By Kassie Parisi
CLIFTON PARK — In just a few months, a health-focused restaurant will join the slew of cafes and eateries in town.
CoreLife Eatery, a Syracuse-based chain that specializes in vegetables and organic, healthy meals, will occupy a space in the mixed-used development project on Clifton Country Road in front of the Hannaford supermarket. The store is projected to open in February.
CoreLife will be housed in a 3,500-square-foot space, and will be set up in the same style as other “make-your-own” restaurants, such as Chipotle.
CoreLife CEO Larry Wilson said that CoreLife will also be moving into other Capital Region locations, including Latham, Albany, Wolf Road or Western Avenue, and Saratoga Springs.
The New York locations are part of the chain’s effort to build 40 stores across the country by 2018. CoreLife’s longterm goal is to open 300 stores within the next five years.
The health-food brand, Wilson said, has grown quickly because people want healthy alternatives to other fast-food lunch stops.
“It’s a unique brand,” he said. “We made a conscious decision that we were going to do something completely unique and different. Where can you go in Albany and feel good about what you just ate?” he asked, noting that even most of the chains that are seen as healthy alternatives still place a heavy emphasis on breads, sodas and sweets.
CoreLife relies on none of those foods, he said. The chain does not sell soda, chips, desserts or anything fried. Instead, they offer bowls filled with greens, grains and different types of noodles. Customers can choose from meats such as chicken and beef.
The restaurant also offers custom soups, including bone broth — broth that is made with animal bone and then left to simmer with vegetables. They also offer a wide variety of gluten-free options, and Wilson said that employees of CoreLife change their gloves whenever they need to be considerate of someone with a gluten allergy.
The chain’s expansion has been funded in large part by M&T Bank, who Wilson praised for believing in the brand and coming to stand behind CoreLife immediately after learning about the restaurant.
CoreLife, Wilson said, combines three main components: quick service, good food, and affordability. The chain will fit in well in the area, he said, because there is a niche to be filled.
“I think that’s the secret,” Wilson said. “That’s why we’re so successful.”