Humane Eateries Across America



Why it matters:  You can eat at these places knowing there’s a good chance you’ll find humanely raised meat on the menu (but always ask where the meat came from; sources change).

How it works:  I speak with chefs and owners about their menus or read menus online to determine if there is a steady commitment to serving ethically raised meat.

[Please note: this list is a work in progress. Let me know of any places that should be considered]

Alas, I cannot independently verify any restaurant’s humane claim


Alaska »

Fresh Sourdough Express (Homer) — This down-home, comfort food restaurant gets all of its meat from Delta Meat & Sausage, a family-owned meat producer and processer raising 100% grass-fed, Alaskan beef. Delta also sells Alaska raised pork, goats, even reindeer and yak.

Georgia »

Alligator Soul (Savannah) — An adventurous high-end restaurant committed to sourcing Georgia-raised meats and grass-fed meats. They also occasionally serve unusual items such as bison, elk, and ostrich.

Farm Burger (Atlanta) — Awesome burgers (I’ve had one) made from 100% grassfed beef raised in the Southeast U.S. “Our food makes ethical eating easy,” they say on their website. Farm Burger was also a sponsor (and caterer) at the 2014 Southeast Sustainable Livestock Conference. Three locations in and around Atlanta.

Massachusetts »

Tasty Burger (Boston) — Ditch the factory farmed beef at Fenway. Instead, have a Tasty Burger right outside the ballpark. This small chain (locations in Harvard Square and Southie, too) serves Certified Humane beef.

New York »

Applewood (Brooklyn) — This hearty, uber-local Park Slope restaurant doesn’t serve an ounce of factory farmed meat. The 100% grass-fed beef is from Harwick Beef in Massachusetts, the pastured chicken is from the Finger Lakes Region of New York, and the pork, lamb, goat, rabbit and veal are from small farms belonging to the Fancy Meats cooperative in Vermont. Chef David Shea and his wife also run their own small farm in upstate New York. Says David, “Farming is the next step, in a lot of ways… I still cook at Applewood one day a week, so to load up the car with our produce and cook food from our farm just tightens the circle a little bit.”

Blue Hill (Manhattan and Westchester Co.) — The Blue Hill restaurants were pioneers in farm-to-table fine dining, and chef/owner Dan Barber speaks widely on sustainable agriculture. Pork, lamb, chicken and eggs come from the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture (where the Westchester Co. restaurant is located), and the veal, chicken and goat come from Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington, Mass. (the Barber family farm).  Numerous other small New York farms provide additional meat, all of which is served “seasonally” — that is, according to the time of year when the animals are pastured and processed.

Grazin’ (Hudson, NY and Manhattan) — This is the first restaurant to be Animal Welfare Approved; ALL of the meat, eggs, and dairy used there is humane certified by AWA. Much of the meat comes from the farm that’s operated by the diner’s owner, Dan Gibson. More info hereNow two locations!

Meat Hook Sandwich Shop (Brooklyn) — An offshoot of the popular Meat Hook butcher shop, this sandwich shop in Williamsburg uses meats from the ethically raised animals sold at the butcher shop. Here’s a review.

Telepan (Manhattan) — Chef Bill Telepan breaks down whole heritage-breed pigs in the kitchen of his upscale restaurant on the Upper West Side. Here’s a nice video interview with him.

North Carolina »

Farm Burger (Asheville) — This small chain, based in Atlanta, serves burgers made from 100% grassfed beef raised in the Southeast U.S. “Our food makes ethical eating easy,” they say on their website. Farm Burger was also a sponsor (and caterer) at the 2014 Southeast Sustainable Livestock Conference.

The Eddy Pub (Saxapahaw) — A community-oriented pub located in a former mill building, the Eddy appears dedicated to sustainability and committed to local food. Firsthand Foods, a trusted source for pastured meat in North Carolina, is among the featured purveyors.

Rhode Island »

Farmstead (Providence, RI) — All the meat at this New England-centered restaurant is sourced from small-scale, family-owned New England farms. This makes sense, as they say on their website that “eating at Farmstead is a journey through the New England landscape and the rich cultural history of food in the Northeast.”

Vermont »

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill (Burlington, VT) — A farm-to-table gastropub that sources most of its meat from within Vermont. Here’s a list of their participating farms, so you can know exactly where the meat comes from.

Wisconsin »

Graze (Madison, WI) — “We chose the name Graze because grass-fed animals and rotational grazing are important to us,” says the website of this comfort food gastropub. All the meat (except the prosciutto!) comes from small farms within Wisconsin.



A Short Guide to Eating Out

You walk into a restaurant… determined to eat meat there only if it’s been humanely raised. You’re willing to go vegetarian if there’s no meat that matches your morals, but you hope they have something.

Ideally… you would have called the restaurant earlier, or looked at their website. The best time to ask about the meat is before you arrive.

If you can’t get information ahead of time, here are a few potential scenarios that could unfold at your table…

Scenario 1:  Helpful »

Waitress:  Hi, do you have any questions about the menu?

You:  I was just wondering if any of the meat served here is grass fed, pasture raised, or organic…

Waitress:  Hmmm… I’m not sure, let me check for you.

[She goes and checks, then comes back]

Waitress:  The chef says we offer a grass fed strip steak — it’s this one right here [she points to the menu].  But that’s about it. And nothing organic.

You:  Ok, thanks. I’ll have that steak. And thanks for checking for me.

[An ideal scenario. The eater’s question is specific and avoids the word “humane,” which can be interpreted differently. The server checks with the chef or owner, she doesn’t guess. And the eater thanks the server!]

Scenario 2:  Hazy »

Waiter:  Hi, what can I get for you?

You:  Oh, it says here on the menu that your pork is from Pretty Pastures Farm. I was just wondering if you know how they raise their pigs?

Waiter:  Sorry, I don’t. And I think the chef is too busy right now for me to ask.

You:  Ok, no worries. I think I’ll pass on that dish then. I’ll have the veggie chili instead.

[You take out your smartphone and jot down the name of the farm so you can research it later.]

Waiter:  You’re smart to ask, by the way. Between you and me, I think Pretty Pastures isn’t so pretty…

[An unclear scenario. The eater is skeptical about farm names – all of us should be – and doesn’t choose the meat because not enough is known about it.]

Scenario 3:  Hopeless »

Waiter:  Hi, ready to order?

You:  Yes, but before I do, I was just wondering if you guys serve any local meat?

Waiter:  Well, I think we get our chicken from around here.

You:  You’re not sure, though?

Waiter:  No…

You:  Oh. Would you mind asking someone?

Waiter:  Oh, no. Don’t tell me you’re like those annoying characters on Portlandia who want every last detail on how the animal was raised. We don’t have a “file” on each chicken we serve. And even if we did, I’ve got 10 other tables waiting for their food.

You:  You must be having a bad day.

Waiter:  You think?

You:  I’m so sorry. It’s just that I care about animals, and I don’t want my money to support the terrible conditions in which most farm animals are raised.

Waiter: Well, fine. I’ve heard about “factory farms” but I’ve never had anyone come in here asking about the meat…

[Note: A nightmare scenario – but an educational opportunity!]


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What's humane?


Everyone defines "humane" differently. Humaneitarian takes a broad, inclusive view: that "humanely raised meat" should at least come from animals that weren't raised in the standard, factory farm way.

So a humane restaurant might serve any of the following kinds of meat:

  • 100% grass-fed
  • Grass-fed, then minimally grain-finished
  • Pasture raised or raised outdoors on soil
  • Certified organic
  • Free range
  • Humane certified

Here's a page on meat labels that can help you navigate a restaurant menu.