<< Back to designated restaurants

Steel Cactus

5505 Walnut Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15216
Email : events@steelcactuspgh.com
Phone : 4127096444

County : Allegheny
Neighborhood : Pittsburgh - Shadyside
County: Allegheny
Designation Level : Silver Designation
Owner/Manager : Terry Gerow

Sustainability Practices:


1 point Mandatory: We will/we pledge to display our Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant designation on our website, menu, and/or marketing materials

Restaurant's statement: Our restaurant will display our Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant designation through our website, menu and/or marketing materials and program decal.
1 point Mandatory: We will/we pledge to post the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant decal in a place visible to restaurant guests

Restaurant's statement: Our restaurant will display out Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant designation through our website, menu, and/or marketing, and program decal.
3 points We have adopted a comprehensive sustainability policy

Restaurant's statement: We are adopting a comprehensive sustainability poilcy
3 points We provide sustainability-related training and information to all new and existing employees

Restaurant's statement: Each employee that begins employment with us is trained accordingly
3 points We include updates on our sustainable actions within staff meetings

Restaurant's statement: We have staff meetings regularly and employees are brought up to speed on all related events
11 Points for General

Waste Reduction

4 points We track the amount of waste our restaurant produces and disposes and our progress on waste reduction

Restaurant's statement: We keep a waste log for kitchen items and we track, through the computers, our waste from the bar.
3 points We recycle/donate for reuse some of the following large materials/items: appliances, building materials, cabinets, countertops, windows, doors, flooring, mirrors, furniture, toilets, sinks

Restaurant's statement: Majority of equipment used behind the bar and in the kitchen is used/recycled
3 points We recycle/donate for reuse some of the following small materials/items: polystyrene/Styrofoam, light bulbs, batteries, aerosol cans, paint, computer systems, hardware, light fixtures, ink and toner cartridges

Restaurant's statement: Computer systems are all used purchases, when possible we buy recycled light bulbs and batteries.
2 points We buy at least one of the following products in bulk - no individually wrapped/portioned items: straws, to-go cutlery, or condiments used for in-house orders

Restaurant's statement: All products we buy is in bulk, especially straws, to-go silveware, etc.
3 points We sell or donate our used cooking oil

Restaurant's statement: Cooking oil is recycled after we have used it
1 point We post our daily specials or menu on a chalkboard/whiteboard as opposed to printing

Restaurant's statement: Any special we offer for the day is on a chalk board outside, as well as a large chalk board upon walking in to the restaurant
2 points We do not use plastic bags to bag take-out items or have instilled an "offer first" approach to bagging take-out items in plastic

Restaurant's statement: We ask if the customer would like a bag
1 point We purchase polystyrene foam or Sytrofoam containers (boxes and cups) that are made with post consumer recycled polystyrene

Restaurant's statement: To go boxes are recycled
3 points We purchase paper products and/or containers made from recycled content

Restaurant's statement: We buy recycled paper for our printer
2 points We do not serve water that is bottled in plastic

Restaurant's statement: We do not serve bottled water
2 points We use a paperless system to process guest orders

Restaurant's statement: We have just implemented a mobile app through NoWait that allows guests to process their order from an app
2 points We use a paperless ordering and billing for vendors where it is available

Restaurant's statement: eSysco, as well as by phone method to complete orders for the bar, produce, etc.
3 points We serve dine-in food and beverages with multi-use rather than disposable dishware (plates, cups, utensils, ramekins, etc.)

Restaurant's statement: We do not offer disposable dishware, cups, etc. Everything we use is washable and reuseable
1 point We pay utility bills electronically (when given the option)

Restaurant's statement: Our accounting office handles all bills electronically
1 point We encourage guests to bring in their own reusable bags, coffee mugs, or containers to package their unconsumed food

Restaurant's statement: If guests want to use their own coffee mugs or a bag to carry out items in, we allow that
33 Points for Waste Reduction

Water Conservation

3 points We have installed a low-flow pre-rinse sprayer for dishwashing

Restaurant's statement: TNS, serviced through ecolab
2 points We practice water-saving dishwashing techniques: hand scraping plates, pots, and pans before washing, presoaking pans/utensils, only running the dishwasher when it is full, and/or basin style washing

Restaurant's statement: We hand scrape plates
3 points We use touch-free faucets/motion sensor sinks in restrooms

