The flock of laying hens at the El Pinto Restaurant Farm is now certified as Animal Welfare Approved–making it the only restaurant in the nation to have a Certified AWA laying hen program on restaurant property. One of the leading farm certifications offered by A Greener World, the Certified AWA label lets consumers know animals are raised outdoors on pasture or range in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S.
Owned by twin brothers, John and Jim Thomas, El Pinto in Albuquerque manages 200 Certified AWA laying hens supplying the kitchen with nutritious eggs. Nicknamed “The Hen Hotel,” the hens have continuous access to range and the highest welfare conditions. This produces healthier eggs containing three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, and twice the omega-3 fatty acids as industrial eggs. Eggs are gathered daily, washed, and graded according to USDA requirements, before being hand-delivered to the kitchen.
El Pinto Co-owner Jim Thomas says, “There is real lack of understanding in egg standards, which confuses consumers. Terms like ‘cage-free,’ ‘farm-raised’ and even ‘free-range’ do little to ensure the welfare of the hens or the nutritional value of the eggs. Our passion is to provide clean and nutritious food to all guests.”
Award-winning El Pinto Restaurant has been a family business since 1962. From humble beginnings with 10 tables, the restaurant is now one of the largest in the nation with over 1,000 seats. El Pinto has an impressive history, cooking for presidents and Hollywood stars, while local residents consistently vote El Pinto as “Best of the City” in numerous categories.
Certified AWA Program Director Andrew Gunther says, “It’s no coincidence: High-welfare, sustainable farming equals great tasting food. We’re excited to welcome award-winning El Pinto Restaurant in the Certified AWA family. While a growing numbers of restaurants across the U.S. are choosing to serve Certified AWA ingredients, we are particularly impressed by the El Pinto’s commitment to managing their own laying hens to ensure sustainably raised eggs.”
Certified AWA eggs are served daily on the restaurant’s menu and featured extensively on the Sunday Brunch menu created by Executive Chef Marc Quiñones. A live streaming chicken cam broadcasts the happy hens to a TV in the restaurant lobby.