By Tricia Dinkel
“Food snob” might sound like a pejorative term to most, but for Priscilla Lane-Rondeau, it’s nothing short of a badge of honor. Rondeau, owner of 900 Degrees Neopolitan Pizzeria in Manchester, New Hampshire credits growing up on a small “gentleman’s” farm – replete with carefully tended gardens, beloved livestock, and a distinctly do-it-yourself ethos – for her steadfast commitment to quality food, homespun comfort, and an ever-growing green ethos.
Located in one of Manchester’s historic old mills, 900 Degrees was launched in an effort to create pizza as they were originally conceived in Naples, Italy hundreds of years ago. The process is as familiar as it is timeless: using a wood-fired brick oven fired up to as high as 1200 degrees, the crew uses authentic, daily-made dough, fresh ingredients, and a cacophony of flavors local and exotic alike to create this classic dish the way it was originally intended. But that’s not all the restaurant offers. Other offerings at 900 Degrees such as soups and salads, pastas, appetizers and desserts are, like the restaurant’s famed pizzas, all made using local organic ingredients whenever possible.
But what truly sets 900 Degrees apart from the competition is the atmosphere: eschewing Formica tables and plastic chairs in lieu of charming arrangements that harken to a bygone time, Rondeau has created a unique dining experience to match the top-notch eats and delicious libations – including eight wines made from organically grown grapes.
After years working in a variety of fields, Rondeau has made good on her long-held dream of owning and operating her own restaurant, and doing it in as sustainable and community-minded a manner possible. Rondeau’s green efforts embrace the goal of consistently reducing the restaurant’s environmental footprint, with features including LED lighting and motion sensors throughout the restaurant, locally-sourced ingredients, a comprehensive recycling program, low-VOC paints and seals, water conservation efforts, just to name a few. They remain a beacon to restaurants throughout the region. In fact, 900 Degrees was the first restaurant in the New Hampshire Sustainable Lodging and Restaurant Program to be named an Environmental Champion.
The list of their accomplishments goes on and on, with the effects extending beyond what is done at the restaurant. The efforts that influence vendors toward sustainability are matched with efforts toward educating both staff and customers. Ultimately, the whole restaurant is an environmental education, teaching that sustainable practice can lead to delicious meals.
That, combined with their intrepid community involvement, puts 900 Degrees more than a few notches above the competition. And it’s a tradition Rondeau continues in their second 900 Degrees location in Epping, NH.
Learn more about their green initiatives at www.900degrees.com.
Tricia Dinkel is a staff writer for Green Alliance: www.gr/eenalliance.biz
|In April, 2013 900 Degrees Pizzeria employees participated in the New England Carbon Challenge’s Employee Challenge held by My Energy Plan™. 900º committed to 90,761 CO2 pounds to be reduced, and saved $9,144 in energy costs.|