Restaurant's statement: Motion sensor soaps and hand dryers
1 point We thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator (not with running water)

Restaurant's statement: Frozen meats thaw in refrigerator
1 point We avoid hosing indoor and outdoor areas. Instead, we use dry cleaning methods followed by a damp mopping

Restaurant's statement: We only use mopping methods on our floors
2 points We regularly check for and repair leaks in our water system

Restaurant's statement: Our water system is regularly monitored to ensure efficiency
2 points We take necessary precautions to prevent wastewater contaminants produced during exterior cleaning/pressure washing or cleaning of floor mats, trash cans, or equipment from entering storm drains

Restaurant's statement: Storm drains are cleaned regularly and not near any trash or contaminants
1 point We turn off all kitchen faucets when not in use

Restaurant's statement: Kitchen faucets are never left on when not in use, even for short periods of time
15 Points for Water Conservation

Energy Efficiency

3 points We track the amount of energy our restaurant consumes and our progress on energy efficiency

Restaurant's statement: We examine bills mostly in order to keep costs down and we use only what we need when we need it
3 points We use automatic, energy efficient hand dryers in our restrooms

Restaurant's statement: Sensored hand dryers in each restroom that turn off after use, not on a timer
2 points We have our HVAC inspected annually to ensure it is in proper working condition and operating efficiently

Restaurant's statement: We get inspected every 3-6 months on all our equipment
2 points We use a programmable thermostat (continuously programmed to heat at 68 degrees and cool at 74 degrees during operating hours and 62 to heat/85 to cool during non-operating hours)

Restaurant's statement: We typically keep our thermostat at 70 during operation and turn down or off when closed
4 points We have a policy that we only purchase Energy Star equipment or appliances when available

Restaurant's statement: We try to use Energy Star when possible
2 points We turn off non-emergency indoor lights during non-operating hours

Restaurant's statement: All non-emergency lights are turned off as the closing manager is leaving the building.
2 points We regularly clean evaporator and condenser coils on refrigerators (every 3 months)

Restaurant's statement: This is done monthly
1 point We maintain the temperature of our hot water heater at 140 degrees or at the lowest temperature consistent with our sanitizing system

Restaurant's statement: Water heater is kept at exactly 140 degrees
1 point We turn off all electronic equipment at the end of business or place them in energy saving mode

Restaurant's statement: Everything except server and bar terminals is turned off each night.
2 points We use ceiling fans to promote air circulation (high edge forward in winter, forcing air down; reverse in summer)

Restaurant's statement: Our upstairs has a large fan to circulate air
2 points We power down the kitchen equipment during slow, idle times

Restaurant's statement: Kitchen equipment is only running when needed
2 points We have installed a barrier between the outside air and main entrance (air curtain, foyer, double doors, indoor curtain, revolving door)

Restaurant's statement: Our windows all have air curtains installed
1 point We use natural cooling in place of air conditioning, when acceptable

Restaurant's statement: When possible, we open windows to maintain comfortable temperature inside
2 points We have insulated all refrigeration cold suction lines

Restaurant's statement: All of our lines are insulated
3 points We use daylight sensors or adjust our indoor lighting based on natural sunlight available

Restaurant's statement: We have dimmers on all lights and keep them very low when natural sunlight is usable.
32 Points for Energy Efficiency

People - Community/Consumer Actions

2 points We partner with, fundraise, sponsor, promote or donate to a local community organization, community members, or cause

Restaurant's statement: We donate gift card to be used to charity auctions to raise money to any qualified program that we are in contact with
3 points We provide employment opportunities for residents of the local community

Restaurant's statement: 20-30% of our employees are very local to the establishment, within a few miles
2 points We encourage guests to take alternative transportation to get to our restaurant (bike, bus, walk, carpool)

Restaurant's statement: A lot of our guest are local to the area and live nearby and/or are attending a near by school. We get a lot of foot traffic from these areas as well as inform guests of bus routes and walking time from given areas.
2 points There is a secure location to store bicycles at or near our restaurant

Restaurant's statement: There are bike racks all around the immediate area
9 Points for People - Community/Consumer Actions

People - Employee Actions

2 points Our employees participate in volunteer activities

Restaurant's statement: Various school activities and charity events where volunteers come work events to help raise awareness or money for a cause; cancer, etc.
2 points We positively contribute to employee health and wellness through incentives or programs offered (i.e. gym membership discounts, yoga classes, sports league, etc.)

