells us, worldwide.
In June, SRG launched a carbon calculator dedicated to showing just how much carbon emission can be traced back to the food served at their restaurants, an important step at a time when climate change experts are calling for urgent decarbonization. We spoke to Lofgren about the possibilities of serving high-quality, sustainable fish to landlocked areas, what he’s learned from creating the carbon calculator and more.