Justin Rosenberg is sick of grain bowls. So he decided it was time to get into the noodle game.
That’s the inspiration for Minigrow (28 S. Wabash, Loop), the new fast-casual restaurant coming to downtown, says Rosenberg, its founder and CEO. If the name Minigrow sounds oddly familiar, that’s because Rosenberg is also the founder and CEO of its older sibling Honeygrow, the salad and stir fry spot that came to Fulton Market last year.
Minigrow will use a lot of the same ideas behind Honeygrow (fast, customizable, affordable) but will offer a very different set of flavors. “There’s almost no umani in the dishes at Honeygrow,” explained Rosenberg. “[At Minigrow,] think dashi-poached salmon, slow-roasted tomatoes and kimchi seaweed.” Customers will be able to assemble their dish from more than 30 of these savory-spicy ingredients.
This new concept is an example of necessity being the mother of delicious invention. When Rosenberg went looking for new locations in urban downtown areas, one of his biggest challenges was outfitting tiny storefront spaces in huge buildings with suitable ventilation systems. The solution? Ditch the stir-fry and instead, go for finished-to-order noodles and slow roasted ingredients that don’t require a fancy hood.
Customers get the benefit of those super fresh noodles (Rosenberg spent months perfecting wheat and spinach noodles, which are custom-made for minigrow), combined with slow-roasted ingredients and topped with sauces like red miso and shiso basil pesto. The one pre-set dish, called The Chicken Jawn, is a combination of fresh wheat noodles, roast chicken, miso corn, sweet and sour onions, and black truffle.
What does all this cost you? Only about $9, which gets you noodles, all the veggies, toppings and garnishes that you want (proteins are extra). Right now, Minigrow only has locations in New York. That’ll change on March 20, when the first Chicago location opens its doors.