Get ready for healthy stir-fry at Honeygrow
Finally there is a place on College Avenue to get good, healthy food. Honeygrow first opened for business this past Monday and its opening had been anticipated for awhile.
News that honeygrow would be one of the new restaurants opening at The Yard was announced almost a year ago. Honeygrow is a Philly startup that prides itself on “bring(ing) people together over the highest quality, wholesome, simple foods.”
Honeygrow is a great addition to the dining options here in New Brunswick, especially for vegans, vegetarians and people who simply want to eat more plant-based. The menu is decidedly plant focused.
Founder Justin Rosenberg was a “newly converted proponent of a plant-based diet” when he left his job, trained in a fine-dining kitchen and eventually opened the first honeygrow restaurant in Philadelphia. Since then, they have opened up eleven stores.
I visited honeygrow on the grand opening, so naturally I went in with an open mind and expected some slip-ups. The Scarlet Knight stood on College Avenue right outside honeygrow’s front door and waved to people passing by. The inside, although filled with an absurd number of staff (they were training), was nice.
I would call honeygrow a “fast-casual” eatery, but the space was decorated more like a restaurant would be.
According to the honeygrow blog, the New Brunswick location features “reclaimed yellow pine on the walls and table tops by local craftsmen, PhilaWoodcraft.” There is also “custom commissioned artwork by local photographer Martin Tadashi, a Rutgers University — Newark alum.”
Other artwork was done by videographer Samuel Markey, a New Jersey native. The menus are done by local marker board artist Lizzy McElrean, and they are beautiful.
Honeygrow does an excellent job of cultivating the aesthetic that is so common among restaurants today — that sort of “modern industrial” vibe. There's lots of wood, vintage light bulbs and chalkboard menus. To their benefit, the space is very open and has lots of natural light. There is also a fair amount of seating, which is good considering they will probably get busy.
The honeygrow menu offers a diverse array of options. The main categories are stir-frys, salads and “honeybar.”
I tried the "Sweet Soy Five Spice Stir-Fry" on my first visit. It came with brown rice, togarashi spiced turkey, green beans, red onions and sesame seeds. I also added pickled cucumbers for an extra couple of cents. I got my order to go and ate at one of the outside tables, since it was a beautiful day and it was a little loud inside the restaurant.
The stir-fry was good — it wasn’t life altering, but it was a solid stir-fry with great flavor. It was a little spicy from the togarashi (a Japanese spice blend that includes chili, sesame seeds, orange zest and more) and a little sweet from the onions.
The green beans were fresh and perfectly cooked. Not “crisp tender” but not overcooked either. The turkey was a little dry, but it’s turkey, so that’s to be expected. Adding the pickled cucumbers was a good move—they were thinly sliced and had a great sweet and acidic flavor. Although it was a little more expensive than I would of liked to spend on a lunch, the serving was generous and the quality was good.
The salad options will change with the seasons. According to their blog, their new fall salad will debut on October 4th. The “Pear-Anormal Salad” will include baby spinach, red quinoa, sliced pears, roasted carrots, cranberries, roasted cashews and a cider-herb vinaigrette.
Another salad I’m excited to try is the “Caravan,” which features lemon curry yogurt dressing, green kale, organic baby spinach, roasted FreeBird chicken, cucumbers, raw cauliflower, tea-soaked raisins and toasted almonds. The ingredients are “local when available.”
The honeybar is a unique option. For the honeybar you choose three fruits, one honey (or maple syrup) and one topping. Toppings range from chocolate chips to coconut and to plain yogurt. You can also add whipped cream on top.
All of the menu items at honeygrow are fully customizable. You do not have to choose from their “suggested” stir-frys and salads — you can turn any of the dishes into your own. Many of the menu items are vegan and gluten free, so it's a perfect option for anyone with certain dietary restrictions.