At my house we use linen napkins instead of paper. It’s a classy look and saves on generating trash. Food scraps go into our composting bin. The dishwasher gets turned on when it’s full. I cook from scratch in small amounts so everything gets eaten in a timely manner. I feel right at home when I eat at the Iron Rabbit Restaurant & Bar, because the people there care about the environment and sustainability like I do. These practices are not new for the restaurant. The Iron Rabbit became a Thurston Green Business years ago, but the conversation continues to evolve and unfold.
Owner Christian Skillings and his professional team return to their core values every day when making decisions about the ways business is conducted. Preference is given to ethical and sustainable sourcing of food. The coffee being served is called Sweetheart, a blend from Olympia Coffee Roasting. The Iron Rabbit supports Olympia Coffee Roasting, which in turn supports the farmers who grow the coffee. Honey comes from Robbins Honey Farm in Lakewood. It’s delivered in large containers, which reduces overall packaging. Eggs come from Stiebrs Farms in Yelm. You can drink apple cider from Lattin’s and wine from Madsen Family Cellars. It’s a type of extended family – local businesses supporting each other.
You will find epicurean treasures of the Northwest on the menu. The Dungeness Crab Romesco Dip and Crab Corn Chowder are filled with Dungeness crab (not from other far away crabs). There’s craft beer with Northwest and nano-breweries like O-Town Brewing. The bar features regional distilleries. The food choices, like grass fed beef, are reflections of the desire to eat and live sustainably.
The restaurant actively seeks ways to recycle, re-use and use consciously. When diners are finished, dishes and linens are washed and food not taken home by the guests is put into the compost bin provided by the City of Olympia. All the to-go containers, cups and utensils are compostable – no Styrofoam here. Even the straws are compostable (Note: Don’t use one to stir your hot coffee. It will melt!) The continuing commitment to limiting the environmental impact provides challenges the teams strive to solve. The Iron Rabbit’s actual garbage is much less than the amount being recycled.
The Iron Rabbit believes that small, simple acts truly add up over time. Heat lamps are turned off during lower volume hours and certain lights are unplugged at night. The commercial dishwasher they purchased is energy-efficient. Skillings noted that more and more businesses that provide products are looking for ways to reduce the amount of packaging. “We work hard at doing this,” he shares. “It’s worth doing.”
Supporting the local community is another core value. The Iron Rabbit spreads its generosity to many groups including, but not limited to, the Family Support Center, the Olympia Symphony, GRuB, West Olympia Farmers Market, Olympia Family Theater, Harlequin, YWCA, Stonewall Youth, and Senior Services for South Sound. “We support sustainability in the community,” added Skillings who grew up right here in Thurston County.
The Iron Rabbit has been making delicious contributions to our community for the past twelve years. Skillings always wanted a place that was welcoming to friends, families and children – and had really good food. And, that’s what you’ll find. It’s heartwarming to know that his caring and attention to detail runs so deep. Many of the restaurant’s environmental practices may not even be noticeable to a guest, but that makes them no less important. The Iron Rabbit is ethically concerned, regardless. It’s important to them. “We made that choice,” Skillings noted, and the Iron Rabbit continues to evolve.
The Iron Rabbit listens to its guests as well and you are welcome to be part of the conversation. Sign up for the loyalty program called Rabbits Rewards. Get acquainted with the well-trained staff that enjoys benefits not usually part of restaurant jobs. Employees have paid sick time and can participate in health care and retirement programs.
Come in from the cold. Let the Iron Rabbit do the shopping, cooking and cleaning up for you. It’s a win all around.
Eat Well – Be Well Sponsored