Restaurant's statement: We regularly partner with local gym's and studio's that offer us incentive based memberships and classes. Also several members of our staff are regularly involved in Pittsburgh Sports League each season
5 points We exceed the industry standard for FOH and BOH employee wages (over the current minimum wage rate) or have instituted an alternative pay system structure compared to traditional industry methods

Restaurant's statement: We offer very competitive wages and are well over the minimum wage rate for every position we offer in the company. We also offer the opportunity to match a wages offered by another location.
4 points We offer health benefits to our employees

Restaurant's statement: We currently offer health benefits to salaried employees as well as qualifying hourly staff. We are also attempting to expand our benefits structure. We currently go through Highmark and UPMC for our medical plans.
1 point Our restaurant is owned by someone who lives within the local region

Restaurant's statement: Our owners have all lived and grown up in the Pittsburgh area
3 points We offer our staff training to further enhance career development

Restaurant's statement: We are always looking to develop careers of our employees. With new stores within the company opening nearly every year, we provide the opportunity to move up within the company as far as an employee desires. It's important to us to keep a structure within the company so every new position is meticulously trained well in advance and given all the proper tools to succeed.
1 point We provide emergency rides for employees

Restaurant's statement: Someone within our company is always willing to provide a carpool and/or transportation. We are all a close staff and always willing to help out a friend in need.
3 points We provide employees with at least 11 hours of non-working time between shifts

Restaurant's statement: We avoid scheduling anyone to close and then open the following day. The only time it would happen would be on weekends, since that's when we stay open until 2 and we typically have different openers than closers each day.
3 points We provide employees working double shifts with a minimum break time of two hours

Restaurant's statement: Typically we avoid scheduling double shifts, but we are aware of circumstances when it's necessary, or someone picks up an extra shift to make some money. When the situation arises we are very open to allowing any employee on a double to take a lengthy break to get some lunch, or get some rest for a couple of hours during the slow period between shifts.
3 points We provide our employees at least one day off for every five days worked consecutively

Restaurant's statement: We do not schedule any employee more than 5 shifts a week unless absolutely necessary and even then it's broken up in the middle of the week for the off day to get some rest for the remaining shifts.
3 points For employees earning hourly wages, we guarantee a minimum amount of weekly working hours

Restaurant's statement: If an employee desires a set amount of hours, we do what we need to do to accommodate them. Most of the employees only want part time anyway, so the one's who want a certain amount of hours are pretty easy to make that happen
3 points We provide FOH and BOH employees with some form of compensation during sick leave

Restaurant's statement: We are willing to offer a portion of a future check to the employee until they return to work if they are in a jam and need a little extra money to get through their leave.
3 points We offer our FOH and BOH employees vacation time

Restaurant's statement: Employees are always welcome to take some time off at their leisure, provided we have enough notice to get shifts covered ahead of time. Our FOH employees are encouraged to work based on their own needs, if they want to take a week or two off they are more than welcome. Back of the house is the same.
3 points We offer internal promotions

Restaurant's statement: We look to promote from within for most salaried openings. If we have an employee working hard for us day in and day out, especially if that individual has expressed interest, we are very welcome to promoting those people to higher levels. I myself was a bartender before becoming a manager and moving up.
3 points We cross-train employees across different floor and kitchen positions

Restaurant's statement: We have several members of our staff that will work bar as well as serving the floor. Several members of our BOH will work as Prep cooks in the morning and then run the line on different days.
3 points We provide employees with the ability to move between front and back of house positions

Restaurant's statement: It doesn't happen very often, but once in a while we will get someone who wants to move to BOH to gain some experience for culinary degree's, etc.
3 points We give raises based on employee performance and responsibility

Restaurant's statement: BOH especially in this category. We regularly give raise's based on performance or if we've asked someone to step into a new position, they now have a different and sometimes more responsibility and will receive the appropriate compensation
1 point We provide discounts for our employees at our restaurant

Restaurant's statement: 50% on meals while working, 25% on meals when off the clock. If we go to a different restaurant within our ownership group we get 25% off food there as well.
2 points We provide bonuses or incentives for employee performance

Restaurant's statement: If someone is working harder than expected or above the rest we offer a specialty food item, on the house, to that employee. We also run different promotions and contests to who can sell the most of a certain item, which in turn awards them a prize or meal considerations.
2 points We work hard to ensure a diverse and inclusive work environment

