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Home Grown Cafe

  • Veg-friendly Veg-friendly
    ( 23 reviews )
Contact 302-266-6993

126 E Main St, Newark, Delaware, USA, 19711

Serves meat, vegan options available. Local restaurant with bar. Has items like faux chicken, tempeh bacon, vegan cheese, tofu. Can accommodate vegan and vegetarian substitutions. Mon-Fri 11:00am-1:00am, Sat 10:00am-1:00am, Sun 10:00am-12:00am

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, American, Beer/Wine, Take-out, Non-veg

Reviews (23)

First Review by Jaelus

Meal, Atmosphere, Service and Cleanliness were dissapointing each time - Edit

My husband and I used to go here frequently over the years until we started to notice the service, food and atmosphere declining. We started to notice the servers forgetting something and taking forever to get our check. We can't stand when servers make errors then tell us "no worries". Maybe that should be expected since it looks like they hire college students. This restaurant needs to be disinfected everywhere and remodeled. The bathrooms were dirty each time we went. Filth was around the toilets. Tables were greasy on many occasions. We would sometimes sit at the bar and that area smelled funky like when you forget wet wash in the washer.
Each time we went, the food got worse. It also takes a long time to get your meal. Homegrown Cafe makes an attempt to serve vegan food to probably make their menu diverse. However, we do not care for the off flavors they attempt to cook. One time we ordered a vegan entree that ended up having dairy cheese in it! That's pretty bad if they can't get that right. My husband and I no longer patronize this restaurant. There are plenty more restaurants on Main Street, Newark, that have tastier food.

Pros: Has outdoor/enclosed seating , On Main Street , In a college town

Cons: Food is bland, very oily,can't make vegan food, Restaurant & bathrooms are dirty and unkept , Bad and late service, late food delivery and check

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not impressed - Edit

I'm not impressed but I would consider giving it another shot. My main complaint is the lack of knowledge the server had regarding the vegan options. He couldn't answer the two questions we had and had to check with the chef after our food arrived. The mexibowl was so overwhelmingly spicy that I couldn't eat it. I waited to ask for vegan ranch to cool it down, but by the time I received it, my family was finished eating.

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Would give 5 stars if I could - Edit

I love this place, it is my go to, please-all restaurant. I've been here many times because it is my closest, local vegan-friendly restaurant and I never feel tired of their menu. It's so flexible, many dishes can be made vegan or vegetarian and they've even switched up their menu recently so there's even more variety. You need to specify if you want it vegan while ordering, because you may not always know- some staff members are more sensitive to letting you know than others so always specify to be sure. It's a great place with a great atmosphere and all of my non-vegan and non-vegetarian friends will come here with me too because their food is all around good, apparently even the meat. They also have a bar area inside if all you're looking for is a drink or just a light meal!

Pros: Flexible menu, Great atmosphere , Delicious food

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Longtime go to vegan spot on Main St - Edit

I agree with the other reviews that it is important to confirm that everything you order is vegan.

The great news, at least in my experience, is not only will they do this, the food is exceptional. I'll eat a powerhouse salad (kale, brussel sprouts, and pumpkin seeds etc) with a delicious beet burger on top and vegan fig balsamic dressing on the side. It is a lunch I never tire from because it is NOT a lifeless, mushy, barely flavorful salad.

Flavor and texture is something the chef takes seriously, including for vegans, and has done it for 20 some odd years on a major college main street where restaurant turnover is very high.

The seitan, wonderful homemade veggie beet burger, falafel, and tofu options are wonderfully done by the chef - all made in house and always nicely seasoned.

The flexibility in the menu is KEY to this place. If you make it clear to your sever nearly any salad (and many sandwiches and entrees) can be veganized by substituting meats for any of the above options. Unfortunately, the terrific polenta fries are no longer on the menu.

And if your in the mood for a craft beer - they always have a great selection.

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Some Good Vegan Options - Edit

Took a girlfriend here, we drove from Maryland to Newark and specifically took extra time to go downtown because of the vegan options on the menu of Home Grown Café. I ordered the Beer Buffalo Cauliflower Wings which came with celery and carrot sticks and a vegan ranch dressing, which, as we know is a huge bonus. The "wings" were killer good. The menu options have tiny double flower symbols to indicate that it is vegan or can be made vegan. The cauliflower wings on the menu said blue cheese dressing, but when I asked if they had a vegan dressing, I was given the vegan ranch, which made all the difference to me. I also ordered the bahn mi, with seitan which was pretty good, but not stellar like the cauliflower. Wish there was a Home Grown Café near me. Their facebook page has the usual disturbing "happy meat" bs, but at least you can find something special to eat when you go there!

