CoreLife Eatery is a new Utah restaurant dedicated to “clean eating” — the buzz term that’s a lot easier to talk about than to actually do.
There’s a big market for people looking for healthy meals that are “natural” and free of GMOs, additives and artificial ingredients. The CoreLife Eatery owners tapped into it when they opened their first location in 2015 in upstate New York.
There are now CoreLife Eateries in six states, with the second Utah location opening Friday at 10395 S. State in Sandy. At a pre-opening event on Thursday, I was able to meet one of the founders, John Caveny.
It’s not just a restaurant, it’s a lifestyle, where you leaving feeling good, said Caveny. after He said he and his four partners had all worked in the restaurant industry. They came up with the idea for CoreLife while, “wondering where can you go to eat healthy, that no matter what you order, it’s good for you.”
And, it had to taste good, “Because if it doesn’t taste good, nobody’s going to come back.”
It’s possible to cook “healthy” at home, but it’s not easy, Caveny said.
They started with a simple menu of “plates and bowls,” and the menu has tripled since then. All the dishes are made from scratch, with “clean” ingredients. Popular menu items include Steak Bacon & Bleu Green Bowl, Tuna Poke Grain Bowl, Southwest Grilled Chicken Grain Bowl and Ranch Flank Steak Warm Rice Bowl.
Service is fast-casual style with an assembly-line counter (think Cafe Rio or Cafe Zupas). There’s a definite “hipster” ambience, with natural earth-tone decor and signs with pepped-up sayings like “Get in the game. Life isn’t a spectator sport.”
The fresh-squeezed lemonades, flavored teas and organic coffee are in keeping with the “good-for-you” vibe. You won’t find a Diet Coke or Pepsi on the premises. I sampled a few of the lemonades, and the beet lemonade was my personal favorite, purple-red with a nice beety-sweet finish. I also liked the cranberry lemonade. If you love ginger, go for the honey ginger lemonade, as it’s VERY ginger-y.
There are so many options and ingredient choices that it probably takes a few times eating here to get the hang of the menu. Basically it’s divided into three main groups – “green bowls” (salads), “grain bowls,” (quinoa or purple rice), and “broth bowls,” or soups. All of the menu items can be customized. You can also get a cup of plain bone broth for sipping, or in a larger take home container.
My friend who came with me ordered the Ranch Flank Steak Bowl, with a generous base of quinoa and chunks of beef. I started out with a Chicken Cobb salad, but I asked to omit the hard-boiled egg and switch the kale out for mixed greens (I had dental work last week and kale is hard for me to chew).
There are three sizes, $6.95, $8.95 and $10.95. I thought our $8.95 bowl was a pretty good lunch size.
On the broth side of things, I also tried the Spicy Ginger Steak & Rice Noodle Bowl, which is very flavor-forward on the ginger. The beef bone broth is spiked with pieces of steak, spicy Thai rice noodles, shredded kale, broccoli, carrots, scallions, sliced almonds, cilantro and srirachi.
I also got to sample a savory Tomato & Basil Soup, which uses vegetable broth, cauliflower puree, cheddar and Parmesan, basil, tomatoes, and olive oil.
The menu lists calories counts for each dish, as well as possible allergens, such as milk, tree nuts, aged fermented shoyu sauce, egg, and peanuts.
“We found out there are a whole group of people with dietary restrictions, and we didn’t have any idea how important it would be to understand allergies and dietary concerns,” Caveny said. “People tell us we changed their lives.”
I asked about future locations. There’s already a CoreLife in American Fork, and there are planned locations for City Creek and Millcreek. I was told the company has also looked into Bountiful and Station Park in Farmington, too.
They chose to expand into Utah, “Because this place to me just feels healthy,” he said. “It makes sense to open out here.”
There are some who might find CoreLife a little too healthy — if you’re looking for chicken nuggets. fries, and cheeseburgers, you’d better look elsewhere. But if you’re trying to stick to a healthy diet with nutritious ingredients, this a a good bet.