Editor’s note: CoreLife Eatery closed in spring 2020.
Well, that didn’t go as planned. Last weekend, we had the bright idea of eating at a healthy, fast-casual restaurant in Champaign-Urbana.
We don’t eat healthy exactly—we don’t eat unhealthily either. We like pizza, soups, sandwiches, sushi, etc. Also, ice cream, french fries, burritos, macaroni and cheese.
During a mall excursion, we decided to try CoreLife Eatery. The healthy eatery is at 2512 N. Prospect Ave.
It was quiet when we walked in. Only a few tables were full. As soon as there wasn’t a Chuck E. Cheese noise level going on, we should have turned around.
Alas, we pushed forward.
From the start, we just felt like we didn’t know how/what to order. We didn’t know the portion of things. We couldn’t figure out how substantial they were. When we finally got the guts to order, we were flustered. We just vomited out our orders. This led to way too much food. It’s not like having too much cake, or it’s not like having too many nachos. It’s too much ruffage. Too many vegetables. One scenario is not a problem—one is.
The menu is broken down into different bowls. They have green (lettuce based), grain (grain based), broth (vegetable or bone broth based, made daily in store) and warm rice (rice based) bowls. So, you can essentially have salads or soup. There are also power plates. These combine a protein, a side and a vegetable medley. You can build-your-own bowl, too. When your food is ready, they call your name to pick up.
I got the full-size Mediterranean Salad ($9.21). It had shredded kale, chopped romaine, hummus made in store), falafel (made in store), cucumbers, tomatoes (I omit), feta and red onion (I omit). AND a small chicken & rice noodle bowl ($8.67). This bowl has chicken bone broth, antibiotic-free chicken, rice noodles, shredded kale, carrots, celery and scallions with cucumber basil dressing (I omit).
I liked both of my meals. Everything needed salt, though. The falafel was dry and cold. Granted, I’ve never had falafel, so this might be what those balls really taste like?
My husband got the full-size spicy chicken warm rice bowl ($10.85). It had purple rice, Thai Chicken, roasted vegetables (roasted root vegetable medley or seasonal Brussels Sprouts), falafel, spinach, pickled red onions, spicy Sriracha Sprouts and chicken bone broth. AND a small broccoli cheddar vegetable broth bowl ($7.03). This bowl has vegetable broth, cauliflower purée, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, fresh broccoli, carrots, celery and scallions. Smaller sizes are available for about a $1 less.
He really liked both of his meals.
Then we ordered from the kiddie menu. We thought the kids to share/split two meals. We got the Power Plate ($5.94). This plate had purple rice, cucumber, corn, mandarin oranges, diced salt and pepper chicken. AND the Power Pasta ($4.85). This pasta had rice noodles, salt and pepper chicken IN tomato and basil soup. It was like healthy spaghetti.
Everything came with grainy bread. My son said it was dirty. I’m almost embarrassed writing this. Somewhere along the parenting line, I have gone wrong. I have failed! I wish their palettes were more expansive. He also said, “Yuck. This tastes like fish. Yuck.” <Insert gagging sounds>
They just pushed their food around. Some ended up on the floor, some on their clothes. It wasn’t good.
Sadly, my kids are cheeseburgers, french fries and pizza people. Praise be if your kids eat this way.
I loved the plethora of handcrafted drinks ($3.22). Pick from teas, lemonades and coffees. I had the watermelon fresca. It was delicious. No booze here! Healthy, remember?
If we hadn’t been in such disarray, I would have loved to sit outside. They have a nice outdoor patio area. It’s lit up at night.
Because my husband and I basically ordered two meals, our bill was $49. Typically, our family eats fast casual for $30.
Visit 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. If your kids eat healthy, and they are adventurous—bring them. If not, make it a quick date spot. This one won’t leave you feeling guilty and gluttonous. Another idea—go through McDonald’s for Happy Meals, order CoreLife online and pick up. Dinner is served.
Everything is GMO (genetically modified organism, YUCK) free, organic and gluten free. Many items are Vegan.
Very on trend.
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie. She left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in communications so that she could be a 24/7 mom to two busy boys. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Emily usually finds herself engulfed in balls, blue and belly laughs.