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Nourish Cafe: Eat Healthy, Be Happy

Nourish Cafe: Eat Healthy, Be Happy

Nourish is a new restaurant in downtown Columbia, and it is serious about good food. The food doesn’t just taste really good – it’s also really good for you. The entire menu is gluten-free and sans soy, corn and refined sugars. Plus, all of the food is organic, locally sourced and nutrient dense.

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If there’s one thing I remember from my freshman year nutrition class, it’s the importance of nutrient/energy dense food. Food that provides more nutrients for the same amount of calories as a comparable item is considered energy dense. This is key to losing weight or maintaining a healthy diet.

The history and founding of Nourish is fascinating, and I would highly recommend reading the blog post about its start. Both of the founders, Kalle LeMone and Kimber Dean, came from not-so-healthy pasts, including addiction and unhealthy eating. Their transformation story and how they came to embrace a healthy lifestyle is truly inspiring.

Their menu is a compilation of their favorite food, and they invented each recipe. Nourish’s menu contains different variations of:

  • Cold pressed juices ($4-8)
  • Smoothies and acai bowls ($7-8.50)
  • Hot beverages ($1.50-5)
  • Bowls ($8-9.50)
  • Salads ($7.50-10)
  • Sandwiches & wraps ($7-9)
  • Small plates ($3.25-$4.25)
  • Desserts ($3-5)
  • Breakfast ($5-9.50)
  • Sides like soups and salads ($2.50-6.50).

Walking inside, I instantly felt like a cool yoga mom who could simultaneously balance a toddler on her hip while holding a Warrior II pose and drinking a green smoothie. (No, I don’t practice yoga often or have a child, but that’s what I imagine it would be like, ok?) Nourish’s interior is clean, bright and natural. Indie rock, from the likes of George Ezra and others, softly plays through the speakers but is frequently interrupted by the whir of the smoothie blender. Plenty of seating is available, whether you choose a seat on the window bar, or a table inside or on the patio.

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Feeling slightly pressured by the beautiful acai bowls I’ve seen all over Instagram from my favorite California foodies, I tried the Acai Berry Bowl, which contained acai, berries, banana and freshly squeezed orange juice. It was topped with a sliced strawberry and crushed granola and nuts. The bowl tasted as good as it looked. Expecting essentially a smoothie in a bowl, I was proven wrong. I let my friend try a bite and he described it as “if blueberry toast was liquid.” Not a super appetizing description, but oddly accurate. The berries tasted like they had been picked that morning, and the granola and nuts provided a fun contrast in flavors that I enjoyed more and more with each bite.

I tried a bite of my friend’s choice: a Southwest Bowl. This bowl had black beans, salsa, roasted tomatoes, onions, green peppers, pepper jack cheese and toasted pepita seeds, and he opted to have his eggs scrambled. Each dish comes with the ingredients somewhat segmented in the bowl, so you can choose to mix as much or as little as you please. It was so good. The salsa was pretty spicy, but was a good morning-wakeup call. This dish may even work in place of coffee to get your taste buds stimulated for the day. 

Overall, Nourish was a delightful experience. Not only was the food fresh, delicious and filling, but the atmosphere made me want to stay and hang out all day. The employees were very friendly, greeting each customer with a cheerful “good morning!” or “welcome to Nourish!” Whether you’re craving a smoothie, a filling bowl, or just want some quality, healthful calories, Nourish is the place for you.

Q & A With Co-Owner Kalle

First of all, congratulations on opening such an already successful restaurant! If you had to describe this journey so far in one word, what would it be?
It’s so cliché 
– but crazy. It’s been the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Nothing like doing something in public brings out more insecurities and vulnerabilities. Ideas are easy and great to have, but once you actually put them to life, it’s a whole other thing.

What is your favorite thing on your menu, and why?
It depends on the day! These are all our favorite foods that we created. I guess the thing I get the most often is the Broadway Bowl or the Breakfast Greens Bowl. I get those two things consistently, every day.

For people who wouldn’t normally consider themselves “healthy eaters,” how can Nourish appeal to them?
I think because it’s all flavorful and delicious. Delicious food is delicious food, whether it’s healthy or not. We tried to put things on there that are familiar to people, like smoothies. Who doesn’t love smoothies?

What do you think a restaurant like Nourish brings to a town like Columbia?
I think it’s just more options and bringing healthy and unprocessed foods to Columbia. Columbia is a very health-oriented town, very active and the demand was there. That’s why I opened it, because I wanted another place like this. It’s just a place to eat healthy and not have to worry about what you’re eating, because we break down every single one of the ingredients. We’re so cautious when we choose everything, so you won’t have any questions if it’s healthy or not.

It may be too early to ask, but what does the future of Nourish look like in your eyes?
It’s like having a baby 
– a month later, we can’t wrap our heads around doing it again [laughs]. But obviously we’d love to have more locations. We have so much fresh produce that we run out of space really fast here. The thought of [opening another location] makes me want to fall asleep, so I can’t even wrap my head around that because we are so new at this.

And finally, why are you passionate about what you do?
I love the idea that we’re so in control of not only our health, but, taking it even further, our happiness 
– just by our attitudes and our thought processes. Our bodies are created to work well. If we just treat them right and give them the foods that make them work, then we can be so healthy, full of energy and vibrant.

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