Melissa Vassenelli lives to run and runs to live. While training for a marathon recently in North Syracuse, she noticed a new restaurant under construction touting greens, grains, broths and juices.
The restaurant, called Core, opens Wednesday (May 6) at the former Jo-Li-Me Cafe, next to Chuck Hafner’s Farm Market and Garden Center at Buckley and Taft Roads. Vassenelli can’t wait.
“I’m very, very excited about a restaurant that has healthy options,” says Vassenelli, an account executive for iHeartMedia who runs marathons and half marathons in her leisure time. Her son is in grade school at St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse, so she is in the area often. “I try to eat gluten-free and organic and am a big proponent of juices… I’m just excited to have another option.”
Core bills itself as “a restaurant focused on healthy eating and living.” The menu is centered on grains, greens, slow-simmered “bone broths” (and vegetable broth) and beverages like freshly extracted vegetable and fruit juices. If you follow a “Paleo” diet or just like to eat healthy, you’re bound to appreciate the bowl offerings, which begin with a base of grains, greens or broth and can be customized to your taste with a variety of add-ons and toppings.
You might start, for example, with a base of quinoa and greens, add toppings/pairings like broccoli, beets, carrots and dried cranberries, and top it all with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon or lime — or something from the list of homemade dressings, like carrot chili vinaigrette or citrus poppyseed dressing.
You’ll also find grain bowl “creations” like the spicy chicken and ancient grains bowl (grilled “free bird” chicken, warm quinoa and farro blend, sriracha, broccoli, carrots, raw beets, scallions and lime cilantro jalapeno dressing) and the ginger steak and rice noodles bowl with carrots, cucumbers, scallions and peanut miso ginger dressing.
“Our main goal is to provide access to clean, nutrient dense and delicious foods in a quick casual setting,” Core co-owner and operating partner John Caveny said in a news release. “Too often, people have to sacrifice speed or quality, but that ends with concept of Core.”
Core’s menu is built around natural ingredients that contain no additives, preservatives or artificial sweeteners. Produce, meats and other ingredients will be sourced locally when possible. Sauces and dressings are made from scratch, in-house. Bone broths are “slow simmered all day for maximum nutritional value,” the partners say.
“You can count on us to ensure the highest level of freshness and quality in everything we make,” said Caveny. “We juice 10 pounds of carrots to make a single gallon of carrot chili dressing.”
The Caveny family, who owned and operated Jo-Li-Me Cafe, have partnered with longtime friend Larry Wilson to open Core. Wilson owns 25 Moe’s and Hoopla! restaurants in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The partners plan to introduce the Core concept in other markets.
What is bone broth, you ask? Bone broth, a trendy food item cities like New York, has gained popularity recently for its purported health benefits. To make the broth, meat bones are roasted and then simmered in water from 12 to 48 hours, to break down the bones and release the nutrients and minerals in them, including collagen, gelatin and glucosamine. How is that different from stock or broth? Stock and broth aren’t cooked for as long, and stock generally includes flavor-enhancers like onions and herbs.
A glass of bone broth will be available for $1 at Core – try something new without breaking the bank.
Core is at 7265 Buckley Road, North Syracuse. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Call 299-4451 or email [email protected]. For more information, including menus, visit the website (CLICK HERE) and Facebook (CLICK HERE)