Press Hard on the Touch Screens at Honeygrow for A Healthy Lunch, And Don’t Forget Dessert
Luncher John is checking out the newly opened Honeygrow.
The first week of June featured the debut of two notable lunch spots in Center City. There was Shake Shack, where the lines have yet to die down. Less hyped but almost as popular since its opening is Honeygrow, which is located near the corner of 16th and Sansom. With its two-pronged focus of “honest eating” + “local growing”, Honeygrow has immediately appealed to those seeking healthier and better tasting lunch food than traditional lunch fare.
Having previously braved the Shake Shack lunch line, I was ready for the Honeygrow lunch crowd. While the wait can be a bit maddening, fortunately, the food makes up for it.
As an innovative feature, Honeygrow features computer screen terminals for customers to place their orders. The screens operate similarly to Wawa’s hoagie ordering terminals, though you can also pay with a credit card for your order at the screen. The navigation screens are self-explanatory, and you can customize your order by adding or even removing ingredients on the standard orders. Pictures accompany each item choice, so you know what you are or are not ordering. The only negative aspect of the ordering system is that the machines can be a bit fickle. You need to push and depress your choices quickly (like you’re stabbing it with your finger) or the machine does not register your selection.
There are four main categories from which to order: salads, stir fry, juice bar (ice blended beverages) and honeybar. For those who want to select an item quickly and who have an open mind regarding interesting ingredient combinations, you can select one of the standard menu items. For those feeling more creative or are particular about specific ingredients, you can create your own salad or stir fry.
I decided to make my own stir fry, featuring egg noodles and three vegetables (spinach, baby corn and red onions) cooked with Indonesian BBQ sauce ($8.00). I could have added meat, but doing so would have pushed my meal over $10. While I was a bit wary with the ingredient combinations I selected, the end result was solid. The egg noodles were cooked well, and there were ample vegetables. Indonesian BBQ sauce also has significantly more flavor than your typical soy sauce. The meal could have been a little larger, but you’re paying for the quality.
The honeybar is Honeygrow’s version of a fruit cup, though you’ll almost feel guilty for ordering it. You pick three fruits, one honey that’s drizzled all over, and up to two toppings. My selection had banana, mango and raspberries, with wildflower honey drizzled and dark chocolate chips as the topping ($3.95). Each fruit was layered in the cup, with the mango chunks on the bottom, followed by the banana slices in the middle and raspberries on top. The mini chocolate chips were spread all throughout the cup. With the layered arrangement, you can either eat each fruit level separately or you can dig deep with your spoon to taste them all simultaneously. This ingredient mixture also turned out quite nicely. All the fruits are fresh tasting, and the honey acts as the “glue” and adds some sweetness to complement the dark chocolate flavor.
The wait time, at least as it has been in first couple of weeks, does warrant mentioning. As opposed to Shake Shack, where waiting a half hour before you order has been routine, the main wait at Honeygrow has been after you place your order for a stir fry. I entered my stir fry order at about 1:20 p.m., and twenty-five minutes elapsed before my order was ready. During my wait, I noticed at least one person cancel a paid order because the wait was taking too long. The folks at Honeygrow do realize that the waiting period can be frustrating, and they have been offering free samples of their smoothies to customers waiting for stir fry or salads. Fortunately, the juice bar and honeybar stations do not take nearly as long, and I received my honeybar order after only a couple of minutes.
Without question, the food at Honeygrow is, if just a tad bit pricey, great quality and even healthier than other lunch options. Just make sure to budget enough time when you order stir fry.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- You can either pick a menu selection of or create your own delicious salad or stir fry
- The honeybar is a healthy dessert
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- The wait after placing your order can be frustrating
- Only a few stir fry options under $10 will include meat
Honeygrow, 1601 Sansom Street, 215-279-7724