Touch the Heart: Fresh Blooms Meets Dim Sum, Hoboken’s Newest BYOB Restaurant Concept

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Don’t worry, chickpea lovers — hummus is still available at 324 Washington Street — the Pure Pita spot in Hoboken — but in addition to delicious dip, there’s also an exciting new reason to stop by this storefront in the Mile Square. Hoboken’s Touch the Heart, a new store-slash-eatery featuring food, flowers, and timeless antiques is coming soon. Here, at the refreshed version of 324 Washington, you’ll find a blend of fresh blooms, antique knickknacks for purchase, and an innovative take on Chinese-American-style dim sum.

 

touch the heart hoboken

{Calligraphy by @writeprettyforme}

How Touch the Heart Came to Be

Touch the Heart is a new concept from owners Dan Grey and Anne Marie, who have worked together on various Mile Square projects for the past few years. Dan who is also responsible for local staples like Saku, Green Rock, Grand Vin Kitchen + Wine Bar, and more — felt that Hoboken was lacking a proper dim sum spot. With the help of Anne Marie‘s intentioned design and creative visuals {she has a background in fashion design and has worked as Creative Director of Grand Vin!}, Touch the Heart was born.

“I’ve been wanting to do a dim sum or Chinese place in town for a while,” Dan tells Hoboken Girl. “That’s where I gravitate, to what I think the town needs. Anne Marie was asking me a couple of years ago to do a florist because she’s very talented and does events for me at Grand Vin and does a lot of flowers there. Instead of paying rent for a floral shop a business I know nothing about we decided to merge the two and have a two-in-one kind of thing.”

See More: Tutta Pesca in Hoboken Has Closed: What We Know So Far

The Chinese word dim sum literally translates as “to lightly touch {your} heart.” Inspired by the beautiful etymology behind the word, Dan and Anne Marie wanted to create a space that didn’t just fill bellies, but also, created a unique all-around experience that touched the heart. And given Anne Marie’s design background, it only felt natural to bring fresh blooms into the mix.

A Sneak Peek

On the eatery’s official Instagram, the space details what you can expect — “unique dishes with love in every bite, fresh blooms for sale each week, a variety of antiques and food objects, and an all-around classy spot” — but Dan and Anne Marie want you to know that while they’ll serve food, cocktails, sell flowers, and antiques, Touch the Heart is more of an experience than it is restaurant or store.

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{Photo credit: @TouchtheHeart_Hoboken Photography}

“Something that we strive to have is an experience while you’re inside dining with us, so, we’re sort of bummed about not being able to open the inside,” Anne Marie tells Hoboken Girl. “When you come in there are all different kinds of nooks and crannies that have very much this neat kind of feel. When you’re sitting down part of the plan is to have you continue to notice things. On each wall, there’s a different floral arrangement that I’m trying to piece together to have ready for everything.”

With a tentative grand opening date for July, Touch the Heart will open its outdoor sidewalk dining first. Currently in the works is the eatery’s extended sidewalk café license they’re trying to get ready before the opening.

Anne Marie adds, “There’s just lots to see and experience when you come in so to that point we’re bummed about [opening during coronavirus] but we’re looking forward to having people inside.”

touch of heart hoboken 4

{Photo credit: @TouchtheHeart_Hoboken Photography}

The Menu

Touch the Heart will offer a Chinese-American take on dim sum, as well as encourage patrons to BYOB. At your table, you’ll find a carefully crafted mocktail menu — cocktails sans booze and expert mixologists on site who can speak to which liquors work best with each signature drink and which cocktails work best with certain foods.

“We want our food to be good, but we want it to be an experience,” Dan adds. “That’s why we put so much thought into it and it’s all about tiny details… There’s a bar in the restaurant even though there’s no liquor. People are going to be able to come in, bring a bottle of vodka, and we’re going to mix part of our signature cocktails or whatever cocktail they want, mix it for them there, so it’s still got a bar feel to it.”

touch of heart hoboken 8

{Photo credit: @TouchtheHeart_Hoboken Photography}

All right, now let’s talk dim sum.

“It’s a dim sum menu but it’s not traditional dim sum…Think typical American-Chinese food: General Tso’s, kung pao, and sesame chicken but we’re doing it in a dim sum fashion. Dim sum is basically Chinese tapas,” Dan explains to Hoboken Girl. “[You’ll find] a lot of appetizers, fried rices, noodles, but it’s not like going to a regular BYOB Chinese hole in the wall and getting pork, chicken, and shrimp fried rice… There’s black coconut rice, fried rice with crab, quinoa fried rice, which is more of the vegetarian option.”

Other menu highlights to look forward to include the cheeseburger shumai, General Tso’s chicken-fried dumplings, crispy fried green beans, Szechuan cucumbers, and more.

“It’s a little different than traditional dim sum or traditional Chinese food,” Dan adds. There will also be vegetarian options, vegan, and gluten-free substitutions for people with food restrictions and sensitivities.

touch of heart hoboken 5

{Photo credit: @TouchtheHeart_Hoboken Photography}

As for those Pure Pita lovers who are worried now that there’s not a sign outside anymore, don’t panic. The Pure Pita kitchen is still up and running; it’s just now blended with the Touch the Heart kitchen. Pure Pita will still be available for catering and delivery through online or phone orders; however, when you physically sit down in Touch the Heart, you’re 100% getting Touch the Heart dim sum.

Touch the Heart’s Shop

One of the more unique aspects of Touch the Heart is the fact that its part shop. Meaning, basically all of the decor you’ll see inside Touch the Heart is for sale. From the floral arrangements on the tables to the picture frames hanging on the wall, you could take just about anything home with you once you’re finished eating.

“Along with the flowers, I’m so big on cutesy little knickknacks and handmade things,” Anne Marie says. “A lot of the things we’ll be selling [include] pots and frames I’m putting dried flowers in. I made sure to have lots of shelving and a huge mantle. I’ll be antiquing to find vintage mirrors and frames with which to decorate but [that will also be] for sale.”

Touch the Heart is also working with local calligrapher Alane of Write Pretty for Me. “I’m anticipating personalizing things for people and having gifts ready to go that say, ‘Hoboken.'”

Read More: Hoboken’s Flatbread Grill Closing Brick-and-Mortar, Transitioning to ‘Delivery-Only Concept’

Anne Marie adds, “I’m all about handmade things and eventually as we evolve, I’d love to have local artists and featuring different kinds of work like that… It’s not quite a retail experience, it’s more a dining experience on the inside but we definitely have spaces where we can showcase things.”

touch the heart hoboken 11

{Photo credit: @TouchtheHeart_Hoboken Photography}

The Timeline

This latest venture from Dan and Anne Marie was originally supposed to open its doors sooner, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the timeline has been pushed back a bit. Still, the co-owners are so excited to be opening this new living, breathing experience to the public.

It’s always a positive thing when we hear of a small, locally-owned biz making its way to the Mile Square. Particularly in the wake of the global pandemic, celebrating and supporting the opening of new businesses feels more important than ever.

Welcome to Mile Square, Touch the Heart!

Got a news tip? Let us know — email us at hello@hobokengirl.com! We appreciate it.


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Stephanie Osmanski writes honest things about health, the planet, and being a woman. Her words have appeared on Business Insider, Parade, Eat This Not That, Dogster, Scary Mommy, Green Matters, Parents, Seventeen, Life & Style, InTouch Weekly, and more. Her articles have been syndicated on World Economic Forum, MSN, MSN UK, and MSN Canada. In her free time, Stephanie and her registered therapy dog, Koda, volunteer at local hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.


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