A healthy take on fast food
The Short Course
To avoid wait: It’s counter service.
Noise level: Depends on the crowd.
Bathroom amenities: Yes and changing tables in the bathrooms.
High chairs? Yes, and booster seats.
Kids’ menu? Yes!
Anything healthy for kids? Yes, it is all fresh and healthy.
Food allergy concerns? Everything is customizable. Their menu is peanut- and gluten-free.
“You are what you eat” is the motto of this fresh, bright restaurant. When you walk through the door, you understand that you will be eating fresh and healthy food with quality ingredients. Indeed, they serve sustainably-sourced, GMO-free food made in-house. The colorful display of celery, red and green peppers, oranges, lemons, mesclun mix, spinach, Napa cabbage, arugula, romaine and kale behind the counter makes a statement: “get ready for something your body will thank you for.”
Cutting vegetables, not corners
Their soups and bone broths, as well as the flavorful pork loin, are slow-cooked overnight and ready to serve the next day. All of their unique sauces, salad dressings and handcrafted beverages and juices are made daily from scratch from fresh ingredients. If you love fresh salads, creative juices, savory grain bowls and hearty bone broth soups but don’t love searching for hard-to-find ingredients in the grocery store and chopping at home, this restaurant should be at the top of your list.
We took our three young children, ages 2, 4 and 6, for lunch after hockey practice. It was during a UM football game, so it was not crowded. As we stood in line to order at the counter, each dish was displayed on poster-sized boards indicating ingredients, calories and potential allergens like soy. The kids thought it was fun to point to the ingredients they wanted. They all chose something different and slightly new for them. My oldest daughter selected the Kids’ Power Plate ($4.95), which includes grilled chicken, purple rice, corn and mandarin oranges. The chicken was nicely seasoned for kids. They thought the purple rice was fun and tasty; my husband and I liked that it was a healthier alternative to white rice.
My other daughter wanted a salad so she chose the Southwest grilled chicken salad ($9.45). It was also recommended by one of the employees as a crowd favorite. Although she was attracted to the tortilla strip garnish, the salad itself was full of flavor. My son had the gluten-free mac and cheese ($3.00) (traditional mac and cheese was not on the menu). I thought it was too dry, but he enjoyed it and didn’t seem to mind that it was gluten-free.
There is a large variety of options for kids ranging from simple grilled chicken to adult-sized entrees. There is something on the menu for even the pickiest 2-year-old.
Food for your core
My husband and I ordered a few dishes to share. With the “choose two combo” option, you can order a small salad or bowl with a side or drink for under $10. We tried the spicy Thai chicken and rice noodle salad, the spicy coconut curry chicken soup, the tuna poke with Napa cabbage bowl, and the Korean barbeque pork warm rice bowl ($10.95). I really liked the spicy Thai chicken dish with its crunch and kick. My husband was expecting it to be a warm noodle dish, so he was disappointed that it was served cold. However, he really enjoyed the spicy coconut curry soup, made with slow-cooked broth and delicious, but hot, spices. The Korean barbeque dish had unique ingredients such as kimchi and Sriracha sprouts, topped with a fried egg. Although it did not match up to traditional Korean restaurants we have been to, it was still a very decent dish.
We were both underwhelmed with the tuna poke bowl. It had too much kale that overpowered the taste of the tuna. Overall, however, we thought the dishes were full of unique flavors, colors and textures. Everyone ordered a different juice: beetroot lemonade, honey ginger lemonade, cranberry cayenne lemonade, tropical green tea and apple cider green tea ($1.45-$2.95). I loved the beetroot lemonade the best! Each had distinctive flavors and was quite refreshing. Some have a little heat so make sure the kids taste them before filling a full cup.
CoreLife Eatery’s menu is designed to offer clean, healthy and flavorful meals in a relaxed atmosphere. My husband and I appreciated the opportunity to teach our kids how different types of foods can be both tasty and healthy.
Prices are reasonable, but be prepared to bus your table. It is a rare restaurant focused on providing healthy, quality foods harvested from sustainable sources. If you truly are what you eat, go to CoreLife Eatery for a better you.
205 North Maple Road, Suite 26
Ann Arbor, MI 48103 | 734-412-4101
Open Daily 11am-9pm