My name is Justin Vrany, and I was the owner of a restaurant called Sandwich Me In (SMI). Ever since I was a young child I had always wanted to be a chef and restaurateur. Now that I have my own children, I am making decisions that will help our communities grow toward a sustainable future.
In the past 15 years, working in establishments such as Hot Chocolate, Ritz Carlton, Nick’s Fish Market, and Cantigny Club House, I had developed a keen knowledge of how food should taste and how products should be purchased. When developing the restaurant, I came to the conclusion that we had no other choice than to start teaching our friends, families, and neighbors on what our current food, energy, and waste systems were/are doing to our health and environment.
All of SMI’s waste was composted or recycled, and in the 3 years we were open, we sent no garbage to the dump. Throughout the season, the raw vegetable and fruit compost were given to family farms to be used as compost for the next season’s fertilizer. Our electrical energy was completely powered by renewable energy, and all of our used oil was recycled in bio-diesel engines. All of the furniture and equipment in the restaurant was purchased used or refurbished. In a typical 1400 sqft build-out, 2 dumpsters of garbage go to the dump and we used only a ¼ of a dumpster.
All of our delicious food was made in house from scratch and sourced from local farms such as Gunthorp Farms, Quarter Circle Seven Ranch, and Local Folks Farm. We had a dynamite pulled pork sandwich that was smoked for 13 hours, lathered in our homemade BBQ and placed on a fresh baked black strap molasses wheat roll. Another delight was our vegan black bean and brown rice burger with whole grain mustard. And I almost forgot, all of our drinks were made in house too.
We estimate that we had lowered our carbon foot print by about 90% of what a typical quick service restaurant would have used in one day.
In July of 2015, I sold the restaurant to spend much-needed time with my family. It is 3 years later, and the next chapter of SMI will be with my family as we discover all that makes up this melting pot of a great country.
I’ll be serving up twice a week with sustainable practices and cooking on the road. Tuesdays and Thursdays get your fill of sustainable practices and cooking while on the road.
There will be more for you to learn about our journey soon