Restaurant Ronja: From veggie food truck to sustainable eatery

What began as a food truck has developed into a popular meeting place in Mülheim an der Ruhr: Restaurant Ronja is the only meat-free restaurant in the city. Its own vegetable plot, fairly produced workwear and an integrated deposit system are just a few of the sustainable measures.

 Sinan Bozkurt, owner of the restaurant Ronja in the Ringlokschuppen and management assistant Jael Meyn.
Interior view of Restaurant Ronja in the Ringlokschuppen

What´s all about?

  • From food truck to sustainable restaurant
  • Fresh vegetables from own plot
  • Organic bin liners, ecological washing-up liquid and energy-efficient kitchen appliances 
Pickled vegetables

Introducing people to vegetarian and vegan cuisine - that is the aim of Sinan Bozkurt, owner of the Ronja restaurant in the Ringlokschuppen. He opened his first restaurant in Mülheim's old town eight years ago. "The shop was only supposed to serve as a kitchen for the food truck. But the demand was so high that we set up eleven tables shortly afterwards," says Sinan Bozkurt. Three years later, the shop moved to the Ringlokschuppen, aformer railway depot. "Today we have space for 120 guests. There's room for another 200 people on our terrace." The restaurateur is a vegetarian himself and a trained nutritionist. "A meat-free diet that avoids animal products is not only more sustainable, but also healthier," he explains.

Wide range of dining options and flexible service

The restaurant is particularly popular with larger groups: "We often host football or hockey teams, birthday parties, weddings, but also school classes," says management assistant Jael Meyn. The 19-year-old started out as a trainee at Ronja - she has now been part of the team for three years. "Everyone is welcome at Ronja: Vegans don't have to switch to pasta with tomato sauce, while meat lovers can try the seitan burger - where you really can hardly taste any difference to the meat-based version," she says with a wink. Changes at the request of guests with intolerances are also no problem. 

We would like people not only to accept a vegetarian-vegan diet, but also to integrate it more into their everyday lives

Sinan Bozkurt

Fresh vegetables from your own vegetable plot

Once a week, Restaurant Ronja is supplied with fresh vegetables from the local vegetable farm "Kleines Grün" in Mülheim. The young farm only uses  organic fertiliser and plant protection. In addition to the vegetable cultivation, there is a 1,200 square metre flower strip for insects on the field. "The fresher the vegetables are, the higher the nutrient content. The flavour is also more intense," explains Sinan Bozkurt. Sinan Bozkurt buys all the food for the permanent menu from METRO - mainly organic produce.

Sustainable catering

"Catering for 200 people is child's play for us - with more people it becomes more difficult in addition to the day-to-day business," he laughs. The former railway depot now serves as a theatre and event location. The Ronja provides for the culinary accompaniment. Out-of-home deliveries are also in demand. And, of course, sustainably packed in stainless steel containers and delivered via hybrid delivery van. Sinan Bozkurt uses green electricity for his vehicle and restaurant. A deposit system makes the daily to-go business sustainable. 

Attention to sustainable detail

The employees' work clothes are produced fairly and have been awarded the Oeko-Tex seal. Sinan Bozkurt has biodegradable waste professionally collected. The restaurant also only uses organic bin liners, recycled toilet paper and ecological washing-up liquid. "With the quantities we use every day, even the little things make a lasting difference." The only disadvantage: "Organic and ecological products are often expensive. In return, we try to reduce our operating costs elsewhere, for example with energy-saving kitchen appliances," says Sinan Bozkurt. His team is also behind this. "Our employees have a big say. Four times a year, we actively get together and discuss what we can do even better." There is still a lot planned: "We are trying out new recipes to utilise all the ingredients from root to leaf. We are also renewing all our electronic devices to save even more energy and water," explains Sinan Bozkurt. 

METRO Award for Sustainable Gastronomy 2023

Restaurant Ronja receives the METRO Award for Sustainable Gastronomy 2023. A jury of experts initially selected three final concepts from all the applications. The finalists were then ranked via online voting. The award ceremony will take place on 17 April 2024. From now until 31 May 2024, restaurateurs can apply for the METRO GastroPreis. METRO Germany is thus launching a new award. The award will be presented to catering businesses with particularly forward-looking concepts in the categories of digitalisation, sustainability and team. The previous METRO Award for Sustainable Gastronomy, which was announced for the fifth time in 2023, will be merged into the new award with a focus on sustainability. 
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