By Andrew Farinaccio
Started in Philadelphia by Justin Rosenberg just four years ago, honeygrow has opened seven additional locations in the northeast from Hoboken to Newark, DE, with another seven coming soon. Along the way, honeygrow has reshaped expectations of what quick service food should be.
Gone are the days of premade food made from mystery ingredients that lack as much nutrition as they do flavor. In its place, a healthful, yet undeniably tempting menu consisting of savory stir-fries, bright salads, honeybars, and smoothies, all made from fresh ingredients sourced to be as local as possible. Your lunch hour will never be the same. And there’s bound to be one opening up near you soon (if there isn’t one already!), so we got the scoop about what you should know before you go:
1. The menu shatters the fast food status quo.
Honeygrow is far from the ordinary quick service restaurant. “Everything is completely made to order, so nothing is prepared ahead of time,” says Jen Denis, chief brand officer. You won’t find any burgers and fries sunbathing under heat lamps here. Instead, honeygrow serves up stir fries prepared in sizzling woks to “retain bright color and lock in flavor with a minimal amount of oil,” Denis explains, along with salads comprised of ingredients that are prepped constantly to ensure freshness. The quick, convenient service may be reminiscent of typical fast food joints, but the food being served is anything but.
2. It’s a picky eater’s paradise.
“In our restaurants you order everything on a touchscreen,” Denis tells us, “so that ensures you can customize everything to your liking.” So, if you want the spicy garlic stir-fry, but prefer roasted pork instead of chicken, or you don’t want any pineapple, no worries! Just tap your preferences on the touchscreen and honeygrow’s accommodating staff will handle the rest. “The people that work for us are highly trained with the specific purpose of creating something custom for every person who walks through the door.”
3. The ingredients are really fresh—Jersey Fresh.
It’s no surprise that fresher ingredients make for better-tasting food. That’s why honeygrow features local and seasonal produce whenever possible. “It’s how we make everything taste the best,” says Denis. “We’re firm believers that food is best in its most true form.”
Sometimes that even means offering certain menu items based on the local growing season, like the Son of a Peach seasonal summer salad. (“We like puns around here,” Denis notes.) “We tend to follow a slightly later schedule because we are being truer to the growing seasons of the northeast, so, for example, our summer salad didn’t launch June 1 or June 21. Our summer salad launched July 1 because that’s when peak peaches and tomatoes were possible in our locations.”
The salad, which consists of organic baby spinach and arugula, mixed cherry tomatoes, roasted corn, local fresh mozzarella, pickled peppers, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette, features peaches picked right in the Garden State at Fralinger Farms in Bridgeton. How’s that for fresh?
4. Honeygrow is freezer free!
Freezers may be able to preserve food, but what they can’t preserve is freshness and flavor. That’s why you won’t find a freezer at any of honeygrow’s locations. Their solution to ensuring freshness sans freezing? “We get multiple deliveries all week,” Jen tells us. “We are very careful about our par level, so that when we order food we’re not over-ordering so we minimize waste. We would rather have multiple deliveries than have any waste.”
5. OK. So what’s a honeybar?
Everyone’s probably familiar with the majority of the items featured on honeygrow’s menu—stir fries, salads, smoothies—but what you might not be familiar with yet is what might just be their most unique offering: honeybars.
The concept is simple: a honeybar is a cup filled with your choice of three fresh fruits (options include strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, apples, and bananas), garnished with two toppings and one of three honeys. Toppings include coconut shavings, dark chocolate chips, granola, and local, plain yogurt. The varieties of local honey offered are wildflower, buckwheat, or clover, each with their own distinct flavor profiles. There’s even maple syrup “for the strict vegans,” says Denis. It’s basically the new, healthier, and more delicious alternative to the (now passé to some) frozen yogurt bar.
Like everything else on the honeygrow menu, what goes into your honeybar is entirely up to you, making it sure to satisfy. “honeygrow is pretty boundless because of our customizable nature,” says Denis. “There are endless numbers of combinations you can try, to find what suits you at any given time.”
To try it for yourself, visit honeygrow at one of two New Jersey locations:
- Ellisburg Shopping Center, 1158 Kings Highway North, Cherry Hill
- 120 Washington Street, Hoboken
And be sure to check out honeygrow at its other New Jersey location, coming soon:
- The Yard, 36 College Avenue, New Brunswick
For more information about Jersey Fresh, click here.