It’s about sustainability, delicious sustainability.
“Food is what brings people together. It should always be celebrated and made special through delicious food and impeccable customer service. I want customers to not only feel at home in a pleasant atmosphere, but also know that they are contributing to the betterment of the environment,” said Walter Godfrey. “When a patron compliments our food and mission of sustainability, it’s a homerun for us. My goal is for customers to enjoy our food while embracing our efforts towards healthy living and environmental awareness.”
As head of operations for Neo Burrito, Godfrey and the company stand at the crossroads of the farm-to-table movement, a growing scene and tightly held sentiment that permeates the culture of Asheville and greater Western North Carolina.
“My goal is for customers to enjoy our food while embracing our efforts towards healthy living and environmental awareness.”
—Walter Godfrey, Neo Burrito
“Our motto has always been, Making the world a better place, one burrito at a time. We do our best to provide fresh ingredients to customers by utilizing local farms around the area, and also our own farm,” Godfrey said. “I strongly advocate the growing demand for farm-to-table restaurants and feel that the market has shifted towards this concept. Neo Burrito was a pioneer in the Asheville culinary scene with the idea of utilizing locally sourced food and being environmentally conscious. More restaurants have already adopted the local ingredients motto, but I foresee many places also embracing a shift towards sustainability as we’ve already done.”
With three popular locations around the city, Neo Burrito aims to be at the forefront of what it means to be a positive influence on Asheville, as it has become a well-known beacon for green and sustainable businesses.
“Our mission is to provide an example of sustainability for others to follow in order to maximize the impact on the environment. In order to achieve this, we constantly reach out in the community to partner with businesses, friends, and clients to form long-lasting relationships,” Godfrey said. “The goal is not only to provide a quality product, but also reduce the amount of waste in terms of electricity, water, and food. Our Biltmore Park location has solar panels that decrease our electricity usage and tanks that collect rainwater for use in toilets. We compost food from each store and take it to our farm where it is reused as soil and feed. The cars and trucks in our fleet are fueled by vegetable oil that is taken from the stores and processed through our filtration system.”
Originally from nearby Arden, and having lived in Asheville most of his life, Godfrey has seen the city change from a once-forgotten business town to a sprawling metropolis, one of craft beer, culinary, and creative innovation, all cradled by the ancient mountains of Western North Carolina.
“Asheville provides a big-city feel in terms of the diverse backgrounds and cultures of people living here, but it has a small-town vibe because of the focus on local businesses and building an integrated community,” he said. “I love being able to go to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a quick drive during the day or a weekend hike or mountain biking excursion. Western North Carolina is blessed with a gorgeous landscape of mountains, waterfalls, cities, suburban areas, and farms. There is something here for people of all ages, and that’s why it has become such a popular tourist spot and place to live.”
And with Neo Burrito’s ever-evolving and green-minded business practices, Godfrey looks at his continuing experience within the culinary industry as something not only worthwhile, but also genuinely meaningful.
“The culinary industry is a great environment, but is full of stress, turnover, and changes. Most of all, this field has taught me to adapt and ensure that patrons are happy, while also staying true to our concept,” he said. “Today’s society is fast-paced, and sometimes it’s a struggle to keep up with the ‘next best thing.’ Over time, however, I’ve learned that consistency is key not only in a workplace environment, but also on a personal level when things are constantly shifting. Yes, it’s important that things don’t become stale or common, but confidence in a product or idea is what fuels the motivation to succeed.”
Another delicious, sustainably-created meal at Neo Burrito. NEO BURRITO PHOTO