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Milo’s City Cafe – Sustainability & Community

Published Oct 4th, 2013

Milo's City CafeThirty years ago it was known as the Irvington Theater and Bob’s Pizza.  Today we know it as the famous Milo’s City Cafe.  Arriving today for an interview, Loren, Milo’s owner, was found doing what comes natural for him, mingling with the guests.   It doesn’t surprise me anymore to see Loren seated next to one of the regulars talking about recent community involvements, or seeing him in the kitchen scrambling eggs… Feeding people!

Today’s interview is a topic dear to my heart, Sustainability Success Stories or “SSS”.

Pamela:  Loren what prompted Milo’s sustainable journey?

Loren:   In 1999, my wife Marianne and I purchased the restaurant at NE 13th and Broadway.  The theater projection booth was still intact along with the holding slots for upcoming movie posters.  We were having dinner one evening and the ceiling lights started to flicker annoyingly.   Needless to say the old way of lighting did not set the stage for a romantic meal.  This was the green light to switch to LED ceiling lights.

Pamela:  Besides serving local food items, what are some other ways Milo’s contributes to Sustainability?

Loren:  We have a unique location near a mall and within walking distance of the Energy Trust Building.  We get a lot of their employees visiting Milo’s for lunch and they also have a sales pitch on saving energy.  Energy Trust has replaced all of the spray valves in the kitchen; they remodeled the kitchen with energy efficient ventilation and heating systems.  We reduced water usage by switching to a low-flow device for the toilets.  We recycle cardboard and glass, and compost our food waste.  Instead of emptying our recycling and waste bins 2-3 times a day, managing our waste now takes place 1 ½ times a day.

Pamela:  Was it a hard task to train your staff on waste management?

Loren:  The training part was not hard. It was the willingness to set up a system for success that was tough.

Pamela:  Loren, I know you’re very much involved in your community.  How else do you contribute by your sustainable efforts?

Loren:  We support Beaumont Middle School’s music program by hosting a spaghetti dinner during the Fall.  Come support us, Monday, October 7, 2013 – 5pm at Beaumont Middle School.  There’s also a Soup and Salad dinner in the Spring.

Pamela:  Give me some last words for Dining Out In The NorthWest’s “SSS” Blog!

Loren:   Remember, you’re dealing with people, everything you do affects people.  Do the right thing, by being thoughtful and having a willingness to embrace change.

Pamela:  Loren thank you for allowing me this time.

Milo’s City Cafe is located at 1325 NE Broadway in Portland. Phone:  (503) 288-6456. Milo’s is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

-Pamela Lewis-

*Pamela Lewis is the Sustainability Specialist for Food Services of America.  She is conducting a series of ‘Sustainability Success Stories’ from local restaurateurs.  If you’d like to contact her, she can be reached at