Athlete Eats

Tucked amid the bodegas and indie record stores of Cherokee Street sits Athlete Eats, a polished little café that is all about healthy eating. Owner Simon Lusky started the business as a nutrition service, providing meal plans and prepared foods to health-conscious clients, including some of the St. Louis Cardinals players, and expanded to include a breakfast and lunch counter. Athlete Eats offers a variety of juices, smoothies and guilt-free fare, including Carolina-style barbecue; a juicy, locally raised grass-fed beef burger; and hearty salads. One of the more creative offerings, the bibimbap bowl, replaces the traditional sticky rice with caulirice — grated pieces of roasted cauliflower that resembles small rice grains. Tossed with edamame, shiitakes and thinly sliced spiced beef, it’s as good, if not better, than the traditional, rice-based Korean staple. Athlete Eats only serves breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays — a shame because it’s where some of the restaurant’s best items are showcased. The gluten-free pancakes, laden with cinnamon and topped with coconut cream and maple orange syrup, are so tasty that one doesn’t miss the flour. And do not leave without trying Athlete Eats’ breakfast take on the Gerber sandwich: a garlic-studded waffle is topped with shaved ham, Provel cheese, béchamel sauce and a sunny-side egg. It’s one of the best uses of waffles in town.

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