The Savvy Sylvanian visits CoreLife Eatery

A visit to CoreLife Eatery
by Mary Helen Darah

Luke Barrick and Tracy Rivera are ready to welcome guests to CoreLife Eatery and lead them toward a path of healthy eating.












I am a self-proclaimed “foodie.” I never lose sleep if I consumed real butter, anything fat-laden or if my caloric intake for the day was that of a 237-pound male according to Weight Watchers. My upcoming annual physical and the fact that I have been wearing far too many stretchy yoga pants, even though the closest thing I get to “downward dog” is when my golden retriever jumps on me and motivates me to explore some healthier options. CoreLife opened its doors in May of 2015 in Syracuse, N.Y. Since then, the eatery has 26 locations, two locally. I decided to visit the Monroe Street restaurant, not knowing what to expect.

Guests will be ‘bowled over’ with the endless healthy food options.

Getting fresh
Tracy Rivera, of CoreLife showed me around the establishment, where I felt my cholesterol drop 10 points just by being in the environment. “Our focus is on clean, healthy eating,” stated Rivera. “We bring fresh to the public in a convenient way. We put the focus on health. Your true energy source is what you eat.” Rivera, who was formerly in the nursing field for five years, wanted to find a way to help people in their journey toward healthier eating.

“CoreLife is a perfect fit for me,” she said. “My husband has diabetes. We wanted to make a lifestyle change. I know it was a total twist and turn career-wise but it has been so worth it.”

Get in line
I was surprised at how incredible the food looked. Grass-fed steak, all-natural chicken, and fresh tofu are used and to my delight and surprise, bone and vegetable broth are simmered every night in-house. The vegetable options seemed endless and frankly intimidating. I was wondering how to not look like a total neophyte and/or a lost tourist in the land of healthy eating. Thankfully, Luke Barrick, manager at the Monroe Street location, was there to help me navigate the menu. Barrick, like his colleague Rivera, also took a u-turn in his career. The graduate of the Owens Community College Police Academy is now pulling guests over (sans siren) in line and getting them on the road to better health. “We take care of guests that are new as well as our regulars,” stated Barrick. “Having an assisting person in line really helps. We feature Grain Bowls, Broth Bowls, Green Bowls, Warm Rice Bowls and Plates. The choices and combinations are endless. Many of our customers eat a vegan or gluten-free diet. They love the endless choices here. The only thing that is not gluten-free is our bread. Also, guests that have allergies do not have to worry about cross-contamination.” Barrick helped me go out of my comfort zone. I tried the Spicy Thai Chicken & Rice Noodles and was one happy, healthy woman. Each dish is individualized. You may delete or supplement an item. My request for a smidgen of cilantro and just a tad of sesame sriracha sprouts was met with a smile and not an “are you kidding me” face.

The big squeeze
I had the inside scoop that a visit to CoreLife wasn’t complete without trying one of their teas or lemonades. “We start with boxes of fresh lemons. There is not a pre-made mix,” stated Rivera. “We are squeezing all day long!” They had so many unusual offerings but I settled on the beet juice lemonade. Once again, I am so glad I vacated my comfort zone.

Tea time… and lemonade too! Fun, colorful beverages with surprising ingredients await guests.











Reaching out
I was also impressed with the eatery’s philanthropic activities. “We gave 100 percent of the proceeds from our Maumee grand opening to the Cherry Street Mission and the proceeds from the grand opening from this location went to Sunshine Communities,” stated Rivera. “Good is happening in our community and we want to be a part of it.”

To get to the “core” of the matter, I greatly enjoyed my experience at CoreLife Eatery. I was thrilled to discover that convenient, healthy food could be downright delicious. Yes, there is fresh food, unfamiliar beverages to explore and countless options, but the one thing I walked away with from my two CoreLife “tour guides” was their passion to help people make better food choices. I am certain they will be successful in their mission. As Rivera shared, “When you are passionate about what you do, you can’t go wrong.”

This passionate “foodie” couldn’t agree more.

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