The concept of fast food has a negative connotation for many people, conjuring up images of greasy, pre-cooked meals churned out by a national conglomerate. But Hoboken’s newest business is out to prove those stereotypes wrong and features a locally-owned, healthy concept that focuses on freshness and making everything in-house.
Quality Greens Kitchen, opening at 227 Washington Street, is the brainchild of owner Steven Friedrich, who was born and raised in New Jersey and came up with the concept to bring the best elements of quick eating and fine dining together. The restaurant will operate like fast food in terms of speed, but everything will be made-to-order by his chefs, many of whom have culinary degrees.
The menu at Quality Greens Kitchen has a little bit of everything, including house and signatures salads that all feature homemade dressings. Their customizable Chef’s Plate consists of protein options like roasted chicken, grill organic tofu, herb marinated steak and wild sockeye salmon, which come with hot and cold side dishes that include roasted sweet potatoes, maple sriracha brussels sprouts, curry cauliflower, quinoa tabbouleh, and caprese salad.
House-brewed ice teas and soft serve fruit drinks compliment the food, which diners can watch chefs put together in the open kitchen that includes bar top table seating. Quality Greens Kitchen chose to make the view of the cooking space a focal point, as it creates more of a formal restaurant vibe.
“We’re trying to find that perfect balance,” says Friedrich. “In most places, you get fast food or fine dining. We’re breaking ground trying to do both.”
A big part of executing that vision is creating a welcoming environment, which the restaurant hired New York-based Salt Design & Pepper Architecture to draw up. The firm seeks to create a space for diners to stay and enjoy without pressure, making it feel less like a quick lunch spot and more like a restaurant.
Salt Design’s Principal Evan Bauer describes the restaurant’s palette as a refined mix of warm walnut wood and rich greens which contrast against bright white kitchen tiles. Much of the space was completely revamped including new concrete floors and softer brass lights to draw diners in, but the group made an effort to preserve unique details of the building.
“We designed a new, modern look, but also wanted to let Hoboken be Hoboken,” Bauer says. Weaving old elements into the space included refinishing and painting an existing brick wall and restoring the Vitrolite glass entrance of the building in accordance with Historical Preservation Commission guidelines.
The wait for Quality Greens Kitchen ends soon, as the restaurant will officially be opening their doors next week, likely on Tuesday. Outdoor seating will set up soon, and their hours of operation will be 11AM-9:30 PM, 7 days a week.