The First USDA Certified Organic Fast Food Restaurant Opened in the SF Bay Area

By Mike Pomranz |

© The Organic Coup

A new crispy chicken sandwich-based restaurant that opened this month in Pleasanton, California, claims to be the nation’s first USDA Certified Organic fast food concept. The Organic Coup (named as a purposeful play on words) says beyond focusing on organic, they want to be a clean and sustainable fast food option supporting agriculture with a “positive effect on our planet.”

The always wonderfully skeptical people over at Modern Farmer decided to dig a little bit deeper into The Organic Coup’s claim. Apparently, “only a dozen or so” certified organic restaurants operate in the US, in large part because getting an entire restaurant certified is “a total mess” that “can be maddeningly unclear.” Not only does at least 95 percent of all food have to be certified organic, so do cleaning supplies, pest control and the like.

However, The Organic Coup said their restaurant is totally up to snuff. “Our facility is certified,” founder and CEO, Erica Welton, told Modern Farmer. “So [California Certified Organic Farmers] is looking at all food, beverages, pest, water filtration, cleaning products, all [standard operating procedures]. They look at packaging and all graphics where we are explaining organic, describing our products and our branding whenever we are using the CCOF or USDA logo.”

Probably helping The Organic Coup’s cause is that their menu is decidedly tiny, giving them fewer places to mess up their organic cred. All three of their meals revolve around a fried chicken breast, including their Coup Signature Sandwich, Coup Wrap and Coup Bowl. And there’s only one side: popcorn.

You’d be hard-pressed to find two bigger trends right now than fried chicken sandwiches and “clean” eating, so The Organic Coup seems to have a good chance of success, especially with all those organic-loving Bay Area hippies. In fact, the restaurant is already scouting a second location in San Francisco proper and hope to have 25 locations open by the end of next year. Because what’s more “clean and sustainable” than a business model built around aggressive growth?

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