The owners of Maplewood-based soul food chain Cornbread are opening their ninth eatery — this time in Newark’s University Heights neighborhood. The new location at 407 New Street will serve as the headquarters of their ever-growing parent company, which also includes an iHop and Brick City Vegan.
“Having our headquarters in Newark would bring us home,” said co-founder Adenah Bayoh, who moved to the city from Liberia when she was 13.
Bayoh prides herself on cooking everything on her menu from scratch — “nothing is shipped in,” she said — and the busy restaurant has outgrown the kitchen at 915 Broad Street.
“I want to inspire the next generation of young entrepreneurs, especially female women of color, to look at this as a manifestation of their dreams,” Bayoh said. “Sometimes you just have to see things to know that it’s possible.”
Bayoh presented plans earlier this week to Newark’s central planning board to construct a brick-and-glass flagship, which was approved. The building features a 70-seat restaurant on the ground floor and a 10,000-square-foot office space above. The building is designed by Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers in Livingston.
Antonio Cruz, a New Street resident, voiced concern to the planning board about adding another restaurant to a neighborhood with a cluster of fast-food joints that causes his family a headache with inadequate trash disposal.
“I can promise you I will be a good neighbor to you,” Bayoh said. “That’s something you can hold me to.”