When Nora Pouillon first walked the aisles of an American supermarket, she was stunned. In place of the fresh meat and greens of European shops, she found hormone-filled packaged beef and sad-looking tomatoes. Growing up a child of war on a farm in the Alps, the native Austrian learned early on that food is precious and healing. When she came to Washington D.C. in the 1960s, she sought out natural produce and meat at a time when few were paying attention to the benefits of organic food. In 1979, she founded what would become the first certified organic restaurant in the country. Diane sits down with pioneering chef Nora Pouillon.
In 1979, Restaurant Nora opened its doors in a 19th century red brick corner building in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. This site originally housed a grocery store and an upstairs apartment for the owners, and the current main dining room served as a stable for the horses that delivered the groceries.
The restaurant represents the vision of Nora Pouillon, who, with the help of her two partners, Steven and Thomas Damato, has always been a proponent of a sustainable lifestyle and believes that the most important element is organic, seasonal, local food prepared in a flavorful, balanced, healthy way.
In 1999, Restaurant Nora became the nation's first certified organic restaurant, which means that at least 95% of all ingredients must be produced by certified organic farmers, growers, and suppliers.