A new fast casual healthy eatery has made its debut in Toledo. It’s the perfect time to stop by as we all start following those New Year’s resolutions after the non-stop feeding frenzy of the past month; or year, whatever the case may be.
‘Healthy’ is not a four letter word
My family eats pretty healthy and we enjoy junk food in moderation. That being said, my youngest was going to have nothing to do with trying the new CoreLife restaurant.
He immediately jumped online to check out the menu. Half the ride there he was warning his older brother. “Dude. Everything is healthy. There isn’t going to be anything we like. It’s all weird stuff.” Ok, that might not have been verbatim, but it was close. You would have thought he lived on Pepsi and chips the way he acted. As you read on, you will see that he slowly changed his mind.
Eating with your eyes
Like many fast casual restaurants, CoreLife gives you the opportunity to step up to the counter and order your meal exactly how you want it, while watching the food being prepared right in front of you. The philosophy at CoreLife is pretty straightforward. Started in Syracuse, NY in 2015 a group of friends saw a need for healthy, yet flavorful, fresh, and nutrient dense foods to fuel our bodies. They believe in grass fed beef, all-natural chicken, no high fructose syrup, no additives, no GMOs, or trans fats or artificial anything. It almost sounds too good to be true. But according to Jake Barrick, the lead kitchen manager, “You’re always getting fresh.” He said even the dressings are made fresh daily at each location. “All of our items on our menu are gluten free except the complimentary bread we offer everyone,” he said.
We walked in with my youngest still wondering what we were doing there. But as he took a look at the menu options as well as the possibility of how he could create his own masterpiece of a grain or green bowl, he changed his tune a bit. When you walk up to the counter it’s like stepping into a colorful garden that looks so enticing you will become excited about vegetables. Those ingredients go directly into your bowls.
Grain bowls, broth bowls,
green bowls, oh my!
Green bowls begin with any combination of spinach, romaine, or kale. Grain bowls start with a base of warm quinoa, warm wild rice blend, or rice noodles. And the broth bowls are amazingly filling and begin with vegetable and bone broths that have simmered for hours.
From there, select from the endless options, or like me, choose a combination listed on the menu. My grain bowl began with quinoa and kale, and I loaded it with corn, grilled chicken, broccoli, peppers, and a tantalizing dressing. And I can’t lie here. I wondered to myself, ‘how will this keep me full the rest of the night?’ Wonder no more. I was amazed I had no hunger pangs hours later. Why? I think it had to do with the fact I was only putting nutrient dense whole foods in my body!
My daughter enjoyed the sriracha bowl with tofu. My youngest devoured his leafy green bowl with steak, and my oldest son enjoyed the broccoli cheddar vegetable broth bowl. With cauliflower puree, cheddar and parmesan cheese, broccoli, carrots, celery and scallions, well, it was no wonder he was mad we all couldn’t keep our spoons out of his bowl. It was too tasty to be so healthy.
Yup, the little kids love it too
There was a nearby table with a darling four year old girl just munching away on her kid’s salad bowl and sipping one of their many fresh squeezed juices. For $4.95 kids can put together their own bowls. I could see that little one was enjoying every bite of the nuts and dried cranberries she had added to hers. This was not her first time there and her parents said she loves it.
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH. She can be reached in c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Short Course
To avoid wait: Anytime
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom amenities: Changing Station
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes as well as a variety of fresh made juices
Kids’ menu? Yes, but you won’t find chicken fingers or fries here Allergy info: All items are gluten free. A manager will step up to the line to make your order if you alert them of an allergy. They know every ingredient and will be absolutely sure there is no cross contamination.
5231 Monroe St. Toledo, 43623 | 419-540-0416
Daily 11a.m.-9p.m. **New location in Maumee near Meijer opening this month www.corelifeeatery.com