By now, Cymplify (pronounced “simplify”) is no secret. They serve tasty coffee, host food truck rallies and live music, offer print shop services, and serve delicious Working Cow ice cream. All from a one-stop compound that packs more culture in one square than a microscope slide (a little science humor for you all). Located in the old Greenery Square at 5402 NW 8th Avenue, they recently added a café to their array of offerings. Cymply Fresh Café is very quickly gaining popularity as one of the best lunch spots in town. With produce that’s grown on site, locally sourced meats, and a chef that is intent on making everything fresh and homemade, Cymply Fresh Café completely lives up to its name. The menu is packed full of items that are vegetarian and gluten free friendly. But don’t worry meat-eaters, we aren’t forgotten.
Let begin by saying that raw foods, veggies, and salads aren’t my preferred choice of meals. At my core, I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but I can appreciate quality foods of all varieties. My chief complaints being that many places don’t serve the kind of fresh ingredients that are so important when food is raw. There is no hiding if it’s terrible. My other complaint being that a lot of raw foods and veggies just taste bland and boring. I’m the man-child that still ignores his mother’s cries to eat more vegetables. That said, the food at Cymply Fresh completely destroyed both of my chief complaints, and would make Ron Swanson eat his greens.
The restaurant is small, and is only opened 11 AM through 3 PM, Monday through Saturday. So if you’re stopping in for a bite, be prepared to be greeted by potentially long lines. But it’s worth the wait. The menu is entirely in chalk to allow for changes according to whatever ingredients are available at the time. One of these rotating specials I was able to try was the Watermelon Gazpacho ($5 – watermelon, fresh herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and jalapeno) that was refreshing and just in time for the impending summer heat. Cold, tart, and full of juicy watermelon goodness, this was a winner! The Cymply Fresh Burger ($13 – veggie patty made of walnuts, cashew, and sunflower seeds served with lettuce, tomato, onions, sprouts, and cashew cheese in between homemade onion bread) was a pleasant and delicious surprise. While less of a burger and more of a deconstructed salad, it was fantastic. The crispy thin homemade onion bread, flavorful veggie patty, and generous amounts of fresh vegetables made this just as filling as any beef burger. This in itself was a feat that most vegetarian menu items do not achieve. More importantly, I was able to go back to work without slumping over and going into a grease-induced coma.
The same great ingredients and preparation go into a variety of items like the Cymply Fresh Salad ($7 – baby spinach, romaine, goat cheese, red onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and toasted sunflower seeds with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette), the Chicken Salad (11 – grilled chicken, mixed greens with sliced onions, cucumbers, and diced tomatoes), and the Raw Broccoli Salad ($3 side/$9 large – organic broccoli, scallions, celery, sunflower seeds, blanched almonds, carrots, red peppers, vegan ranch dressing). I could seriously eat that Raw Broccoli Salad for days, I highly recommend it!
But being a meat eater, I’m afraid I’m biased. The Candied Bacon BLT ($9) is probably the best BLT I’ve ever had. Thick slices of bacon covered in brown sugar, lettuce, and tomatoes served between lightly toasted bread. Nothing fancy about it, but it’s amazing how much of a difference it makes when the ingredients are literally grown behind the restaurant. The Chicken Wings ($11 – 8 pieces) are another must-have. Local chicken wings are slow roasted in coconut oil for a couple hours, then broiled in jerk seasoning and served with a spicy honey wing sauce. Juicy, tender, fall off the bone wings that won’t make you feel like you downed a gallon of grease sure sounds like a winner to me. After your meal, you can wander 20 feet to your right and get some tasty ice cream. Or if you don’t feel like undoing the healthy mean you just consumed, try the Amazing Green Smoothy ($4 small/$7 large), a blend of parsley, kale, spinach, chard, carrots, dates, homemade almond milk, strawberries, and bananas.
If you work in the area like me, this is a wonderful spot for lunch, and a much better option than the row of fast food joints on Newberry Road. You’ll be happy to know that Cymply Fresh Café is “Cymply” delicious. If it can make this carnivore enjoy eating his vegetables, then maybe you’ll enjoy it too!