Traverse City Working Lunch: Elixir Cafe and Restoratives

Today we welcome a new writer to the eatdrinkTC team, Kelly Korbel. Kelly works at Hagerty Insurance in downtown TC and will be doing regular features on fast and delicious lunch options downtown for the working crowd.

I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the brand new Elixir Cafe and Restoratives, but let me just begin by saying, WOW!


Upon entering, I was immediately blown away by the updated look and feel of the space. The industrial tables were warmed up with a splash of color from the napkins and centerpieces to match the walls and the overall appeal was very modern and sleek. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, the kind of place I would want to go to catch up over brunch with the girls or to treat myself to a drawn-out breakfast while poring over the newspaper.

The gal in the funky glasses at the counter was very cheerful and eager to recommend her favorites. She enthusiastically highlighted the dishes in the glass case, explaining the quinoa salad, the brussel sprout salad with bacon, and a colorful carrot salad. What I most appreciated about the service was the honesty. “If you like carrots, I would go with this salad because I’m not sure how long we’ll be making it,” she told me. “The other two are staples and we’ll pretty much always have them.” I settled for the Braised Grass-Fed Beef bowl that came highly recommended by the chef, and to my delight was able to choose between a few different flavors of Synergy, my favorite brand of Kombucha, to accompany my lunch.

lunch-at-elixerA huge bowl of goodness was delivered to my table about six minutes after sitting down, which brings me to my original goal: find lunch spots in Traverse City that allow someone with a limited time for lunch to enjoy a delicious meal without feeling rushed. A healthy serving of beef and mushrooms sat atop a bed of purple-brown Japonica rice, garnished with greens and veggies and with a side of spicy bean paste that kicked the flavors up a notch. When I saw the portion my first thought was that I would have enough for leftovers, but within two bites I realized that leftovers would never make it out of the cafe.

When I really love the food that I’m eating, I subconsciously begin to dance in my chair. It’s usually more of a subtle shoulder-wiggle paired with a goofy grin, but today I did a complete food dance despite the fact that some coworkers were sitting just across the cafe. The beef was tender and the mushrooms paired perfectly with the flavors from the meat; I couldn’t place the seasonings, but it reminded me of my friend Li cooking for hours on end just to get the right texture and flavor. The veggie garnishes provided some crunch and the bean paste spiced up each bite.

The best part of Elixir is the commitment to your health. They only serve non-GMO food that steers clear of high fructose corn syrup, refined carbohydrates, gluten, and artificial sweeteners. A recent status on their Facebook page states, “No chemicals at Elixir. We want to feed you, not poison you.” And feed you they will. Their menu boasts a range of all kinds of food from smoothies and juice to breakfast to hearty ‘Bowls of Goodness,’ not to mention their coffee that I can’t wait to go back and try.

beautiful-plate-at-elixer-cafe-in-TCI was back to the office within a mere forty minutes (including my walk) and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I did not experience my typical 2:00 energy slump. Real food rocks!

Elixir Cafe and Restoratives is located at 517 S. Union in Traverse City and is open Monday – Saturday from 7 AM – 4 PM for breakfast and lunch and Sundays from 8 AM – 4 PM for brunch. You can also catch them on Facebook.