OGDEN — Visitors moseying down 25th Street during a Saturday morning Farmer’s Market may have noticed Good Life Café & Micro Juicery, the type of establishment that appeals to people who buy fresh, local produce.
It’s a welcoming, casual restaurant with an atmosphere that’s simultaneously hip and down-to-earth.
True to its name, the café features fresh juice and smoothies with ingredients visitors will recognize and “wellness shots,” which contain lesser known items like wheatgrass, turmeric and beetroot.
For me, though, it was the food that really stole the show.
New to the restaurant, I arrived with some misconceptions, thinking it featured mostly smoothies, salads and lighter fare, and probably a lot of kale.
While kale is on the menu, what I discovered was a range of hearty options as satisfying as any other good breakfast or lunch joint — minus the guilt about its effects on my health, since the food contains locally sourced ingredients like fresh, pasture-raised eggs, accompanied by a fair amount of greens.
Tyler Lathrop, the café’s owner, even received a delivery of kale and eggs from a local farm between bringing out food to customers.
The café specializes in plant-based offerings, but also serves turkey, eggs, cheese and seafood, so there’s plenty to choose from for omnivores.
The breakfast menu offers considerable variety, including organic protein pancakes, a yogurt parfait, breakfast tacos, and an eclectic grain bowl made of forbidden rice, sunny-side up eggs, seasonal greens, sweet potato, avocado, sprouts, sriracha cashew sauce and house-made candied jalapeños, which are also sold separately.
If you’re not into forbidden rice and sriracha cashew sauce, there’s a sandwich menu with a club sandwich that’s popular among the lunch crowd, Lathrop said.
About six months after Lathrop took over the café from its previous owners, her vegan macaroni and cheese won best mac and cheese among eight or nine restaurants competing in the 2017 Vegan Mac Down SLC contest held annually by the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition in Salt Lake.
“It’s my favorite thing on the menu, and I’m not vegan,” said Michaela Chandler, a staff member at the café and Ogden resident, about the café’s macaroni and cheese. “I could eat that every single day. Sometimes on my days off, I come here just to get that.”
The menu includes an entree section featuring items like the Beyond Meat burger and Beyond Meat bratwurst, both vegan meat substitutes that are so convincing some vegetarian customers have complained that they were served real meat, Lathrop said.
My favorite item I tried was the Farmed Fried Egg Sandwich made up of grilled Dakota bread, two fried eggs, baby kale, avocado and sprouts. It also contained some off-the-menu extras that are free for a limited time, including the candied jalapeños.
The breakfast menu features four breakfast tacos that are served all day — The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and El Diablo. Larger than street tacos, each taco is almost a meal in itself.
I tried El Diablo, which included egg, vegan chorizo, potato, red bell pepper, onion and Cotija cheese. The egg and potatoes took the edge off the spicy chorizo. The tortilla was fresh and looked and tasted like it had just been grilled.
In addition to feeling good about what they’re putting in their bodies, patrons can take satisfaction in animal products that are ethically sourced.
All of Lathrop’s eggs come from local, pasture-raised chickens, and compassion for all animals is one of her top priorities.
Lathrop, who worked as a private chef in Los Angeles and Austin before moving to Ogden to run this restaurant, held off serving breakfast until about eight months ago when she found a supplier that met her standard.
“I’m really picky,” Lathrop said. “I don’t want a factory farm egg.”