Two new restau­rants open in down­town Ne­wark


Spe­cial from the Ne­wark Post

— Main Street wel­comed two new restau­rants last week.

Roots Nat­u­ral Kitchen, which spe­cial­izes in rice bowls and sal­ads, opened at 129 E. Main St. in the for­mer lo­ca­tion of Yo­goBerry. Mean­while, the own­ers of Peace A Pizza, which closed over the sum­mer, opened a new pizza eatery in its place.

Re­cent Univer­sity of Vir­ginia grad­u­ates Al­varo Anspach and Al­berto Nam­num opened the first Roots Natu-


ral Kitchen in their col­lege town of Char­lottesville, Va., last year. They chose Ne­wark for their se­cond lo­ca­tion be­cause they were fa­mil­iar with the town from vis­it­ing friends at the Univer­sity of Delaware.

“We’re ex­cited to be on Main Street,” Anspach said Tues­day. “It’s a cool crowd.”

The fast-causal restau­rant is fo­cused on mak­ing healthy food de­sir­able and ac­ces­si­ble to to all, not just peo­ple who are fo­cused on be­ing health-con­scious.

“There’s a mis­con­cep­tion that if you eat healthy, you’ll be hun­gry in an hour and a half,” Anspach ex­plained ear­lier this year. “You don’t have to sac­ri­fice taste. You’re not just eat­ing cu­cum­bers.”

Pop­u­lar dishes in­clude the El Jefe rice bowl, which con­tains chicken, av­o­cado, pita chips, feta cheese and other in­gre­di­ents, as well as the May­weather salad, a mix of kale, chicken, goat cheese, sweet pota­toes, roasted beets and other foods. Cus­tomers can also cre­ate their own sal­ads or rice bowls.

While pa­trons have a bevy of in­gre­di­ents to choose from, one thing that they don’t have to make a deci- sion about is their bev­er­age. Roots does not sell any drinks; it only of­fers a free wa­ter dis­penser.

It’s an unusual move for sev­eral rea­sons, not the least of which is drinks are of­ten a big mon­ey­maker for restau­rants that charge $2 or $3 for a foun­tain soda that costs them only pen­nies.

Anspatch said it started out ac­ci­den­tally – he was so fo­cused on the food menu that he hadn’t got­ten around to con­sid­er­ing bev­er­age op­tions by the time the Char­lottesville restau­rant opened – but he even­tu­ally re­al­ized it fits well with the busi­ness’ mis­sion

“Wa­ter is the only nat­u­ral bev­er­age,” he said, adding that he’s open to adding a bev­er­age menu later, as long as it fits with Roots’ con­cept.

Down the block at Snap Cus­tom Pizza, hun­gry col­lege stu­dents were play­ing chef by choos­ing their own sauce, crust and top­pings for their per­son­al­ized pies.

UD ju­nior Julie Ka­j­man and se­nior Emma Aufrichtig said they were sad to see Peace A Pizza leave 44 E. Main St., but got ex­cited once they found out Snap would be open­ing in its place. Ka­j­man said she has eaten at a cus­tom pizza joint be­fore and liked the con­cept.

“I’m in­de­ci­sive so I like it be­cause, for ex­am­ple tonight, I got half one sauce and half the other,” she said.

Tues­day was Ka­j­man’s se­cond time at Snap since it opened last week, but Aufrichtig’s first. She or­dered the Ken­net Square pizza off the menu, but with gluten­free crust.

“Al­most all my friends came here over the week­end, so I had to check it out,” she said.

Though the name and con­cept of Peace A Pizza has changed to Snap Pizza, the own­er­ship has not. The eatery is still owned by Pete Howey and Erin Nocks, who started Peace A Pizza to­gether 20 years ago in Ard­more, Pa. Two years later, they opened their se­cond lo­ca­tion in Ne­wark and even­tu­ally ex­panded to Penn­syl­va­nia, New Jer­sey and Florida.

The duo re­cently de­cided to switch some – but not all – of their Peace A Pizza shops to Snap Pizza as a way to rein­vig­o­rate the busi­ness.

At Snap, cus­tom piz­zas are $8.49, and top­pings range from five dif­fer­ent kinds of sauces to roasted ar­ti­chokes, moz­zarella, veal meat­balls and dozens more. There are also sig­na­ture piz­zas for $7.99, and kids piz­zas are $4.99 with one top­ping and a drink. The restau­rant also sells sal­ads and grain bowls for $8.99.

UD sopho­mores Ni­cole Ma­son and Maria DePinto were en­joy­ing their first Snap Pizza ex­pe­ri­ence Tues­day and af­ter de­vour­ing their cre­ations, left the restau­rant full and happy.

“I’m from New York, so I’m very strict about my pizza,” DePinto said, eye­ing the few slices left on her plate. “This is pretty good, though.”

Ma­son took a shot at mak­ing a cus­tom pizza with chicken, ri­cotta cheese, spinach and onions. She said she was pleased with how it came out and is look­ing for­ward to try­ing other top­ping com­bi­na­tions next time.

“There’s a lot of other pizza places on Main Street, but I think it’s good to have a cus­tom­iz­a­ble one,” Ma­son said. “It’s dif­fer­ent.”

Mean­while, two other Main Street restau­rants have closed their doors. Cosi closed in late Septem­ber as its par­ent com­pany filed for bank­ruptcy. Primo Hoa­gies also called it quits, post­ing a note that thanked cus­tomers for their sup­port but did not ex­plain rea­son be­hind the clo­sure.

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