Not so long ago, Newark was considered a food wasteland and had a downtown area that has been criticized by some for poor quality cuisine. But just days after the city’s first Whole Foods opened and the announcement that an Eataly-style Italian market was on the way, Newark’s food and retail scene continues to explode.

One of Newark’s newest rental properties, Halston Flats at 1227 Raymond Boulevard, is about to take on Hawaiian flair. Ono Grinds Poké will open a store in one of the building’s three storefronts to give the traditional Poké a twist. Customers can customize either a poké bowl or sushiritto (sushi burrito) from start to finish in the restaurant.

Guests choose their base, protein, and one of Ono’s seven homemade sauces to include in their meal. Co-founder Daniela Hoyos says the restaurant aims to deliver the ultimate Poké experience, handpicking sustainable fish every morning and adding tons of fresh mix-ins to look for the highest quality ingredients.

In addition to Pokè bowls, Ono also offers other items such as customizable organic açaí and pitaya smoothie bowls. Hoyos says the restaurant will open sometime this summer.

krauzers 127 halsey st newark

A new Krauszer location will also be housed in Halston Flats, which will fill all retail outlets in the base of the building. The convenience, deli and grocery chain seems to be banking on downtown Newark. They opened a space on 216 Market Street back in 2015 and are bringing another to the Teachers Village project later this year.

Suite 304 Bar Lounge 304 University of Ave Newark

A new lounge and restaurant are right on the border between Downtown and University Heights. 304 University Avenue, which used to be Skippers Plane Street Pub, was sold to RBH Market Street West, a subsidiary of the locally based RBH Group, in December last year. Since then, the pub on the ground floor has been renovated.

The space will be converted into Suite 304 Bar and Lounge, which offers an Italian-style menu. A walk past the site shows that construction is in full swing and owner Sam Siino says the restaurant is slated to open its doors to groceries on March 20 and hopes to have a license for alcohol by April 1st.

Planet Fitness 520 Broad St Newark

Finally, a new gym is slated to open in the heart of downtown next month. The newest Planet Fitness location at 520 Broad Street is hoping to welcome residents on April 1st, and the gym is holding a pre-grand opening sale for memberships through March 15th with offers from just $ 10 / month.