September 18, 2017

Mayor Baraka, Newark CEDC Cut Two Consecutive Ribbons for Grand Opening in Halsey Street Corridor

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Newark, NJ –- September 18, 2017 — Mayor Ras J. Baraka, the Newark Municipal Council, Newark Community Economic Development Corporation President Aisha Glover, and Ono Grinds Poke Owners Luis Valls-Amabile and Daniela Hoyos cut the ribbon to open Ono GrindsPoke, a new restaurant offering unique Hawaiian flavors to downtown diners, at 11 a.m., at 1227 Raymond Boulevard. The restaurant is located on the corner of Raymond Boulevard and Halsey Street.

He joined the Council, Ms. Glover, and Sugar Daddy Restaurant Owner and Newark native Jihad Muhammad to open Sugar Daddy’s Restaurant the same day, at 2 p.m., at 201 Halsey Street. Sugar Daddy’s Restaurant offers new American cuisine such as salmon, shrimp, and grits, a wide variety of salads, including a crab cake salad, and more. 

“We are enjoying a diverse dining doubleheader in downtown Newark today, as we open two exciting restaurants that will enhance the culinary choices of visitors and residents alike,” Mayor Baraka said. “These show the great success of our efforts to strengthen downtown Halsey Street and empower its economy. These restaurants will bring jobs and prosperity for residents and entrepreneurs alike, strengthen our tax base, and enhance our luster as a destination for dining and visitors. I congratulate these entrepreneurs and with them success with their restaurants.

Mr. Vals-Amabile is a New Jersey native, former amateur boxing champion who won his titles in Newark, and graduated from Rutgers University-Newark Business School in 2015. His mother was a Newark schoolteacher for more than 30 years. Ms. Hoyos, a Mexican native who grew up in San Diego, has created many of the menu specialties for the restaurant, and runs its social media page.

The restaurant specializes in brands of poke, smoothies, and superfood bowls, based on fresh and quality ingredients. “Poke” is a Hawaiian term for a raw fish salad that is served as either an appetizer or a main course in Hawaiian cuisine.

While the restaurant’s address is on Raymond Boulevard, Ono Grinds Poke is the latest addition to the Halsey Street restaurant and shopping area. The corridor connects the city’s business district with its universities.

“It’s no surprise that the Halsey Street area has had great momentum recently,” said Ms. Glover. “We’re seeing tremendous growth in restaurants and residential projects and as a result of this location trending we’re receiving inquiries from both local entrepreneurs and national brands.”  

The Baraka administration has made strong efforts to turn this once-dark, desolate block of vacant buildings into a neighborhood of shops and restaurants owned by entrepreneurs, with residents occupying apartments and lofts. With its extensive small business-oriented development anchored by the Hahne’s Building renovation and the new Prudential tower, Halsey Street is well on its way to achieving Mayor Baraka’s vision of a 24-hour downtown.