In our interview with Chef and restaurant owner Justin Cucci, we talked about anything from avocados to retro popcorn ceilings. Although there were more than a few moments that really stood out to us, here are a few key takeaways from our conversation with Justin:

1. Doing the right thing is about doing the right thing, not receiving praise.

 It’s easy to forget that having access to resources from around the world comes at a cost. Sourcing locally is something that has been done for millions of years. It’s better for the environment and it is more respectful to the earth. According to Justin sourcing locally shouldn’t be something that’s put on a pedestal : It’s something that should be done because it’s natural and it’s the right thing to do.

 2. When it comes to designing a restaurant, concepts and themes aren’t the same thing.

Justin can’t stand themes. To paraphrase his words, themes are convoluted and concepts are loose. Concepts provide room to grow. Within Edible Beats, he wants to allow his restaurants to evolve on their own. The hope is that concepts welcome more people in, rather exclude people the way themes can.

3. It’s easy to talk the talk, but harder to walk the walk.

Sometimes restaurants find one thing about themselves that is sustainable and then they capitalize on it. Justin encourages consumers to ask the right questions. Does this restaurant compost? Where is their energy coming from? Do they recycle? There’s more to being a sustainable restaurant than cooking.

4. Honoring a building’s history sometimes means sacrificing one design decision for another.

Popcorn ceilings may not be as elegant as low ceilings, but Justin says it’s better to honor the history of a building than to be expected. The buildings that house Justin’s restaurants have been given a second life.  He admits that there are times that it may be appealing to cover up a wall, but that there’s no point in overly complicating something that seems to have worked perfectly on its own for years.

For Justin’s complete interview check out our  Extended Interview with Edible Beats’  Justin Cucci.