It is as easy to talk about eating healthy and fresh as it is difficult to get that kind of food served to you on a platter.
Tracy Morgan of Balance Café knows this.
More than two decades of experience- both on-and-off the counter – in the corporate catering industry has helped Tracy perceive the true quality of food being served across most of the everyday grab-and-go places. Sourced from mass-production industrial processes, they provide little more than empty calories. With Balance Café, Tracy offers a respite.
Striking the ‘Balance’
“Everyone is trying to find the balance between a hectic lifestyle and eating healthy”, speaks out a busy Tracy. She has to cater a swarm of customers once the café opens its doors in the wee hours of the morning. There are a good array of breakfast options to choose from: hash browns, sandwiches, waffles, freshly brewed parfaits, steel cut oats, or their breakfast special smoothies. “7 AM is usually the commuting hour. People are getting up and getting ready to go to work or school”. When someone trusts you with their first meal of the day, you know you have a responsibility to shoulder.”
Customers pour-in in huge numbers. Between 7 am in the morning and 6 pm sundown, Balance Café gives everyone a reason to walk through their doors at least once – be it a senior citizen with specific food preferences, a power-trainer trying to balance his calories, a lean lady looking out for her waistline, or just someone looking out for real and healthy snack options. The psychology is simple: people only get the healthiest version of what they’ve ordered.
All of the café’s fruits and vegetables are sourced farm-fresh. Their smoothies are a burst of fresh colors and a huge hit as a pre or a post workout drink. “We have a lot of regulars who come in the morning before their workout or after.” Tracy herself cuts the chicken in-house every day. Their City Chicken Peta sandwich is the most popular item on the menu for lunch. Even their coffee is sourced from a local coffeehouse called “Look Out Joe.”
There’s Something for Everyone
The Balance Café is one place you can visit with almost anyone you know. Your kid will love the colorful smoothies and other tantalizing items on the menu whilst you sit back and relax sans the guilt of having to stuff your toddler with junk. Grandma can snack on poached eggs by the side of garden-fresh salad. You don’t even have to worry about your gluten-conscious girlfriend or that vegan friend. Since everything is made from scratch here, customizing comes easy.
“We accommodate and customize our food to fit every single person who walks in without feeling like it’s a hassle. We allow people to come in here and make up their own items, whether it be from the smoothies ingredients or any of the fresh foods that we have. We alter things for everyone so that it can be dairy-free or gluten-free, or nut-free or whatever their dietary requests are and they don’t feel like they are alienated and they feel that they have more than just one choice.”
Or, if you’re visiting alone, you can while away your time by reading through the list of ingredients that have gone in making your order, along with their nutritional values. The message from the kitchen is, “Our food is made with better nutrition and it is everyday food items. We try to put a lot of nutrition in all of the different things that we eat every day – fresh or creamed or less sweeteners or less whatever”.
That Friendly-Neighbor Feel
Tracy makes sure she makes even the little kids feel at home here. Her conversations with them regarding their school stories make them keep coming back. The steady stream of people to the cafe helps her expand the menu a little bit, in line with the unique concept her café brings to the table. Sometimes it’s a weekly special, an in-season dish prepared with the season special vegetables or fruits to give you that yearly dose of seasonal flavors. Sometimes, it’s something on the catering request that Tracy thinks you’d like and just wants you to give a try.
Ironically, she has had to turn away a lot of these catering requests owing to huge imbalance she faces behind-the-counter in the demand-supply flow. With the unique concept in place and her husband’s skillful marketing, she now sees through the need to expand her kitchen. And who knows, maybe a branch in your neighborhood might not be very far off. But for now, if you feel divided for a choice between boring dietary grass or calorie-laden junk for a dining-out option, Ohio’s Balance Café is sure to feel like a breath of fresh air.