[caption id="attachment_231523" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Helen's Sausage House, a local fan favorite in Smyrna for 40 years, is expanding to Newark. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
NEWARK – Helen’s Sausage House, a third-generation family run breakfast and lunch spot off U.S. Route 13 in Smyrna that has long been a local fan favorite, has signed a lease to open a location this fall in Newark – its first expansion in the restaurant’s history.Owner Clifford “Cliff” Murphy III, who took over the family business from his father Clifford “Butch” Murphy II last year, said the enthusiasm of local customers convinced him to take the leap.He mentioned in an interview last year that he was considering branching out, and soon after customers were urging him to do so, and real estate brokers began reaching out about possibilities.“So, I started looking at properties because I figured, ‘Why not strike while the iron is hot?’” he told Delaware Business Times.In that search, he learned that the former Post House diner at 145 E. Main St. in Newark was available – its most recent tenant, Duck Donuts, closed in 2021 – and found the location to be in good shape with a manageable rent.While Murphy did consider other locations, he felt that Newark was a good fit for the brand well-known for its meaty sandwiches at a low price. It also helped that he lives just a short distance away from the Main Street location.
[caption id="attachment_231522" align="alignright" width="300"] Helen's Sausage House will bring its popular double sausage sandwiches north for the hungry UD students. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
“I always thought about Newark because the university would bring a lot of foot traffic. I think the young kids will dig the sausage sandwiches. We already get a decent number of students down in Smyrna now, when they're going to the beach,” he said.While bringing its popular sausage and pork chop sandwiches to Main Street should be an easy fit, the new location will have to differ from the Smyrna in at least one way: its hours.The original is open from 4 a.m. to noon Mondays to Saturdays, catering in part to the early-rising hunters and fishers of the region. In Newark though, where college students are perhaps just as likely to be heading home at 4 a.m. as they are waking up at noon, Murphy said the normal hours would likely adjust to 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.“I think we're going to toy with the late-night hours on the weekend too. So, from Thursdays to Saturdays, I might do a 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift,” Murphy said.With some renovations underway at the Newark location, Murphy aims to open the new Helen’s in the early fall, with an aim for October. His nephew will take over management of the Smyrna location while he works to get the Newark site off the ground, hiring a whole new crew.For Murphy, whose paternal grandmother Helen Achenbach opened the original shop in 1983, reaching the point of expansion has been “really exciting and nerve wracking as well.”“I think my dad wanted to expand, but I think it was harder for him. It's tough to find people to take things over and make sure that he can keep it going the way that it should,” he said. “After we got all that positive feedback, I said, ‘You know, sometimes you’ve just got to do it.’ So we're going to give it a shot.”