Healthy, ethical and sustainably sourced food has found a new hub in the Binghamton community with the opening of CoreLife Eatery. The national chain debuted its Vestal Parkway location this week, and has food options that are allergy conscious and open to different dietary needs.
Todd Mansfield, one of the owners and founders of the CoreLife Eatery brand, stressed that the goal of the restaurant is to serve food that is minimally processed and natural as possible.
“What you eat matters,” Mansfield said. “If you eat clean, healthy food that’s as close to the way nature provided it and you take out as much of the garbage as you can — you’re going to feel better. You’re going to live better and you’re going to live longer.”
The assembly-line style restaurant is decorated in earth tones to enhance the natural aesthetic.
“I love the place itself. It’s fun to sit in and [there’s] a very nice ambiance,” said
Ariela Orgel, an undecided sophomore.
The CoreLife Eatery menu is divided into green bowls (salads), grain bowls (a dish with either brown rice, quinoa or rice noodles as a base) and broth bowls (soup). While its menu offers choices ranging from a kale chicken caesar green bowl to a tuna poke grain bowl, you can also choose from ingredients like kale, ginger, tofu, sriracha, spicy ginger steak, gorgonzola and hummus to create your own dish.
The restaurant has options for those who are vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters. In addition, the menu takes into account food allergies such as gluten, milk, fish, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and shellfish.
“The millennial is our target market,” Mansfield said. “People that actually care about healthy, clean eating — it’s really been driven from that generation. But we really want to speak to everyone.”
Orgel came for “College Day” on Dec. 7 where CoreLife Eatery gave out free meals as part of a soft opening.
“I think because it’s a healthier alternative, I feel like a lot of students are gonna like that,” said Rachel Scheckman, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, who also attended. “Everyone’s trying to be healthier.”
Orgel and Scheckman agreed the long line was worth the wait.
The restaurant is concerned with all aspects of their product including what ingredients are used and how customers can fit their health needs into the menu.
“There’s [the millennial] generation that says, ‘I can’t even pronounce this stuff that’s in it and if I can’t pronounce it, it can’t be good for me,’” Mansfield said.
As the training manager for various CoreLife Eatery locations, Megan Mansfield, the daughter of Todd Mansfield, said that the restaurant represents an all around positive message.
“I think between clean food and the way we want to treat our employees is ultimately what we want to tell our guests,” Megan said. “We care about your health. We actually think that good food makes you feel better; it makes your life better.”
The idea for CoreLife Eatery came from Todd Mansfield’s search for a place that offered a healthy meal. He and one of his partners, Larry Wilson, were only able to produce a short list of options, so they decided to start their own restaurant.
It took a long time for the partners to develop a good taste profile, create a menu with a lot of options and find natural ingredients that are ethically sourced.
Since opening the first CoreLife Eatery location in Syracuse in May 2015, the owners have opened six more stores, making Vestal their eighth. The choice to come to Vestal was a natural fit, as four of the five owners are from the area. They plan to open more than 20 locations next year, and 300 restaurants over the next five to six years.
The owners are confident in the spirit of CoreLife Eatery’s goal.
“Change your lunch, change your life,” Mansfield said.