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Love it! - Edit

I lived in the US for 5 years. I ate at a lot of different places, but as a vegan, this was my favorite.There's plenty of vegan options, all delicious, and a nice atmosphere, although it's definitely not a vegan place, a lot of people go there to get meat. It's a bit pricey, but I find it worth it, as some of the best vegan food I've ever had was there.

I was pretty angry at them when they made a mistake and gave me a real omelette instead of the vegan one I had ordered, and then another time there were eggs in my vegan burritos, so they need to watch out for that kind of stuff. Even though they are vegetarian-friendly and have great food on the menu, I didn't find them particularly sensitive to the topic.

If you find them on a good day, it's definitely worth a try. The vegan omelette is to die for.

Pros: best vegan omelette in the known univers, lots of delicious vegan options

Cons: made order mistakes a couple times, not always the friendliest personnel

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FYI: The Owner Goes on Animal Hunts in Africa - Edit

While I think the food there is ok, the owner Eric Aber has recently posted pictures of himself hunting in Africa and killing zebras. If you are a vegetarian or vegan you might want to think twice about frequenting this place. I will not have my money funding hunting trips to Africa or anywhere for that matter...

Updated from previous review on Monday November 17, 2014

Cons: Owner hunts animals

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Promising--I'll be back - Edit

This is a friendly restaurant with a great beer list/full bar. We had the weekend brunch menu which seems like it might be different from their dinner menu. I was impressed that fully 3/4 of the menu can be made vegan and their signature omlets, salads, and sandwiches could be made with any of 10 different protein choices, 5 of which were vegan. We tried the southwestern sandwich with falafel which was good, the mixed greens with vinaigrette were fabulous, the vegan nachos were passable mostly because I'm not a fan of the faux cheese. Overall it was good and definitely a place I'll go back to. Haven't found a favorite must-have on the menu though.

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poor quality - Edit

Mostly non vegetarian, very few vegan choices. One of the few vegan choices was a burger which tasted just awful, by far the worst I have ever tasted. Did I catch them on a bad night? Perhaps, but he upshot is a bad Happy Cow review .

Cons: Poor tasting food, not particularly healthy, very few vegan items

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Great Place for Vegans, Vegetarians, & Carnivores - Edit

My husband and I went here to celebrate my birthday. Loved the food! There were so many options for vegans! I think this has become my new favorite restaurant. Will definitely be back!

Pros: Vegan Desserts, Vegan Appetizers, Vegan Entrees

Cons: Not a good selection of vegan soup

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  Contributions +109

Great for vegans or anyone else - Edit

HappyCow won't let us give 5 stars to a place that offers meat, and that's a shame because I found Home Grown to be more vegan-friendly than many vegetarian restaurants are.

The menu clearly identifies many items as either vegan by default or easily made vegan. Plenty of choices, and the ones I tried were certainly satisfying. The nachos were delicious! Their Southwestern portobello burger was good, too. Service was friendly.

Pros: lots of vegan options, delicious nochos!, friendly staff

Cons: noisy

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One of the best reasons for attending UD - Edit

I love this restaurant and make a point of going for a meal or two whenever I come to visit my daughter at UD. The food is so good here. Home Grown takes traditional favorites and turns them into vegan and vegetarian classics that are even tastier. The most difficult part of a meal here is deciding what to get. The food and atmosphere is so good that anyone can enjoy a meal here.

Pros: Delicious food, fast service, Traditional fare turned healthy & vegan, Relaxed atmosphere

Cons: Often lines and a wait to get in.

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Okay food but used to be better - Edit

As a native of this town, I remember when this restaurant opened though I wasn't Vegan at the time. However, as an adult, I appreciated the option to not have such fast foody meals when I visited family.

My first visit back was really good and I enjoyed the Vegan options they had. However, a year or so after that the Vegan selections went down (in terms of quality).

But what I do like is that many of their vegetarian items can be made Vegan fairly easily.

If you want a sit down experience without having to ask a waiter or waitress a bunch of questions about your food then come here.

