“I know. I’m back again.”
That’s what a customer told Todd Marvel, owner of Sprout. Located at 181 Maplewood Avenue, the new salad, wrap and soup eatery started serving customers on November 14. Barely one week into its soft launch, the new spot already has residents returning for more.
Marvel, who lives in Maplewood with his wife, Jessica, and his two daughters, has been part of this community for over a decade. And while we’re here to talk about the food, the new owner is quick to give accolades to his family. “My wife Jessica is the driving force behind what we’re doing,” he said. “She’s played a very large role in putting this together.”
The Marvel daughters both attend Clinton Elementary School. Ten-year-old Stella is busy with her class president duties while eight-year-old Carissa is focused on an array of dance and sports.
The staff has prepared me a Nagano bowl, a soba noodle salad with edamame, kale and purple cabbage which has been tossed with a spicy cabbage dressing and a squeeze of sriracha. Customers can either order from the menu selections or choose their own ingredients for a custom-made salad.
The kids get their very own menu options, including grilled cheese, a mini-caesar salad or a “Sprout Box.”
Those craving the salad-centric urban stop-ins such as Chop’t Creative Salad Company and Just Salad will experience a similar but more low-key vibe at Sprout.
“Jessica and I have a passion for food,” said Marvel, who comes from a financial services background. “Our menu provides something quick and nutritious.” The menu items are sourced locally and all dressings and soups are homemade.
Marvel closed on the restaurant space in July and has been hard at work putting the restaurant together throughout the summer and fall. He enlisted the architectural firm Studio 1200 to design the space as well as Brooklyn artist Anthony Arias who painted a large wall graphic.
The new owner is aware that former businesses such as the Belmont Eatery and Village Burger haven’t had staying power. “I’ve been eyeing this spot for a number of years now and I think this is the right time and opportunity,” he said.
Marvel has enlisted Maplewood native Signe Heffernan to serve as Sprout’s General Manager. Before attending culinary school at The Art Institute in New York, she attended Clinton Elementary School, South Orange Middle School and Columbia High School. She then moved to Boston where she worked in restaurants as well as catering. “I felt that at some point in my career, I would come back here,” she said. “It’s nice to have a city concept in a suburban environment.”
“The soft opening gives us a chance to look at the menu and learn more about what the customers want,” said Marvel. “We really appreciate the support we’ve received from the [Maplewood] Village Alliance. It’s an amazing community and we’re really happy to be part of it.”
Sprout is located at 181 Maplewood Avenue. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram. The restaurant is currently open every day from 11 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., however, their hours may adjust. Online ordering for pick-up will soon be available.