Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department

News Release

March 2, 2011



Contact:  Lindsay Vidrine

Phone:   405-230-8414

Email:   Lindsay@TravelOK.com


Tulsa Cafe Becomes First Platinum Certified Restaurant

ECO Program Awards Elote Café with Highest Certification


Elote Café, a Tulsa restaurant nestled in the Art Deco district, furthered its commitment to sustainability by joining Encouraging Conservation in Oklahoma (ECO), the state’s premiere sustainable travel program. Elote is the first restaurant in the state to achieve platinum certification, ECO’s highest distinction in sustainability.


“Elote Café demonstrates that fresh, local food can be found at an affordable price,” said Deby Snodgrass, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. “Their business practices invest in their local community, which can only make Oklahoma stronger.”


The restaurant offers organically-fed meat, seasonal produce and local pastries as part of their innovative menu, but the sustainability extends beyond food. The restaurant engages in a thorough recycling and composting practice. The restaurant’s bar is the only one in the state made of 100 percent recycled materials. Also, leftover oils are recycled into fuel for vehicles that use biodiesel.


“People do want to be good to the environment, and we make that easy for people,” Elote Owner Libby Auld said. “We take the difficult steps out of it for them.”


The restaurant opened in May 2008 and focused on creating a fusion of healthy Mexican-inspired dishes that respected the environment. Auld used her past culinary experience to create a unique menu that removes the uncertainty about eating healthy and being green.


“We want to show people that being green and being healthy does not impact your pocketbook,” Auld said. “We can give a better quality product without raising the costs.”


Since that time, the restaurant has expanded its space and its hours but Auld still finds inspiration for sustainability through her love for nature. She said she hopes other businesses will find similar motivation for being green.


“Sustainability is important to me because looking back on my favorite moments in life they were all spent in nature,” Auld said. “I hope that because of Elote's green efforts other restaurants will begin to make changes and be more responsible for their environmental impact. Positive environmental business practices can be easy and cost effective.”


Since 2009, the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department and Department of Environmental Quality’s ECO Certification program has promoted, developed and encouraged sustainable tourism throughout the state. ECO Certification requires applicants to meet set criteria and be reviewed by a national certification board. A certification level of silver, gold or platinum can be awarded, based on the level of sustainable practices the applicant chooses to implement.


The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department (OTRD) is working to advance the exceptional quality of life in Oklahoma by preserving, maintaining, and promoting our natural assets and cultural richness. The department is the steward of the state park system and also promotes Oklahoma as a travel destination through many award-winning programs. To learn more about Oklahoma Tourism visit www.TravelOK.com or follow us at www.Facebook.com/TravelOK or www.Twitter.com/OklahomaTourism.



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