A sign on the former Panera Bread location in Greenville's La Promenade center on Greenville Boulevard says that Newk's Eatery will be opening soon.
Newk's is a fast-casual restaurant that offers soups, sandwiches, salads and pizzas with a Southern flair.
What sets it apart from the other chain sandwich shops? An elevated menu selection, scratch-made fare, an obsession with quality ingredients, creative comfort food balanced with healthy options ... and more.
Newk's was founded in 2004 by the Newcomb family team that created the McAlister’s Deli concept and is headquartered in Jackson, Miss.
The company website notes that many of the chain's staple menu items were adapted from family recipes and the name "Newk's" is an abbreviation of the family's name.
Family specialties offered at Newk's include:
* Newk's Chicken Salad made with white meat chicken, sliced grapes, diced red onions and pecans.
* Two takes on mac and cheese -- Five Cheese, with Asiago, Vermont white Cheddar, Parmesan, Ammerlander Swiss and yellow Cheddar; and Six Cheese Pimento with the addition of pimento cheese and crumbled bacon.
* The Debra pizza with sliced grilled chicken, Roma tomatoes, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and basil pesto sauce.
Sandwich offerings include:
* The Farmer's Market Sandwich with grilled squash, zucchini, portabella mushrooms, caramelized onions and Gouda cheese topped with house-made basil mayo, sliced tomatoes and fresh spinach served on 11-grain wheat bread.
* Newk's Q sandwich with sliced grilled chicken, bacon, Swiss cheese and signature white barbecue sauce served on French Parisian bread.
* The Royal with smoked ham, turkey, Genoa salami, roast beef, Swiss cheese, romaine lettuce, tomato, mayo and spicy Creole mustard on French Parisian bread.
* Shrimp Po'boy with shrimp, olive oil, lettuce, tomato, pickles, sliced red onion and a side of cocktail sauce on French Parisian bread.
Each restaurant has a complimentary condiment bar with roasted garlic, Parmesan, capers, bread sticks, croutons, jalapenos, and pickles.
Newk's 10-inch pizzas are created on hand-rolled dough brushed with garlic-infused olive oil. Varieties include Pepperoni, Veggie, Margherita, Spicy Shrimp, Mediterranean, and BBQ Chicken.
Entree salads include Grilled Salmon Caesar, Grilled Chicken Greek, Cobb, Ahi Tuna, and Shrimp Remoulade.
Soups selections vary daily and include Corn and Crab Chowder, Mississippi Black-Eyed Pea Soup, Loaded Potato, Tomato Basil and Chicken Sausage Gumbo.
Desserts, which are made from scratch and vary daily, include slices of chocolate layer cake, strawberry layer cake, caramel layer cake and Dozen-Layer PB and Chocolate Cake.
The restaurants have open kitchens that allow patrons to watch as food is prepared.
Among Newk's more than 120 restaurants are locations in Cary, Charlotte, Fayetteville and Greensboro.
(NOTE: Panera Bread relocated to a free-standing building on Southeast Greenville Boulevard in front of the Publix grocery and across from Greenville Mall.)
Jane Welborn Hudson, a native of Greenville, wrote The Daily Reflector's Hot Dish restaurant column for 12 years and the Greensboro News & Record's Short Orders restaurant column for 8 years. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.