Pros: Vegan Options, Centrally Located, Small Native Owner Business

Cons: Vegan Options Not Great

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Well, at least they try - Edit

If your expectations are low, you won't be disappointed. As far as the vegan options go, Home Grown tries, but half-heartedly. I don't know if the problem is that no one on the kitchen staff is vegan themselves or if they simply assume that vegan food is tasteless. The quality of the food ranges depending on when you go, but most of the times I've been (maybe 10 times over the past year) my meal was either underseasoned or cold. And yes, I've been there that often because there's simply nowhere else to go. Delaware sucks for vegans.
That said, there are a couple good things: they use Daiya cheese (albeit sparingly) and the veggie burger is good. My partner likes the seitan, but I've found that much of the time it's undercooked in the middle. STAY AWAY from the faux shrimp! There are so many quality vegan meat alternatives but they manage to find the worst ones. Yes, there are quite a few vegan options on the menu, but most of it will disappoint.

Pros: Daiya cheese, Veg burger, sometimes the seitan

Cons: Food bland/underseasoned, Inconsistent quality, cold/undercooked

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Great place to eat for Veg and NonVeg - Edit

This place is a great place to dine when you have vegetarians and non-vegetarians in your party. The menu is available with meat or with veg options...and the food was delicious! Can't wait to go back.

Pros: great tasting food, many veg. options, great atmosphere

Cons: dinner prices a bit high

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Love it, slightly expensive - Edit

High quality food, creative recipes, fun environment, great bar and beer selection. Sometimes have live music and it's always great.

Slightly on the pricy side, and service quality varies.

Pros: food quality, environment, bar

Cons: pricy, service varies

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Decent meal for vegans - Edit

See my blog (Marty's Flying Vegan Review), for the complete review with pictures.

While getting familiar with my new office

Perhaps the most fun video game ever conceived.
while in training in Wilmington I like to get over to Home Grown Cafe for a home grown meal. Eating in an efficiency kitchen and trying to cook quick, nutritious meals, while economical, doesn't alleviate the need to sit back and have someone else cook and serve ... at least once during training week.

Home Grown Cafe is perhaps one of the most vegan friendly restaurants I've been in. They really get how easy it is. Just take out the dead animals and put in tofu, portobello, or (Praise the heavens), home-made seitan. Really, what's the big deal world?

Home grown is a casual bar/restaurant a few blocks from the college and has quite a mix of patrons. They have a nice beer list and of course, http://barnivore.com to the rescue to see which are vegan. I started with a Sierra Nevada Rye IPA which had a flavor you could call bold or certainly present. I am not a beer maven but don't think there's ever a time or place, (work excepted of course), that a beer doesn't fit in and I've disliked very few that I've had. I don't like "thin" or watered down tasting beer and although this wasn't "thick" like a stout it had substance.

In case anyone has a requirement for one of these, the Home Grown has a wall.
Sitting at the bar shooting the entrance and dining tables.

Bar area and dining room beyond.

Sitting at the bar, shooting outside, the other dining room.

What appears to be a sex toy, (did ya just forget to take it with you?), on the bar but is actually the bar menu turned almost sideways.
OK, enough about the interior design, on to the food. First off, a meal just ain't a meal if there isn't an appetizer and I chose the buffalo wings with seitan. It came with a vegan ranch which I wasn't bowled over by. The seitan had crispy crunch on the outside and had a very realistic meaty mouth feel to it. The waiter brought a more spicy Sriracha aioli which was much more to my liking.

Seitan Buffalo Wings with Sriracha aioli
**Boneless "Wings" 9.5
Your choice of breaded fried Chicken or Seitan tossed in our house made Buffalo sauce. Served with carrots, celery & blue cheese dressing.
Next on the hit parade was the entree. I was hankering, (truly a word from Brooklyn if ever there was one), for a good eggplant parm but they are few and far between

Pros: vegan options on almost everything, knowledgable staff, casual atmosphere

Cons: Serves meat, can be a bit noisy if you're over 50, parking but they do validate muni lots

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worth trying - Edit

I love the place. The mere fact that almost everything on the menu comes in a vegetarian/vegan version makes me love eating there.

Some of their food items have been home runs and some have fallen a bit short, but to be fair what restaurant doesn't have things on the menu you don't prefer. In some of the dishes, you can even chose between tofu, mock-chicken, mock-beef, or sometimes a mushroom or other item. They're trying hard to meet the needs of us vegetarians.