Restaurant's statement: We are always willing to hire and employ any person. We have no limitations in regards to employment, so long as the individual is capable of performing the particular job description.
53 Points for People - Employee Actions

Responsible Sourcing

3 points We use furniture that has been refurbished, remanufactured, is previously used or has been constructed from repurposed materials

Restaurant's statement: All used equipment purchased
3 points When Energy Star or energy efficient equipment is not available or attainable, we make it a priority to purchase refurbished appliances or equipment

Restaurant's statement: We purchased a used dishwasher for the bar glasses as well as chip warmer for the kitchen.
3 points We derive some items or ingredients locally (i.e. cheese, milk, coffee, tea, juice, baked goods, beer, wine, spirits, invasive species, raw baking materials)

Restaurant's statement: Beef is local, produce is local, Fortis liquors are local to pittsburgh.
4 points We source our seafood sustainably [Consult Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch Guide (do not serve from 'Avoid' column), Blue Ocean Institute's Guide to Friendly Seafood (do not serve those coded as orange or red), or purchase from a supplier certified by the Marine Stewardship Council]

Restaurant's statement: Mahi Mahi is farm raised
3 points We make purchases from a farmer coop, local food hub, or local food purveyor

Restaurant's statement: Shadyside market supplies our produce on weekends
2 points We source products from a regionally-based third party supplier

Restaurant's statement: We order through Paragon, which is a local purveyor
3 points We rotate menu items based on seasonality

Restaurant's statement: Drink menu is seasonal, food items are semi-seasonal
3 points Our restaurant participates in product-sharing (cooperative purchasing) with other restaurants for supplies not needed in large quantities

Restaurant's statement: We trade out boxes, napkins, sometimes food items with local establishments when we are in excess quantities, as well as within our own company we transfer product regularly if they need it.
3 points We can, pickle, or preserve foods

Restaurant's statement: Onions, cauliflower, radish, eggs, carrots, etc.
3 points We make at least one of the following items in-house: salad dressings, condiments, sauces, jams, jellies, juices, soups, broths, stock, chutneys, syrups, salsas

Restaurant's statement: All sauces and soups are made fresh, in house, each day
6 points When in season, we source 31-45% of produce locally (From within a 150 mile radius)

Restaurant's statement: 40%. Sysco and paragon use as much local as they can, sometimes off season they will reach out to further regions to get our product.
7 points When in season, we source 46-100% of produce regionally (From within a 400 mile radius)

Restaurant's statement: At least 70-75% of our in season product comes from local farms.
4 points We source 16-30% of meats locally (From within a 150 mile radius)

Restaurant's statement: Roughly 20% of meat is locally farmed
3 points We source 26-50% of meats regionally (From within a 400 mile radius)

Restaurant's statement: Roughly 20% comes from local/regional farms
For RS-36 – RS-39, select the “yes” that represents your % of organic or naturally grown products:
2 points 1-15% of products we use carry organic certification or are naturally grown

Restaurant's statement: Mostly produce is naturally grown
52 Points for Responsible Sourcing


2 points Our restaurant provides half portions of select menu items or small plates (tapas)

Restaurant's statement: lunch portions are half sized
2 points Our restaurant provides vegetarian/vegan fare

Restaurant's statement: Tofu, beet taco's, soup of the day's are sometimes vegan
2 points Our restaurant provides menu items or side dishes marketed as healthier, lower calorie options than our traditional menu choices

Restaurant's statement: The menu specifies our vegan options
2 points Our restaurant provides entrée items served with fruits and/or vegetables

Restaurant's statement: Fruit platter, we also do a vegetable platter for parties
2 points Our restaurant provides allergen-free options

Restaurant's statement: We offer a gluten free menu
2 points Our restaurant provides low calorie salad dressings

Restaurant's statement: Vinegar and oil option
3 points Our restaurant provides fruits or vegetables are offered with children's meals

Restaurant's statement: We offer a side of mixed fruit platter
3 points Our restaurant provides alternatives to soft drinks for children's meals

Restaurant's statement: Milk, water, juices
2 points We use healthful, plant based oils for cooking and baking (containing predominantly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats - no trans-fat/partially-hydrogenated oils)

Restaurant's statement: Soybean oil from Sysco and is 0% trans-fat
20 Points for Nutrition