Organic & Locally Sourced: Eco-Friendly Pizza that Tastes Good

You're an environmentally friendly person. You go to farmers markets, you joined a CSA, you patronize chef-run restaurants that locally source their food, but sometimes you just want a slice of pizza, plain and simple. Question is, can a pizzeria be eco-friendly and locally sourced? In short, yes. Where? Santa Monica and Hollywood.

Florida-based Pizza Fusion says they are "saving the earth, one pizza at a time." A cute sentiment, indeed, buty they've been exemplifying a franchise restaurant model by doing a fresh, organic earth friendly pizza concept for a few years now, opening up eateries in ten states, including California with two found in the Los Angeles area, and it seems to be catching on.

For the mother-brother-sister trio that is the Orlando family, the idea of opening an eco-friendly restaurant together was a dream, but it was just a matter of how and what. Once they caught wind of Pizza Fusion, they flew out to Fort Lauderdale to meet the owners, taste the food and familiarize themselves with the eco-franchise concept. "I can totally see this happening for our family," said Michele Orlando, the daughter in the family who manages the restaurant, recounting her visit. "It was a really nice match of personalities, concepts, ideas and visions and now here it is."

Orlando, who has worked at Swingers, Buddha's Belly and Beechwood, then set off to open a store in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard. Unlike many franchises and chains, Pizza Fusion doesn't source food from one distribution point, with food being trucked, you must find local vendors. For example, vegetables come from local organic farms like Heath & Lejeune and meat must be meet ethical guidelines and comes from local providers like Premiere Meats. The wine list carries a combination of organic, vegan and sustainable options as well as gluten free and natural beers (they also have sojutinis).

Even the design of the restaurant must be focused to be eco-friendly, from the floors, the paint on the wall, the energy efficient kitchen equipment, light bulbs and furniture. Because the Orlandos don't own the building, they can't install solar panels, so they buy wind credits to offset their carbon footprint. "It's hard when you're in an industrialized city to actually have a windmill next door to tap in to and use it," noted Michele.

As for the food, it's very good and we wished their delivery zone reached further than parts of Hollywood and WeHo. Every type of eater can enjoy a slice of pizza here, from meat eaters and cheese lovers to vegans and those who live gluten-free (they keep strict guidelines for the latter two in order to not contaminate the foods). Vegan cheeses include Follow Your Heart from Canoga Park and the most-talked-about Daiya.

Orlando's Pizza Fusion is at 7950 W. Sunset Blvd., #104, L.A., CA 90046. Another location, under the ownership of a different franchiser, is at 2901 Ocean Park Blvd. Ste 123, Santa Monica, CA 90401.