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Ocean Friendly Restaurant Spotlight: Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant in San Diego!

by Vicki Conlon, OFR Program Lead

Mikey Knab is the Director of Operations for Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant, which is located in the Kensington neighborhood of San Diego. Mikey registered the business as an Ocean Friendly Restaurant to align their practices with their values for a healthy environment and ocean. Mikey’s dedication to his employees and community led him to establish a non-profit organization called Business for Good that helps small and medium size businesses have a united voice in their community.

Ponce’s Restaurant is taking sustainability to the next level and is currently developing resources and suggestions for other restaurants that need to switch from polystyrene and plastic straws to more eco-friendly products. “It’s not more expensive to switch to sustainable products if you do it right. Prices are only going down, and the list of vendors is expanding,” Mikey said. He also worked with the Surfrider San Diego County Chapter and fellow restaurants to advocate for the successful “Fight the Foam” campaign that lead to a ban on polystyrene take-out ware in the City.

Mikey spoke in front of the San Diego City Council prior to both votes for the ordinance that was initiated by the Surfrider San Diego County Chapter. He addressed the fact that smaller “mom and pop” restaurants can survive and be successful while adopting the Ocean Friendly Restaurants criteria. In addition, Mikey is also a supporter of amending the California Health Code so that customers can bring their own reusable containers for take-out food.

Ponce’s has also adopted some innovative practices to increase their positive impact for the ocean. They adhere to very strict recycling practices and work with a local compost hauler to ensure that food waste doesn’t go to the landfill. Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant and Mikey Knab are truly showing what it means to be Ocean Friendly and run a successful community business!