San Marcos Green

From its refreshing green color to its inventive food (the wild salmon burger on a house-baked Challah bun is a known addictive substance) to its hip location in a restored 1920s bungalow, the Cool Mint Café has become a San Marcos institution. But the coolest aspect of all takes place far from the dining tables.

“We’re 100 percent committed to recycling,” explains owner Suzanne Perkins, “from the building on down.”

Perkins began by furnishing the Cool Mint house with lights, doors, doorknobs and wood salvaged from a Blanco farmhouse, and ended by placing a compost bucket at the right hand of each prep cook. All food scraps—including meat—are quickly converted into compost for growing produce used at the café. Perkins’s catering operation, which serves more than 500 meals per month out of the same kitchen, foregoes the paper and plasticware commonly known as “disposables” in favor of recyclables—even the ubiquitous Styrofoam clamshell has been shucked, replaced by packaging made from sugar cane and cornstarch by-products. “It costs a bit more,” she says, “but it’s very important to my customers.”

Catered events at the Cool Mint have included a 250-person reception for the writers and producers of King of the Hill, where classics of redneck cuisine were cleverly paired with recycled (and recyclable) décor making the reception raucous fun without leaving a trace of trash behind, white or otherwise.

415 Burleson St., San Marcos. 512-396-2665. .