5201 Cornerstone North Boulevard.
Centerville, OH 45440
A rapidly expanding chain that was founded in Syracuse in 2015, CoreLife Eatery is here to answer the nagging problem that has plagued casual restaurants — how to make an inexpensive restaurant chain that can sustain itself specifically with healthy, vegetable focused food. There’s a significant and growing market for it, of course, especially in the Midwest where these new restaurants are sometimes the first veggie-focused spot in town. Veggies make up the base of everything you eat here, and most all of it also shows off reduced fat, less seasoning and limited calories. If you’re paying attention.
Of course the biggest appeal of this place is the veggie-focused food. Lettuce, kale, and other greens line the back wall of the restaurant. Some of the things I tried:
- Mediterranean: This lettuce and kale salad is topped with a smooth in-house hummus and some falafel. Feta, cucumbers and red onion round it out, as does a surprisingly light cucumber basil dressing.
- Spicy Ginger Steak: A mixed kale and lettuce salad topped with steak, bell peppers, ginger and sriracha. The steak is still pretty heavy, though.
- Tuna Poke: Raw fish salads have become trendy for their fresh ingredients, and this one is a lighter take. It’s good with the quinoa and sesame seeds on top, and I definitely suggest the miso ginger dressing, but on the side. It’s great to dip the fish in!
- Spicy Thai Chicken and Rice Noodle: Not surprising, this one is much more like a noodle dish. Thai rice noodles, spicy chicken, peppers, scallions, sesame Sriracha sprouts, and a Thai chili sauce. Not too spicy, but it does come off a little salty. Especially if you go with the recommendation for the cashew dressing. Similar to a healthy pad Thai.
- Spicy Chicken & Ancient Grains: Not too bad! Quinoa, chicken, sriracha, shredded kale, broccoli, carrots, raw beets, scallions. The heat is light but the quinoa is great.
- Korean BBQ Pork: Very similar to bibimbap, the much beloved Korean rice bowl. Stuffed with purple rice, kimchi, cucumbers, spicy broccoli, Sriracha sprouts, fried egg, slow-roasted pork, and korean bbq sauce.
- Pulled pork power plate: One of the simpler options is just a protein, grain and starch plate like this. Nice to see CoreLife going heavier.
- Tuna Poke Fire: Pickled jalapeños, pickled red onions, pickled red cabbage, sesame Sriracha sprouts and a “fire” sauce give this a sturdy warm heat.
- Chicken Cobb Salad: A kale and romaine medley topped with chicken, avocado, bacon, hard boiled egg. Probably the heaviest salad in here, but still measurably light.
- Kale Caesar Chicken Salad: Shredded Kale and romaine, chicken, tomatoes and shaved parmesan. A simple creamy and citrus combo.
- Mac & Cheese: A light side dish, but with the salty, crunchy cheese to add a little variety.
Set up with that typical fast-casual assembly-line style, this restaurant lets you customize food as much as possible. That’s a good thing for a place like this, where you’ll encounter a wide range of health-conscious people, vegetarians, and people who aren’t trying to diet at all. So it’s good to have a mixture of menu options, some heavier than others.
This restaurant takes the health consciousness to heart — calorie content is included in many menu items and the option to put dressings and extra things on the side. Most dishes are as low on sugar as they can be though a few others come off a bit salty. All in all, this concept is good if you’re definitely looking to eat out without busting a diet.
- This is going to be a pretty good place to take a health nut; oftentimes it’s the only healthy place in town.
- Take dressings on the side. They’re salty otherwise and add extra calories.
- Want to order a drink? There are teas, lemonades, and cold-brewed coffee to drink here, but nothing in the soft drink variety.