At Sprout, Fresh and Local is the Focus

A refreshing addition to the Maplewood Village dining scene, the eatery offers food that's both casual and healthy.

Customized bowl consisting of beets, goat cheese, wild rice, roasted sweet potatoes, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, lemon braised chicken and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Photo by Chris Gennone

While there’s no shortage of pizza parlors or coffee shops in Maplewood, the amount of health-conscious restaurants is limited. But at Sprout, the focus is on salads, wraps, and bowls full of fresh local ingredients.

The fast-casual, farm-to-table eatery, located in the Maplewood Village, opened last fall. Sprout’s bright and modern decor is accentuated by multiple plants throughout and a mural of vegetables inside. The staff is warm and inviting, often suggesting various combinations and popular menu items. Despite having a crowded lunch-time rush when I arrived, the wait wasn’t long. Ordering at Sprout is quick and simple. Just make sure to grab a menu when you walk in, which lists all of the ingredients you have to choose from.

In addition to a handful of different salads and bowls to choose from, Sprout’s menu is highly customizable, allowing you to choose everything that goes into your salad, wrap or bowl. Start with your choice of greens or grains (kale, arugula, spinach, quinoa, wild rice, etc.), pick four “core ingredients” (carrots, cucumbers, radishes, beets, tortilla chips, pita chips, etc.), choose a “premium ingredient” (avocado, bacon, grilled chicken, egg, shrimp, tempeh, tuna, etc.), and toss it with a house-made dressing (spicy tahini, sweet and smoky chipotle, tzatziki vinaigrette, miso ginger, spicy cashew, etc.). Each salad and bowl comes with a side of sourdough bread, which comes from Hudson Bread in North Bergen.

The seasonal “bo SSAM ic” bowl. Photo by Chris Gennone

I opted for the “bo SSAM ic” bowl from Sprout’s new fall menu (they feature various items seasonally), featuring slow roasted pork, kimchi, cucumbers, radishes, white rice, kale, scallion ginger sauce and ssam vinaigrette. While I initially balked at its price ($13.99), I was pleased with the generous portion—almost enough for two meals. The kale was fresh and crunchy, and the combination of the sweet ginger sauce and tangy vinaigrette complimented the pork and kimchi well.

My lunch companion built her own customized bowl consisting of beets, goat cheese, wild rice, roasted sweet potatoes, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, lemon braised chicken and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. While my bowl came finely chopped and tossed, my companion’s bowl was slightly more aesthetically pleasing, with the ingredients all sitting neatly on top of the rice.

Sprout focuses on sourcing the highest quality ingredients, but that doesn’t mean all produce and meat is organic, which may not appeal to everyone. Regardless, the food is high-quality. The eatery sources locally as much as possible during the growing seasons and everything is made in-house.

Sprout is a refreshing addition to the Maplewood Village dining scene that’s both casual and healthy. Although some salads and bowls can be a little expensive, the large portions make up for it. Lunch can be hectic at Sprout, which makes ordering ahead online a wiser—and healthier—option for take-out.

Sprout, 181 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood; Open daily

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