Article, Events, Plastic-Free, Sustainable Business, Sustainable News, Travel

Giving Tuesday: Bento Boxes & Planting Trees

Nov 29, 2020
Kelsey Pence
Contributing Author
Kelsey Pence
Contributing Author

Makoto Okuwa doesn’t need to be convinced. The world renowned chef has had a front row seat to the plastic-problem for years.

“When you are in Santa Monica, the ocean is a daily reminder of what’s at stake,” Okuwa said. 

Okuwa’s most recent accomplishment is Edobox, a new bento box experience located in the heart of Main Street Santa Monica. Edobox gives guests the opportunity to customize bento boxes by selecting four or six items from an impressively long list of Japanese-style dishes like tuna zuke, salmon truffle, and wild mushroom onigiri.

Boxed Water & Edobox are teaming up for Giving Tuesday to plant more trees! For each pick-six bento box ordered, we will plant three trees with the National Forest Foundation.

It was important to Okuwa to make sure his new restaurant didn’t contribute to the ongoing plastic problem. Edobox is offering Boxed Water Is Better as an option for carry-out orders! 

“As a community we all commit to a number of sustainable initiatives, such as recycling and composting rather than trash, and a striving towards zero waste,” he said. “We strive to be good citizens and do our best to take personal responsibility for environmentally friendly practices where and when we can. We are so glad to have options like Boxed Water that help to reduce plastic pollution.”

Adjusting to ongoing uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult across all business industries, but it’s been especially challenging for restaurants that have had to primarily rely on takeout service since mid-March of 2020. More and more restaurants are turning back to single-use. But single-use doesn’t have to be destructive to our planet. Is it still possible to provide people with unique culinary experiences from the comfort of their own homes?

A standard bento box is pretty basic: soup, salad and a meat or fish entree. Okuwa wanted to give people an option to get super-customized with their orders. And what better time to debut this idea than 2020, when people are already desperate for new ways to enjoy their dining experiences?

“We’ve created a fully customizable bento experience where guests can build their own bento however they choose, from more than 30 options,” Okuwa said. “We strive for high-quality food -- the same quality standards as my full-service restaurants -- in a fast-casual environment. We even just launched a vegan bento box.”

Okuwa also has other independent restaurants in Mexico City, Panama City and Sao Paolo, Brazil. He began brainstorming the concept of Edobox alongside his partners Scott Manlin and Sky Strouth well before the pandemic. The three share ownership in Meiso Hospitality and plan to continue to pursue other creative chef-driven Japanese cuisine concepts in the future, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated their implementation of Edobox, when it became apparent there was going to be an increase in demand for takeout service. 

“COVID-19 has been hugely impactful in our design of the restaurant, with safety considerations taken at every step,” Okuwa said.

Edobox opened for to-go orders in October. Contactless ordering has made the restaurant’s debut extremely safe and seamless. Guests are notified by text message when their order is ready and are given social distance pick-up options when retrieving their carry-out order.

“So far it’s been a really positive experience,” Okuwa said. “We’ve had a ton of repeat guests, which is a great sign. Our neighbors have been welcoming and the feedback has been great.” 

Don’t forget, order any 6-piece bento box from Edobox on Tuesday, December 1st, and you’ll automatically be adding three new trees to a national forest! Order online.

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