Push cart business grows into healthy food restaurant

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — What started as a mobile push cart in Eastside and Southbridge, then grew into a kiosk on Market Street, Wilmington Green Box has opened its first brick-and-mortar store in the city.

The opening of the shop at Fourth and Market streets comes as downtown Wilmington is changing — think DECO food hall, Bardea Food & Drink and Stitch House Brewery.

Green Box Kitchen, which moved into a building that sat unoccupied for several years, "speaks to what people want to see in our community," co-founder Jason Aviles said.

The small cafe has limited seating, and its walls are covered with colorful murals and modern paintings by Delaware artists.

Unlike the kiosk, the cafe no longer relies on local vendors for its pressed juices and fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead, all the menu items — which are completely plant-based — are made in-house by two full-time employees. Three Wilmington teenagers also work at the shop after school.

Menu items include the juices, salads, sandwiches and various breakfast items. The shop is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Smoothies ($7.25) and smoothie bowls ($9.25) are among the most popular items, specifically the "I Need a Vacation," a blend of strawberries, pineapple, banana and pineapple juice.

There is also the falafel waffle ($9), gluten-free falafel batter in a Belgian waffle style. It is topped with hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers and pickled red onions. It's dressed with a lemon tahini.

Green Box started in 2016 to bring health food options to Wilmington, particularly neighborhoods that have limited access to grocery stores and fresh foods.

Nearly two-thirds of Delawareans live in census tracts where there is no grocery store, according to a 2015 report by the University of Delaware's Institute for Public Administration. ...

When the Green Box started as the food cart, some customers didn't realize the carrots could be pressed into a juice, he said. The nonprofit held workshops about healthy eating in neighborhoods like Eastside and Southbridge.

It soon began to pay off. When the kiosk closed in the fall and winter months, customers complained about wanting their cold-pressed juices year-round, Aviles said.

Now, with the Green Box Kitchen, Aviles hopes to teach residents about adopting a plant-based lifestyle.

"We feel like we're onto something," Aviles said.

___

Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., http://www.delawareonline.com

Places in this Story

Organizations in this Story