Eating is at the core of our daily lives, and now more than ever, healthy eating is a priority. That’s why Drew DeGrazia, owner of CoreLife Eatery, didn’t let uncertain times stall his plans for a mid-June opening.
The fast-casual restaurant comes power-packed with its greens, grains and broths concept that’s already proving to be a winning trifecta at its new location on the east side of State Road 7, near the border between Royal Palm Beach and Wellington.
“We are a concept that will make you healthier and happier. That’s the concept I’m bringing to the neighborhood — trying to make people’s lives a little bit better,” DeGrazia said.
The nearly 3,000-square-foot location welcomes you with bright orange décor, light wood tables with sunlight pouring in from its many windows. It seats up to 120 in normal times, but the restaurant is currently operating at half capacity in the dining room with takeout available from a separate pickup area.
“Our customer service, hands down, will have people wanting to come back once they’ve been in the door,” he said.
Cheerful signs guide you along your way to the counter to create your bowl of choice, aimed to please all taste buds and dietary needs.
“The food is made right in front of you, so you see what’s going on in the kitchen,” DeGrazia said. “We are a scratch-made kitchen. There isn’t a thing that comes in here in a bag that’s pre-made. It’s all made fresh daily, so that’s where our difference is. It’s clean and organic. I don’t have a freezer in the building, and I don’t have a fryer. If it’s a hot product, it was either on our flame grill or it was in the oven.”
From the moment you step to the counter, it looks like a section of the produce aisle. Let’s start with the green bowls.
“We have multiple options,” he explained. “There’s Napa cabbage, spinach, kale, romaine and arugula to build the salads with fresh ingredients, like black beans to corn to carrots, beets to peppers. So many options. I can’t think of anything we don’t have.”
Salads start at $8.95. There are seven proteins to choose from, including chicken (regular or spicy), Korean-style pork, poké-style tuna, tofu, falafel, hummus and a house specialty, the grass-fed, tri tip steak.
“It’s a very unique cut, a cross between the filet and the strip steak. It’s a restaurant cut. It has all the flavor and all the tenderness. It’s very lean and very tasty,” DeGrazia said.
The steak, bacon and bleu cheese salad is a top seller. It’s loaded with romaine, mesclun mix, tri tip steak, bacon, tomatoes, cranberries, walnuts and gorgonzola.
“We also have a traditional southwest grilled chicken salad,” he said. “We make 100 percent of our dressings, all made from scratch in-house. All the ingredients are listed in front of you to see what’s in your dressing, using yogurt as a base.”
For those looking for a grains bowl, the Sriracha ginger tofu and ancient grains bowl is a popular vegetarian choice. It’s filled with warm quinoa, shredded kale, roasted tofu, carrots, raw beets, spicy broccoli, ginger and Sriracha.
For broth lovers, there are several variations.
“We have a beef broth, a chicken broth, veggie broth and a couple variations of the chipotle broth, a little spicier, so there’s four different options,” DeGrazia said. “You can turn any one of our bowls into a grain green or broth, create your own, or there’s our hand-crafted recipes. We also have soup options, based on our broths. A broccoli cheddar, chicken noodle and coconut curry soup.”
Sides range from Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes to a gluten-free mac and cheese.
“The gluten-free mac and cheese is outstanding. The restaurant is mostly gluten-free,” he said. “I say mostly because we added a naan bread taco to our menu. We take extreme caution for anyone who comes in with any type of allergy. We have a crew member designated at every shift who takes over that order and deals with that customer alone so there’s zero cross contamination.”
Tacos are now a permanent item, with seven different kinds based on the protein picked, all under $4. “We were the first store to roll with it as an opening,” DeGrazia said. “It was tested in New York. They’re sold on an individual basis, so I have people adding a salad to a taco as a dinner meal to give it more kick. It can also be eaten in a lettuce wrap to be gluten-free.”
All the meats are antibiotic free; eggs are cage free. There’s a kids’ power menu with salad, soup or power plate for $4.95 and under.
Even the beverages are freshly made and organic. “There is no soda fountain. We make all our beverages fresh. We make homemade lemonades, cranberry cayenne, beet and regular lemonade, organic mandarin,” he said. “Something else we also serve is cold-pressed coffee. And green tea is our calorie-less sugarless option. There is no high fructose corn syrup anywhere in the building. If there’s a sweetener, we use agave.”
DeGrazia hopes the concept always stays fresh with customers, as his business partner and brother, Brad DeGrazia, plan to continue opening up shops throughout southeast Florida, with a Boca Raton location being the first, bringing 80 jobs to the area since June between the two locations. Pembroke Pines is next, with Delray Beach to follow.
“We’ve been in business since 2003 together. It works out well. I truly do this to help people, to employ people,” he said. “Obviously for me, to make some money, too. But I work hand-in-hand in these stores. I want to be close enough to all my stores so I can have an impact.”
The restaurant offers dine-in, takeout and delivery through Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash. The CoreLIfe app is recommended for ordering.
CoreLife Eatery is located at 440 S. State Road 7 in Royal Palm Beach next to Aspen Dental. It is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call (561) 814-2158 or visit www.corelifeeatery.com.