Lee Mikles and Jim O’Donoghue were recognized by their alma mater, the University of Delaware, as one of the fastest growing alumni-led businesses.

In a celebration of their leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, the co-founders of Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen were recognized by the University of Delaware last month.

“The University of Delaware has been a strong component of who we are as individuals, and what Grain is as a business. We couldn’t be prouder to be recognized by the university in this way,” Jim O’Donoghue, co-founder of Grain, said in a prepared statement.

The Blue Hen 17&43 award recognizes 17 of the most promising businesses and 43 of the fastest-growing companies founded, owned or led by university students and alumni.

A panel, composed of individuals from the university’s Horn Entrepreneurship program and Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, entrepreneurs and business leaders, rated nominees’ impact potential by assessing the venture’s innovativeness, milestone accomplishment, current and future revenues, job creation and social impact.

“UD’s 17 & 43 Awards were created to recognize and celebrate a special subset of our amazing Blue Hen family – the innovators, entrepreneurs and job creators who have launched promising startups and guided the rapid growth of established companies,” Dan Freeman, founding director of Horn Entrepreneurship, said in a prepared statement.

O’Donoghue and co-founder Lee Mikles were recognized during the Blue Hens football game versus Towson on Oct. 27.

O’Donoghue and Mikles opened the Newark Grain in 2015. Now, the owners three gastropubs in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Combined, the three locations have earned more than 20 awards.

“It was no coincidence that our first Grain is near the University Campus in Newark,” Mikles said. “We both felt at home in Newark and near UD, and we wanted to ‘plant our flag’ there. The support from the Blue Hen family has been tremendous in our continued path of growth.”

(1) comment


Just part of that $29 million annual economic impact that UD brings to Newark. A lager please.

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