Those who regularly traverse the 400 block of Market Street during the warmer months are familiar with the green space where Wilmington Green Box sells cold-pressed juices. The juices and the Green Box non-profit, started by Jason Aviles and partner John Naughton, have received a lot of press for the work they have done not only employing at-risk youth, but also bringing healthy options to the food desert—areas of the city that have limited access to nutritious food. “We see the demand for nutritious food in Wilmington is on the rise. We can’t keep up,” says Aviles. To that end, Green Box paired with Harvest House, a new restaurant in the Big Fish Restaurant Group, to make their juices more widely available. The public appetite for the product only increased to the point where Aviles and Naughton knew they had to think even further outside of the “Green Box,” so to speak. They recruited Angela Wagner, who had been doing work for Big Fish Group, to help them with their vision of opening restaurant. A year later, that dream is coming to fruition.
I had a chance to talk (and nosh) with Aviles and Wagner in the days leading up to the grand opening of Green Box Kitchen. “Our focus is on whole, nutrient dense food that is minimally processed,” Aviles says. “And approachable to the people who live here,” Wagner chimes in. The two are hesitant to label the restaurant as vegan, though it is, because they want everyone, those who have dietary restrictions or allergies and those who will eat anything (omnivores like me), to find comfort here. I happened in while they were perfecting the final recipe (they tried over 50) of their Belgian waffles, which just happen to be gluten-free and dairy free. I tasted one of their trials and was blown away by the crisp, yet pillowy, texture and depth of flavor. The winning recipe will be served with seasonal fruit which I can only imagine will level-up the already incredible taste and nutrition. Another product from the waffle iron will be the Falafel Waffle. It is what the name implies and will be served with hummus, tomatoes, pickled onions, cucumbers and lemon tahini dressing. I also got to try the chickpea version of tuna salad which had all the umami goodness of its counterpart. Look for it on a sandwich with tomatoes and other fixings. Other menu offerings will include acai bowls, smoothies, massaged kale salad, and grain bowls. Wagner teased a southwestern-style grain bowl made with walnut taco “meat.” The team is made of perfectionists and are curating what is sure to be a thoughtful and delicious addition to the Wilmington food scene. I personally want to try everything they described. And soon everyone will have their chance.
Green Box Kitchen, located at 400 N. Market Street, will have its Grand Opening with a limited menu on Friday, October 25 from 12-3 with a ribbon cutting at 12:30. Then, on Saturday, October 26, from 1-3, the entire block of Market between 4th and 5th street will host a block party to welcome the new venture. Take part in activities like face-painting, music and games. After this week, Green Box Kitchen will be open from 7am-2pm, Monday through Friday. Take-out will be available with online ordering available via their website.