Downtown Chapel Hill

Downtown Blog

Sustainable Spotlight

Top of the Green Hill: the Chapel Hill restaurant & brewery has been striving towards environmental sustainability in the shadows 

by: Charlotte Lamb 

While Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery may be better know for their blueberry wheat beers and Carolina basketball watch parties the establishment’s mission also focuses on environmental sustainability. For our first Sustainable Spotlight featured business; Molly Drake, Event Coordinator and Marketing Manager at Top of the Hill,  shared how the businesses commitment to environmental sustainability was evident in not only the restaurant but in all facets of the brand.

“The restaurant strives to use local ingredients, when available in their menu items,” said Drake. In fact, at the bottom of each menu, you can find a list of the local farms that ingredients have been sourced from. The restaurant also upgraded their recycling policy for 2017 to have Orange County Waste Management pick up their plastic, glass and paper recyclables.

The management at Top of the Hill has been focused on supporting sustainable agriculture as much as possible, this is evident in their brewery, which uses only North Carolina grown grain in the brewing process. However, the focus on sustainable agriculture does not stop there, the brewery trades their spent grain with Hoof Beat Farms, a family farm in Hillsborough, who repurpose the spent grain as animal feed. Drake describes it as “a relationship with the farmer where they provide some of the ingredients for beers and we in turn trade for the spent grain”.

The Topo Distillery, located at 505 West Franklin Street, shares the same mission of environment sustainability, producing all organic spirits. However, the most buzzed about thing the distillery supports can be found on their roof, where Just Bee Apiary, a micro-local and chemical free honeybee caretaker and honey distributor, is located. Just Bee Apiary collects the flavor of local towns with their honeybee’s small food shed of 3-5 miles that extract the ‘flavor of the town’ through honey that ‘taste of home’. Aside from supporting the dwindling honeybee population by allowing hives on the roof of the distillery, Drake said, “the restaurant does try to use the honey in a few of our menu items”.

Top of the Hill believes that their efforts to become a ‘green’ business have been a foundational factor in the businesses success. Drake said, “the Top of the Hill approaches environment sustainability as a positive thing and something that we want the community to be aware of”.                                                                                                                                                                                    

Drake believes that Top of the Hill will continue to improve their environmental sustainability in the future by always looking for new and different ways to put local items on the menu, [and] always looking out for new local vendors or farmers who have something special to offer. She said, “as time goes by our menu will just become more and more locally focused”. 


The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and Orange County Solid Waste Management have teamed up to bring you monthly “Sustainable Spotlights”. These articles will be released monthly from March through May, featuring a local business that has shown a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. The spotlights are chosen based on participation and performance on a survey ( whose criteria has been loosely based on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce’s Green Business Certification questionnaire. The idea was sparked after going on a tour of downtown businesses waste and recycling facilities with Muriel Williman from Orange County Solid Waste. We are proud of our downtown and want to highlight the great things our ‘greenest’ businesses are doing. To have your business considered for April’s spotlight simply follow the link to complete the survey.