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.