Chef Matt McPherson is bringing the first zero-waste restaurants to Boston.
Four years ago, Boston was introduced to its first zero-waste store, Uvida shop, founded by Maria Vasco. That zero-waste store has since had three locations and changed the landscape for sustainable Boston businesses.
Now, McPherson, who you might already recognized from Chopped season 46 is the mastermind behind Cafe Iterum and the newer, Detritus American Noodle Bar. While offering completely different menus, both of McPherson’s restaurants share one common goal.
To be a zero-waste restaurant.
What is zero-waste?
The straightforward term is exactly what you’d think. A zero-waste establishment produces no waste in operations. This means any energy, raw materials, carbon emissions etc. are fully recycled or composted back into the operations ecosystem.
Uvida is Boston’s first zero-waste shop and Cafe Iterum and Detritus American Noodle Bar are Boston’s first zero-waste restaurants.
How is a restaurant zero-waste?
A zero-waste restaurant’s most obvious challenge would be omitting food waste.
“I’ve always been very big about waste in restaurants,” McPherson, the Johnson & Wales educated chef, told Eater. “Fine dining is so wasteful because it’s all about presentation, always about making things look perfect. Why can’t you not only have something be perfect, but utilize the waste for that in making something else?”
Restaurants contribute about 15% of the food waste that ends up in landfills. This amounts to nearly 1,000,000 tons of annual food waste from an industry that profits off the sale of food.
Beyond its food, a restaurant must also look at composting and recycling opportunities. There is repurposing of water, packaging materials, electricity and more. McPherson strategically partners with local farms with shared values of reducing waste in the restaurant industry.
Cafe Iterum brings zero-waste dining to Eastie
You might already be familiar with McPherson’s Eastie establishment, Cafe Iterum. The cafe opened in fall of 2021 and has been a hit with Bostonians since!
Cafe Iterum uses seasonal ingredients and everything but the kitchen sink to avoid food waste. Enjoy farm-to-table American fare with a twist like Grandma Nancy’s Dish Pan Cookies or the heartier Chili Smashed Beat Bowl or Confit Salmon bowl accompanied with fresh herbs and pickled red onion.
Chef Matt McPherson’s Detritus American Noodle Bar
Detritus American Noodle Bar is McPherson’s other zero-waste concept. The noodle bar pop-ups are held at Cafe Iterum and present a great opportunity to savor and slurp the flavor of sustainability.
The rotating menu has included everything from ramen to udon in unique broths with seasonal veggies, slow-cooked meats, and fresh herbs. You can find more info on upcoming pop-ups for Detritus American Noodle Bar on their Instagram page*.
Find Cafe Iterum at 11 Father Jacobbe Rd, East Boston, MA, 02128
Mon-Fri from 6 AM- 8PM
Sat and Sun 7 AM- 8 PM
*Detritus American Noodle Bar pop-ups announced online