S.O. Natives Open HLS Juice Bar & Grill
Arinze and Emeka Onugha's juice bar on Springfield Avenue in Maplewood opens.
The text message from owner Arinze Onugha came today at 11 a.m.: "We're open!" HLS Juice Bar & Grill, the much-anticipated health food restaurant at 1859 Springfield Ave. in Maplewood, arrived following the renovation and redesign of the former Indigo Smoke space.
Patch missed the lunch rush, but the joint was still gently hopping at 2 p.m. with a mix of local business owners, friends, high school classmates and moms fresh from yoga class.
"We've been watching and waiting for it to open," said Tacy Quinn as she rocked her 3-month-old son Charlie. Tacy and her friend Meredith Finkelstein had just wandered in from Shakti Yoga and Living Arts next door after a mother-and-baby yoga class (Finkelstein brought her infant son Alexander).
At the bar, Niles Robinson of 360 Maintenance, a Maplewood-based landscaping business enjoyed a Mo Bay, a mango, strawberry, pineapple and organic cane juice shake ($4.50). "Gotta try the Mo Bay!" said Robinson, who went to Columbia High School with the Onugha brothers, who are South Orange natives. (Arinze co-owns HLS with his brother Emeka).
Emeka Onugha was hustling about delivering dishes to diners. Farha Northover of Allstate Insurance (1877 Springfield Ave.) declared her spinach and chicken wrap ($7) to be "so good! The best I've ever had." That must have pleased chef Julieian Broadie. Northover was sitting with Felicia Wright of South Orange's Opulent Glassworks (313 Valley St.), who said she knew of HLS from its Montclair days and that she would follow it anywhere.
She will have her opportunity to follow HLS on Springfield Avenue at almost any time. The hours of operation are groundbreaking for Springfield Avenue: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.