Want some Sage advice? Meatless Monday is a great way for restaurants to increase business, create exciting new menus, and commit to their communities.
These are but a handful of reasons the Sage Restaurant Group joined the Meatless Monday movement. With eight restaurants stretching from Pittsburgh to Portland and recently featured as one of the “25 Coolest Multi-Concept Restaurants” by Restaurant Hospitality, Sage epitomizes all the benefits of going meatless.
Peter Karpinski, Sage’s Co-Founder and C.O.O., explains:
“Our restaurants’ involvement in Meatless Mondays is an extension of Sage Restaurant Group’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. We consistently look to donate our time, skills, knowledge and money to programs and causes that will better the communities we serve. Our chefs enjoy the challenge of creating new, meatless options for their guests and have come up with some really fantastic dishes.”
Second Home Kitchen + Bar, a Sage property in Denver, demonstrates how seamlessly Meatless Monday can be incorporated into a commercial kitchen. Executive Chef Jason Brumm, who took the helm at Second Home just a few months ago, was quick to embrace the movement. “It’s in my DNA to take the best local products and do as little as possible with them, so I really feel Meatless Monday is an opportunity,” he said. “I’m from Colorado, but I spent the last 15 years in the South, and the bounty of vegetables that comes out of the South is staggering. So Meatless Monday really works well with me.”
Meatless Monday can also be used as a conversation starter between a restaurant and its customers. Chef Jason puts a unique spin on Meatless Monday—he features only one vegetable each week—but he lets customers choose which vegetable via social media. “We like to poll our fans on Facebook. We’ll ask: ‘Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts or Beets?’ Then we tally up the votes and based on what people are saying, we make three or four dishes around one vegetable. We make it interactive.”
On a recent Monday, Brussels Sprouts was the winner, and guests enjoyed options such as Braised Brussels Sprouts with Smoked Mushrooms, Seared Brussels Sprouts with Onions and Shitake ‘Bacon’ in Stout Beer, and a Raw Salad of Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Hazelnuts, Colorado Honey Crisp Apples, Champagne Vinaigrette and a ‘snow’ of Parmesan.
“That’s what we love about Meatless Monday, it gives us an opportunity to work outside the box,” Chef Jason continued. “And folks in Denver love these flavors. Our restaurant is warm and comfy. A few weeks ago, we did an Artichoke Cassoulet. We flipped a traditional cassoulet and made it vegetarian with beans, fennel and squash. We have health conscious guests that seek out vegetable-oriented dishes for both lunch and dinner, and get very positive responses to our exploration of seasonal, local and organic veggies.”
Creating winning dishes seems to be a habit for Chef Jason. Just a few months ago, the Boulder, CO, native became the Executive Chef at Second Home by winning the “Mile High Melee” on Food Network’s Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell. “It’s been very positive,” he says, both of the new position and Meatless Monday. “Meatless Monday has continued to be a focus for us, both at SRG properties everywhere and Second Home Kitchen in particular, featuring specific vegetables and the many ways you can utilize them with textural and cultural contrasts. We continue to grow our Monday business by executing these and all our other dishes at a high level.”