Stir-fry restaurant Honeygrow opens on Main Street
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.
Customers use a touchscreen inside Honeygrow to create customized stir-fry, salads, fruit cups and smoothies.