Penny Seabolt was overweight, the mother of twins, divorced, and mourning the loss of her father when she decided to change her life. Now, almost 15 years later, she opened a restaurant, Lyfe Café at The Shops at Kenilworth in Towson, that reflects the positive changes she made. Along the way, Seabolt became a nutritionist, a personal trainer, and a professional body builder. She recently stopped competing to focus on her new business.
Seabolt, who grew up and still lives in Lutherville, chose the location because she wanted to be close to the home she shares with her husband and Lyfe co-owner Andrew Seabolt and her now teenaged twins, Madison and Thomas Smith. “It’s my community,” she says.
At Lyfe, diners will find an attractive, industrialized space with warm touches such as a comfy peach-hued sofa, earth-tone tables, greenery, and a smiling Buddha. You place an order at the counter, grab a seat, and wait for your meal. It’s not fast food, so it can take a few extra minutes to be delivered to you.
Sauces and baked goods are made fresh by chefs who follow Seabolt’s recipes for all types of diets. “I wanted a place where carnivores, vegetarians, and vegans could eat,” she says.
I couldn’t have been happier to find out that the cafe serves breakfast all day. The breakfast burrito was an afternoon treat. I chose a whole-wheat tortilla and grilled chicken rolled into a plump tube with cooked egg whites, cheddar cheese, avocado slices, black bean pico de gallo, and turkey bacon. The varied textures and flavors melded deliciously. The accompanying fruit bowl with melon, pineapple, and grapes complemented the savory wrap.
There’s a help-yourself cold case filled with beverages like Wild Kombucha in various flavors, Vitamin Water, and Perrier. I opted for a freshly made cold-pressed juice called Sunrise that blazed with color and flavor from its apple, strawberry, and grapefruit components.
On another visit, I tried a steak burger with Parmesan cheese, romaine lettuce, tomato, and onion on an artisan roll. It was juicy and filling, especially with a side dish of cucumber-tomato salad lightly slicked with balsamic vinaigrette.
I also tucked into a spicy Thai bowl with tri-color quinoa. The peanut sauce had a slight zing—just enough to tingle your taste buds, not set them on fire. The viscous topping brightened a gorgeous pile of chicken, steak, Portobello mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and chopped peanuts. The Harbor Port salmon bowl is another popular item, Seabolt says, with grilled salmon, an assortment of vegetables, and mango salsa. Indulge in a peanut butter cookie, made with coconut sugar, to end on a sweet note.
The portions are so generous that you’ll likely have leftovers. I did. That makes the prices—$15.99 for a burger, $14.99 for steak and eggs, $13.99 for a chopped salad—easi- er to swallow. Seabolt is already looking to- ward a future of more restaurants. “I have really big plans,” she says. “I want people to know my name.”
›› Lyfe Cafe
800 Kenilworth Drive, The Shops at Kenilworth, Towson, 410-842-1050. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.: Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. 10a.m.-5 p.m.