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February 28, 2019

3 minutes read

Tips from Phipps: Leadership Circle’s Newest Member Takes a Forward-Thinking Approach to Help People and the Planet

Earlier this year, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens joined the Leadership Circle by sourcing exclusively certified higher welfare chicken and turkey for their restaurant, Café Phipps. I spoke with Chef Amy Reed, General Manager at Café Phipps, to learn how serving higher welfare products has further strengthened the sustainability of their dining operations. By serving higher welfare animal products as part of a plant-centered menu, Phipps is aligning their food choices with the values of the conservatory.

To celebrate updates in sourcing and new menu items and to educate guests, Phipps shares their vision of sustainability with visitors throughout their dining experience. “In our café, we lead by example to engage visitors with sustainability messaging.” Amy said. “Our efforts are highlighted by signs around the café and in our menus, which are 60% vegetarian and include local and higher welfare options wherever possible. We take pride in the health and sustainability of our meals, but never sacrifice on flavor. We also do our best to have new and exciting plant-based options on our menu—such as asian jackfruit—as well as more familiar offerings—like a portobello sandwich—so that there’s something for everyone. ”

Cafe Phipps

Café Phipps service ware is 100% sustainable, using real plateware, silverware and cups, as well as plant-based cups if disposable ones are used. Adam Milliron

Menus continue to evolve at Café Phipps. Each year, Phipps finds ways to go even further by including more plant-forward and higher welfare options. As one example, Phipps decided to replace its chicken meatball hoagie with a new delicious portabella sandwich. “We have clientele that come in because they are excited about our new options. Because of what we’re doing, word is getting out and people are coming here looking for healthy, clean and tasty food.” Amy particularly loves serving new visitors. “I’ll have many folks come in who doubt the menu—and they’ll come back up after the meal and tell me how delicious their meal was! It always puts a smile on my face to see someone come to our café questioning whether they’ll like the meal and coming out the other side believing that healthy food can be tasty.”

Paul Wiegman

Paul G. Wiegman

Amy had also been looking to transition meat offerings to higher welfare options for awhile. “We used to serve conventional chicken. With Farm Forward’s help, we found suppliers in our area who sourced higher welfare meat, and then we evolved our purchasing parameters to better align with our animal welfare values. In the past, I’ve trusted product labels and when I found out that the products I was purchasing with labels like ‘humanely raised’ didn’t have substantial meaning—it broke my heart. We all need more education around higher welfare products as consumers so that we can make the most conscientious choices.”

Phipps’ approach meets each guest wherever they are in their journey. “It’s very important for us to lead with understanding and education and integrate sustainable messaging throughout the guest experience. With this communication approach tied to all of Cafe Phipps’ fresh, healthy menu choices, loyal vegan and vegetarian eaters see us as a destination as well as those who are looking to try healthier choices for the first time. We’re very proud to offer something for everyone. Our goal is to help our visitors take that next step to leading a better, healthier lifestyle and drive positive change in their community.”

Wiegman cafe photo

Paul G. Wiegman

“At the end of the day, you can’t have healthy people without a healthy planet. At Cafe Phipps, we are leading by example with our menus to show others how important it is to include food in your sustainability goals.”

Phipps is proud to be recognized in Farm Forward’s Leadership Circle.  To learn more about Cafe Phipps, located onsite at Phipps Conservatory at One Schenley Park in Pittsburgh, visit

Last Updated

February 28, 2022