By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Apr 22, 2018 at 7:10 PM Photography: Carolynn Buser

More and more local establishments are getting rid of plastic straws. In honor of Earth Day, here is a rerun of an article from 2017.

At the beginning of 2017, two Walker’s Point bar-restaurants discontinued providing straws for drink-ordering customers. Engine Company No. 3 and La Merenda, both owned by Peter and Sonia Sandroni, stopped using straws primarily for environmental reasons.

"It’s not about saving money, it’s about the environmental impact," says Sonia. "The plastic does not decompose."

Both establishments have a few straws on hand for people with disabilities who require them to drink. They also occasionally give them to children.

So far, the response has been "50/50."

"It’s been received very well by people who care about the environment, but we’ve certainly had some customers angered by this," says Sonia.

Both places have information on their tables and menus explaining why going straw-free is important to environmental health.

"But it’s like anything else in life: it’s about educating people so they understand why we are doing this."

No longer offering straws is only one of numerous efforts the Sandronis and their staff are practicing to promote eco and personal wellness.

"We compost everything that is compostable," says Sonia. "We use small wooden stir sticks instead of spoons to stir coffee; we don’t bring water to tables unless people ask for it, etc."

Both Engine Company No. 3 and La Merenda have a Wednesday night promotion / game called "In It To Win It." If an entire table of customers are willing to ditch their phones for the duration of their meal, they get to pick a small prize.

"People really love it and are coming in now just for this," says Sonia.

Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.

As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.

She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that. 

Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.

Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.

In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!

When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.