New Haven Restaurant Goes Green and So Can You

Plus, how to keep pesky fruit flies away and a homemade cleaning solution

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Claire Criscuolo, the namesake behind New Haven restaurant Claire's Corner Copia, does a lot of the cooking at the corner of College and Church Streets.

"It's amazing.  I just love it," said Criscuolo.

Her passion has kept the restaurant going for more than three decades.

"Claire's is a vegetarian restaurant, but it's really first and foremost, I think a restaurant that has really good food.  Homemade food, the use of conscious ingredients," she said.

For Claire's, going green isn't just a fad.  The restaurant has been using organic produce in its recipes for decades.

"The less pesticides in the world we feel it will be better for the world and certainly for our children," said Criscuolo.

Her customers agree.

"They know the people who come here really value that but it still takes their commitment," said Elaine Ramshaw of Branford.

"I think it definitely influences people," said Michelle Harris of New Haven.

A few years ago, Claire's invested in double pained windows, energy star lights and fans.  You'll never see a plastic take out bag here and the to-go cups are compostable.

Claire also makes her own fruit fly deterrent and cleaning supplies.  The recipe calls for white vinegar, peroxide and tea tree oil.

"You can clean your counters, your floors, your cabinets.  It's wonderful."

It's that combination of good cooking and sustainability that keeps people coming back.

"I've been coming here for many years and I am a vegetarian and I enjoy the food and I also enjoy the environment," said Harris.

As for Claire, there are no retirement plans in her future.   She's just happy to do what she loves and help the environment at the same time.

"I think we all love our children and we know that if we want to do a better job leaving the world a better place than we need to do this.  I have no doubt in my mind it's the right thing to do," said Criscuolo.

Fruit Fly Deterrent Recipe:
*Equal parts cider vinegar and water with a shot of dish detergent.
*Leave solution in bowls near fruit

Homemade Cleaning Solution Recipe:
*Half gallon white vinegar
*1 cup of peroxide
*1 ounce tea tree oil
*1 ounce peppermint oil (for smell)

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