The “healthy eating” craze is certainly nothing new, and the veritable health nut wasn’t exactly born yesterday. That said, there is an undeniable uptick across the county in eateries crafting menu items that are not only wholesome and nutritious, they’re also deeply nourishing and considered “healing” by those manning the blenders and stoves, and by those who indulge in such soothing goodness. We’re talking detoxifying juices, energizing smoothies, and bowls overflowing with greens, grains, and thoughtful ingredients intended to make diners feel better from the inside out. In some cases, even meat-filled sandwiches and burgers make the cut. And in all cases, the overarching goal is a mindful menu bursting with restorative possibilities.
Cooking classes, wellness events, and a vegan café compose this well-established addition to the local dining scene, where chef-owner Laurie Gershgorn notes that “every single thing is designed to be balanced and fortifying feel-good food.” The menu is both extensive and intriguing for vegans and carnivores alike, and the savory bowls, boasting macro- and micronutrients, are the standouts. Gershgorn suggests the delicately spiced lentil loaf bowl with gold potatoes and mushroom gravy for the fungi’s “detoxifying component,” with a hearty, seasonal, and raw sesame kale salad on the side.
Described as a modern diner at the intersection of healthy (e.g., ground flax and chia seeds) and indulgent (e.g., dark-chocolate chunks and Nutella drizzle), owners Dana Noorily and Julie Mountain serve “foods that simply make you feel better than when you walked in.” For the ultimate in satisfying, healthy indulgence, Noorily digs into the vibrantly hued Macro Bowl: sautéed kale and sweet potatoes, roasted beet hummus, whipped goat cheese, and walnuts over roasted cauliflower with spicy tahini vinaigrette. “I always try to eat the rainbow as best I can,” she says, “so this would make me feel super-nourished and comforted at the same time.”
Calling this always-bustling, quick-serve stop a “destination focusing equally on nutrition and taste,” the Caligiuri brothers (Anthony, Greg, and Mark) dish up everything from energizing juice tonics and smoothies, to protein-packed and super-food-laced bowls, wild salmon entrées, veggie lasagna, and bison burgers. They are most charged up over their cauliflower pizza crust and the plant-based pasta and rice options they’ve been working into the menu involving edamame, chickpeas, and black beans. “All of [these] are super-high in fiber and protein and a great pasta alternative,” says Greg.
Self-proclaimed “health nut” and licensed personal trainer Rob Scott oversees the perpetually whirring blenders at this predominantly smoothie-and-juice bar where the menu targets all areas of bodily concern and reads like a cleverly penned medical journal. When a customer can’t decide between the Brainiac juice or the one called Heart Beat, or if someone is stuck on either a Blood Cleanser or a Bone Builder, Scott steps in and suggests the Liver Love: a power-packed juice of carrots, spinach, beets, cucumber, apple, lemon, and ginger. “The liver is [among] the most important [organs] in the body,” he explains.
The brainchild of Peter Kump-trained chef Elyce Jacobson and personal trainer and boxer Shaka the King, this curious and hip downtown destination is part vegan grab ’n’ go café, part gym. Offering workout classes, detoxing juice cleanses, and a paralyzing array of healthy and healing vegan vittles (from smoothies to overstuffed sammies), Jacobson says it’s the Immunity Booster Soup that’s the hottest ticket in town. “We can’t make it fast enough.” Containing ginger, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, and onions, “it covers all the bases,” she says. “It’s antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and full of antioxidants.”
At this downtown den of all things seasonal and local, where about a dozen nearby farms supply the ingredients, owner David Starkey encourages diners to try a vegan dish every now and then because “whenever I eat vegan, I feel virtuous and energized.” He recommends the light and crispy chickpea panisse: roasted heirloom carrot, kale, griddled onion, turmeric- and harissa-spiced coconut yogurt, and chimi-churri. And when every last morsel has been cleaned from his plate, “there isn’t this heavy pit in my stomach,” he says. “Body and planet [are] both winners.”
With the goal of providing the freshest ingredients — using nondairy, GF, and vegan selections whenever possible — Yorktowner Justin Fagan runs this mod corner café with wife Ghenya and recommends the Green Protein smoothie for customers craving that “refreshed healthy feeling.” Smooth and satisfying, almond milk is swirled with kale, banana, mango, and peanut butter, and, according to Fagan, “It supplies vitamins K, A, C, B6, and several minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and copper.” A host of other blended beverages and detoxifying juices grace the menu board, along with açai and pitaya bowls, and organic vegan apple pie, for a health-conscious cheat.