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Lunch, Anyone? Honeygrow

Customized stir-fry chain comes to Boston

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Few Boston neighborhoods have undergone as rapid a transformation as the Fenway. Residential towers and new shops, bars, and restaurants seem to open in the blink of an eye. Once mostly known as a place to grab bar food before or after a Red Sox game, it’s becoming a dining destination, even for new takes on fast food.

Case in point, Honeygrow, a Philly-based chain known for customizable salads and stir-fries, which recently entered the Boston market with a 45-seat eatery directly behind Fenway Park. Its touch screen-terminals let customers swap out tofu for chicken, for example, or brown rice for whole wheat noodles.

Overwhelmed by choices? Not to worry. Honeygrow offers suggested stir-fry options. We started there, ordering the spicy garlic stir-fry ($10.49), fresh egg-white noodles, chicken, pineapple, bell peppers, red onion, and parsley, which offers a blend of heat and sweetness. While the spicy garlic sauce was delicious, the powerful heat was too much for the handful of pineapple chunks to cut through. You may want to steer clear of this and opt for something milder, like the sesame garlic ($11.49), with similar flavors, but without all the heat. Here, whole wheat noodles are served with naturally raised beef, mushrooms, broccoli, scallions, and sesame seeds.

The Orange You Thirsty cold-pressed juice is one of three colorful blends the restaurant offers.

The Orange You Thirsty cold-pressed juice is one of three colorful blends the restaurant offers.

Among other suggested options: a red coconut curry, and for fall, a roast pork stir-fry, with egg white noodles, spinach, broccoli, red onion, asiago shavings, chili flakes, and an au jus sauce.

Here’s how to create your own stir fry: first choose from egg white, whole wheat, or rice noodles, brown rice, or Boston lettuce cups, then pick one of five sauces (gluten-free and vegan options are available), and add your protein, like spicy tofu, cage-free eggs, pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, or togarashi spiced turkey.

Luckily, a roaming employee is available to help confused customer with questions and to make recommendations. It felt a bit odd to be asked three times if we needed anything, but it was definitely appreciated when we wanted some ice water to lessen the heat of our spicy garlic stir-fry.

While the stir-fry is obviously Asian-inspired, Honeygrow’s salad menu offers classics like a Cobb salad ($11.49) and seasonal salads like the autumnal Fall the Things ($11.79), with arugula, bacon, roasted yams, red onion, pecans, dried cranberries, and goat cheese, dressed in a maple cider vinaigrette. Like the stir fry, customers can choose from suggested salad combinations or build their own.

The spicy garlic stir-fry packs on the heat, living up to its name.

The spicy garlic stir-fry packs on the heat, living up to its name.

Locally sourced ingredients and seasonal vegetables make quality and freshness the name of the game here. Among the things that set the salads apart from competitors’, like the nearby Sweetgreen, are the unique dressings. Red wine dijon vinaigrette, walnut lemon, and sriracha tahini complement interesting add-ins like yellowfin tuna and whole wheat noodles.

We ordered the Walnut St. Noodle salad, one of the suggested options and a good place to start for those looking to experiment with the salad side of the menu. The walnut-lemon dressing is deliciously earthy and tangy and the combination of arugula and whole wheat noodles soaks it up nicely. We were a bit hesitant about a salad with cold noodles, but after a few bites we were converts.

Whether you choose a stir-fry or a salad, be sure to also order one of the delicious cold-pressed juices ($5.99), concocted with innovative combinations of fruits and vegetables. The Orange You Thirsty is a blend of orange, carrot, lemon, and ginger, the Green Is Good, a mix of apple, spinach, lemon, basil, and cucumber, and for a sharper, less sweet taste, try the Better Off Red, a combo of beet, lemon, raspberry, and watermelon. All of the juices pair well with the high sodium stir-fries.

The honeybar, with calories usually ranging from 250 to 300, is the kind of fresh and healthy dessert option that’s been missing from modern restaurants.

The honeybar, with calories usually ranging from 250 to 300, is the kind of fresh and healthy dessert option that’s been missing from modern restaurants.

And the best way to end a meal at Honeygrow is with a fresh fruit cup, called a honeybar ($5.79). This spin on a traditional yogurt parfait is also customizable. There are no suggested combinations, so creativity is key. Customers pick three fruits, topped with either honey or maple syrup, and add additional toppings, such as yogurt (49 cents extra), granola, whipped cream, and dark chocolate chips.

We opted for pineapple (79 cents extra), banana, and strawberry, topped with clover honey, yogurt, and granola. The high-quality fruit, yogurt, and granola were obviously fresh, and they made for a delicious dessert that was especially welcome after the spicy garlic stir-fry. The yogurt was creamy and the honey added a comforting sweetness to the fruit and granola without being overwhelming. It’s worth a visit just to try a honeybar.

Honeygrow is a little bit of a lot of things: an Asian stir-fry place, an organic salad place, a restaurant destination. It can do all of that and do it well, which makes it special.

Wall murals by Somerville-based artist James Weinberg add to the sleek décor.

Wall murals by Somerville-based artist James Weinberg add to the sleek décor.

Honeygrow, 1282 Boylston St., Boston, open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., accepts all major credit cards and is wheelchair-accessible. Meals can be ordered online for delivery in specified areas. Take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Kenmore. 

This is part of a weekly series featuring Boston lunch and brunch spots of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the Comment section below. 

Alex Pena (COM’19) can be reached at alexgp97@bu.edu.

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