Los Angeles Chapter

101 to the OFR Program

written by Joanna Burga

In the last few years I have had a deep yearning to give back to the environment and protect it and have gravitated toward people and causes who were dedicated to living more consciously. Toward the end of last year I decided to go to Surfrider LA chapter meeting at The Venice Waterfront where I learned about the OFR program. I kind of fell into this particular committee (they have others too and all are awesome) and could not be more grateful to be a part of this community where I have made awesome friends.  Stoked to tell you more about this great program!

The Problem

As more researchers have continued to show, there is more plastic in the ocean than ever before. There are literally trillions of pieces of plastic in the ocean, which are significantly impacting marine life and the ecosystem- from the small plankton, beautiful whales, birds and more. It irks me to keep learning about beautiful whales washing up to see and dying a horrific death because of having 50 lbs or more of plastic in their stomach or baby birds dying because their mom are accidentally feeding them plastic. I believe one of the best ways we are going to help the oceans, ecosystems, and all beings is to address the root of the issue- plastic and single use waste. 

The Intervention

OFR program is dedicated to increasing awareness and ultimately leading change in the behaviors of restaurants and all consumers to make scalable impact in decreasing plastic and other waste. Volunteers in the OFR program conduct walk throughs at interested restaurants and see if they meet the minimum 5 criteria of the program + 2 additional criteria out of a few options. The OFR program does its best to “give back” to these restaurants by hosting events at these businesses, spreading word of mouth, and promoting them when we go to enjoy their food and company!

What are the criteria to be an Ocean Friendly Restaurant?

Mandatory 5 Criteria 

  1. No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam). 
  2. Proper recycling practices are followed.
  3. Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining, and disposable utensils for takeout food are provided only upon request.
  4. No plastic bags offered for takeout or to-go orders.
  5. Straws are provided only upon request.

+ any two of the additional criteria: 

  • No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
  • Discount is offered for customers with reusable cup, mug, bag, etc.
  • Vegetarian/vegan food options are offered on a regular basis
  • All seafood must be a ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch or certified as sustainable.
  • Water conservation efforts, such as low-flow faucets and toilets, are implemented.
  • Energy efficiency efforts such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances, are in place.

Interested in supporting an Ocean Friendly Restaurant? Check out some of them below!

Located: 23 Windward Ave, Venice, CA

Come enjoy this laid back surf style sports bar for delicious food, local beer, and live music! OFR loves to host our Pau Hanas (happy hours) and OFR meetings here.

Check out those yummy onion rings! Also, their L.A. street corn on the happy hour is my favorite!

Located: 205 Ocean Front Walk,
Venice, CA 90291

This beach front restaurant feels like walking into a friends home with various cool areas to hang out and plenty of outdoor space with fun games! Super cool vibe in a great location!

My favorite dish is the grilled fish tacos. Yummmmm! Also, I’m a huge dog lover and there are always plenty around to love on :). 

Located: 395 Santa Monica Pl. Ste 321, Santa Monica, California

Walking into this restaurant feels like home. One of the owners Elliot has been so gracious to allow us to do multiple walk throughs to train our volunteers to continue growing the program. Elliot has a wealth of knowledge, is humble, giving, and will even share his recipes with you! 

I truly LOVE every dish I have tried here. Everything is fresh with delicious flavor. My current favorites are the yellowtail coconut ceviche and the pictured popcorn shrimp!

Located:  2003 Main St., Santa Monica, California 

DTC is a restaurant/cafe that I have been wanting to try since I’ve heard of them- and still need to! Check out their blurb below from their website.

“We serve fun, rustic, health conscious all-day breakfast and lunch, gluten-free and vegan fare, artisan baked treats, and our signature organic, locally micro-roasted coffee and wide selection of organic loose leaf teas. DTC Favorites include our breakfast burritos, açai bowls, salads and paninis, and of course, the DTC Sweet ‘n Salty Caramel Iced Coffee.” 

How can you resist checking it out after reading that and drooling over their pictures?!

Located: 8338 Lincoln Blvd. 
Los Angeles, CA

This restaurant is, “dedicated to serving expertly prepared poké and acai bowls, while incorporating the business principals of environmental stewardship, sustainable sourcing, and minimal waste into our day-to-day restaurant management”. 

I recently became the assigned point of contact for Sustainabowl through the OFR program so I am super excited about connecting AND eating all their yummy food! Also, LOVE their mission- Smart consumption. Ethical Production. Waste Reduction.

Find an OFR registered restaurant in the US near you by clicking HERE! 

Thanks for continuing to join me on this journey! 

Peace and love,


Instagram: @waveofconsciousness

More to explorer

Our Oceans. Our Restaurants.

 It’s pre-dawn; you’ve just wiggled into your wettie, made your way out past the break and are enjoying the serene nature