The GREENtrepreneur: Monica Ramsey and the Eco Cafe

ecocafeWhen you walk into Eco Cafe, you may not notice that the shelves are made from old steps, and the bar itself was built from used doors, all diverted from a land fill. These are just some of the hidden green secrets that put the “eco” in Eco Cafe. In fact, the name “Eco Cafe” was inspired when the building was renovated and owner Monica Ramsey refused to throw away existing materials in the process.

“I wanted to bring this building back to life,” said Ramsey. “This to me is what being green is all about. I reinvented the building using used materials—so that this beautiful 100-year-old wood didn’t get thrown away.”

Ramsey grew up in a home that valued recycling and these values have stuck with her throughout her new business. All food is composted, coffee grinds are provided to a farmer 4 blocks down the street, and all paper, plastic, and metal products are recycled. The napkins are washed and reused, providing a higher quality experience for customers. Chemical-free cleaning products are used and no water spray valves are used in washing dishes, saving water and energy at the same time. From educating her servers on sustainable best practices, to utilizing local foods from Farmers Markets, to the design and operations of her building, Eco Cafe is committed to providing an environmentally responsible service to customers.

But most importantly, how’s the food?

Exquisite. Each plate at Eco Cafe is a work of art. We found the same intentionality that went into renovating the building is also clearly present in preparing each dish. We tasted a vegan option, the “Mushroom Chimichurri,” an Argentinian sandwhich made with organic mushrooms, green peppers, spinach, onions, tomatoes, and parsley, and toasted on panini bread. We especially enjoyed sipping one of Ramsey’s famous natural juices. Mix and match any of dozens of fresh fruit juices to rejuvenate yourself at this healthy, natural restaurant.

“I rarely have to refill our soda machine in the store because people come in for our naturally refreshing juices,” said Ramsey. “Some children comment that they have never tasted juices so fresh before.”

We want to congratulate Eco Cafe for being the first certified LifeCity business in New Orleans and thank Monica Ramsey, Owner and Manger, for her leadership in our community. There’s no doubt that going green is not always easy for a business owner to do alone.

“Being green takes time but it brings you joy. My suggestion is to not be overwhelmed. Take little steps at a time.”

LifeCity card members can now pay patronage to this unique restaurant and support Ramsey while enjoying 10% off on the gourmet bistro food in a truly healthy and welcoming atmosphere. Together, LifeCity and companies like Eco Cafe can ensure that going green doesn’t just bring you joy—it brings you business.