It’s fresh, seasonal, wholesome and now officially in Midtown — minigrow has found its third spot in Midtown at your convenience.
Minigrow is the sister restaurant of honeygrow, a fast-casual food chain from Philadelphia, featuring a smaller, more curated version with an assembly-line style process. Honeygrow was started in 2012 by New York native Justin Rosenberg. Since its inception, honeygrow has branched out — securing 32 locations in total with one honeygrow and three minigrow locations in New York City alone.
As part of the wave of fast-casual restaurants that’s been sweeping New York over the last few years, honeygrow and minigrow’s unique selling point is the emphasis placed on fresh ingredients in the noodles and salads. The menu highlights its “Damn Good Noodles + Greens” going from base, sauce, protein, topping and garnish.
The combinations are interesting and unexpected but nonetheless successful. Rosenberg experimented with cooking a new, plant-based diet and was disappointed by the relatively bland plant-based options offered by other fast restaurants. Following his passion of “creating awesome things through the lens of nourishing foods” according to honeygrow’s page, Rosenberg left his office job and started honeygrow. This vibrant, creative energy is clearly seen in the bold combination of flavors on the menu.
When I ventured to the minigrow location near Grand Central Station, I got an example of this in the signature dish, The Chicken Jawn. This dish is a great example of the different goals at minigrow coming together. The Chicken Jawn is made up of fresh two wheat noodles, whole roasted chicken, sweet and sour onions, black truffle, miso corn, chives and parmesan.
Noodles, corn and onions are not traditionally what come to mind as the classic fast-casual dishes, but I was extremely pleasantly surprised. The noodles had a subtle, peppery taste of truffle and were definitely the best part of the meal. While the chicken was tasty, the other elements were what really made it come together. The onions were caramelized, thus adding a great tangy sweetness that make the dish interesting to the palate.
Although this may be the restaurant’s signature dish, the menu offers a multitude of protein and sauces which allow you to customize a personal palette. Minigrow offers fresh spinach noodles and raw zucchini noodles as well as a wide array of protein options such as marinated tofu and crab. Toppings like seaweed kimchi and sesame cucumbers also offer a perfect punch of flavor.
I really enjoyed the lemonade that I tried. However, minigrow offers a selection of juices and Maine soda made with real sugar. There are four different juices packed with vegetables and fruit in case you needed an even greater serving. The lemonade had a strong lemon flavor while not being overly saccharine. It complemented the elements of the dish.
Minigrow and honeygrow are clearly great options for the person on the go who wants quality food that is filling, pleasantly surprising and tasty. The well-curated menu allows for a great combination of flavors and the fresh ingredients are sure to make you feel refreshed.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 16 print edition. Email Savannah Guy at [email protected]