I will say the place is not the cheapest place in town, but you can still get entrees around $10-15. They even offer meat-free sandwiches for lunch, which are less expensive.

One thing I did not like is that you cannot order entrees during the afternoon, even if you're hungry for an early dinner. This limits us non-meat-eaters to a smaller selection.

Their menu offerings do change regularly. This is good if you like to try new things, but I was VERY sad to see their "BBQ (meatless) Wings" disappear.

They do have a nice dining area outside. Inside I give them credit for trying to liven up the place, allowing local artists and musicians in. Last time I was there were some wild oil paintings of famous horror characters. I never stay around late enough for the live music, but I think it's after 9 or 10pm on weekend evenings (not sure).

I feel this place is worth visiting. So far I've never had a mix-up of any accidental meat items. The waitresses seem to be meat-eaters, but they try to clarify when they're confused on something. I like how they also clarify what can be made vegan and what is only vegetarian, since this is very important to some of us.

Tip: plenty of parking if you take the driveway just before it (corner of Panera Bread) into the Newark City lot, which is conveniently just behind HomeGrown. Ask for a parking validation towards your parking fee.

Pros: huge selection, variety of "meats" to choose from, interesting dishes

Cons: a little expensive, does still serve meat, no entrees available until evening

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Animal-Flesh Nightmare Times Two! - Edit

On my last trip to Home Grown, I ordered an item that was a stew in a pumpkin bowl, that was a chicken soup. However, the chicken could be substituted for mock chicken or tofu. Not only did I order this dish, but another member of our party ordered the exact same thing--We BOTH chose mock chicken. The entire table was vegan, and made this clear to the waitress on all of our orders. However, when the soup came out, it was soon revealed to be REAL chicken in not only my soup, but also in the other person's soup as well! Sadly for me, I had already had a couple bites of the soup before I realized just what I was eating, and I was sickened. We weren't very happy with the way that the staff responded to it either, b/c the owner kept trying to say it was a "Misunderstanding." We made it clear that there was no misunderstanding...we had plainly stated, and received confirmation of our order, from our waitress. I may give them another try, but I will be MUCH more careful next time when I eat there, as I have heard that this is not the first time this has happened to diners who ordered meat substitutes in their dishes.

Pros: Reasonably Priced

Cons: Loud

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Delicious! - Edit

My wife and I (both vegan) have eaten here at least a dozen times over the last few years, and it's a 2 hour drive for us. The people are very friendly and the atmosphere is great. The veggie burgers and vegan chicken are homemade and especially delicious. The chicken is spongy and I could see how some people wouldn't like it but personally I think it's fantastic. The chili is exceptionally good and is served with sliced jalapeno on top. They used to serve polenta fries which were to die for but unfortunately stopped serving those about a year ago. Many dishes on the menu have vegan or vegetarian versions.

Pros: Friendly Staff, Plentiful Options, Excellent Food

Cons: Pricy, Parking Not Free

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Possibly the worst food I have ever had - Edit

I really try and support any place in this area that offers vegetarian cuisine as they are few and far between. We sat outside which is possibly the only upside of the place. The vegan chili was palatable but nothing great. I had the "home made" veggie burger and could only eat half of it (that's saying a lot because I can eat just about anything). I was starving and could only manage to choke down ½ of the sandwich. The chips that came with it were not too bad, at least edible. My wife had the Southwest Avocado "chicken" wrap. Turns out the "veggie chicken" is actually condensed moist croutons. I thought my wife was exaggerating when she told me but I tried it and she was right!! Kudos to Home Grown Cafe for offering vegetarian and vegan options but the food was simply horrible. Most places I will give a second chance but I don't think I'm willing to spend another $40 for food that I can't even force myself to eat.

Pros: outside seating

Cons: horrendous food

1 Response

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samanthawooster Don't know what's up with babydoc. That is not how Home Grown is at all. It's my favorite place. The service and food are booth awesome.
To clarify: Their veggie chicken is wheat gluton, oinion, garlic and spices, that is needed into a big dough ball, portioned and boiled in a veggie bouilion. It's than fried to order and sliced down.
Definately not chicken to chicken eaters, but a good hearty protein rich substitution!
Their whole menu is coded for vegan and veggie items too!
I love it!

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