Stir-fry restau­rant Honey­grow opens on Main Street

Newark Post - - Local News - By KARIE SIM­MONS ksim­mons@ches­pub.com

If it’s a nice day around lunchtime, Main Street is packed – cars are bumper-to-bumper, pedes­tri­ans are strolling the streets, and starv­ing col­lege stu­dents are search­ing for a good meal be­tween classes.

The scene down­town was no dif­fer­ent Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, ex­cept that many of those hun­gry Blue Hens had found their lunch spot in­side Ne­wark’s new­est restau­rant: Honey­grow.

The Philadel­phia-based chain, which fea­tures cus­tom­iz­a­ble stir-fry, sal­ads, fruit cups and smooth­ies, of­fi­cially opened Mon­day at 58 E. Main St., a newly-con­structed, fourstory Tsionas Man­age­ment build­ing with re­tail space on the first floor and apart­ments above. The Ne­wark lo­ca­tion is the com­pany’s sec­ond in Delaware.

Cus­tomers packed Honey­grow to the walls on Wed­nes­day and the line to pick up food nearly reached the doors, but that didn’t de­ter Univer­sity of Delaware ju­niors Shan­nika Pugh and Mor­gan Wil­liams, both 20, from dig­ging into some made-to­order stir-fry.

For Pugh, Wed­nes­day was her sec­ond time at the Ne­wark restau­rant since it opened. She said the food is fresh and she likes that she can use Honey­grow’s touch­screen or­der­ing method to cus­tom­ize her meal with dif­fer­ent top­pings, meats and sauces.

“It’s like noth­ing else on Main Street,” she said.

Pugh had been wait­ing for Honey­grow to open since the restau­rant an­nounced it was com­ing to Main Street last spring. Over the sum­mer, signs on the build­ing in­di­cated the eatery would open some­time in au­tumn, but when the leaves changed col­ors and snow be­gan to fall, Ne­wark­ers were left won­der­ing when the busi­ness would open.

“The sign said fall and then it was fall and I was like, ‘Where are you?’” Pugh said, laugh­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments, a le­gal spat de­layed the restau­rant’s open­ing. Honey­grow sued its land­lord and neigh­bor­ing Qdoba Mex­i­can Grill over a dis­agree­ment about duct­work and PVC pip­ing Honey­grow in­stalled in the ad­join­ing re­tail space. Since then, Honey­grow has re­moved the duct­work and pip­ing and found an al­ter­na­tive vent­ing route.

A sign in­side the restau­rant on Mon­day elud­ing to the de­lay reads: “The re­cov­ery of an alien map to a dif­fer­ent galaxy led us to a spe­cial por­tal that is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. De­spite the su­per­nat­u­ral forces that de­layed our open­ing, we couldn’t be more proud of our sec­ond DE store here on Main Street!”

Jen De­nis, Honey­grow’s chief brand of­fi­cer, said Wed­nes­day that the mes­sage is meant to be a joke.

“We wanted to have a lit­tle sense of hu­mor about the fact that the de­lays were out of our con­trol,” she said.

Ash­ley Bost­wisk, a 22-year-old UD se­nior, said she rec­om­mended Hon- ey­grow to her friend Robyn Crisp, 23, of Lan­den­berg, Pa., on Wed­nes­day be­cause she has pre­vi­ously eaten at the Philadel­phia lo­ca­tion.

Crisp trusted Bost­wisk’s rec­om­men­da­tion and said she found the food re­fresh­ing and unique. Although she had never been to a Honey­grow be­fore Wed­nes­day, she said she has al­ways heard good things from other cus­tomers.

“I have a friend who lives in Philly who raved about it, so I de­cided to check it out. I heard it was pretty good, which it was,” she said, look­ing down at her empty bowl of stir­fry.

De­nis said Honey­grow chose Ne­wark for the small-town lo­cal vibe and close prox­im­ity to UD. She also said the type of food Honey­grow serves wasn’t re­ally rep­re­sented on Main Street.

“It seems like Main Street could use more va­ri­ety, and we’re happy we could pro­vide that,” she said.

The restau­rant plans to em­ploy be­tween 30 to 50 peo­ple in pri­mar­ily part-time po­si­tions and is still in the process of hir­ing.

The Ne­wark eatery is Honey­grow’s sec­ond lo­ca­tion in Delaware – the other restau­rant is in Wilm­ing­ton – and De­nis said the com­pany has no plans to ex­pand else­where in the state, although it is al­ways look­ing for new op­por­tu­ni­ties. “I’d never say never,” De­nis said. Honey­grow is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY KARIE SIM­MONS

Cus­tomers use a touch­screen in­side Honey­grow to cre­ate cus­tom­ized stir-fry, sal­ads, fruit cups and smooth­ies.

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