New takeout restaurant opens in West Philly amid unrest, emphasizing community investment

Hadas Kuznits
June 26, 2020 - 6:15 am
Star Fusion Express

Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A new Black-owned takeout restaurant is opening in the hub of West Philadelphia, where businesses were vandalized and looted less than a month ago amid racial protests. 

“My feeling about everything that's going on?” sighed Darlene "StarDar" Jones. “Where do I start?”

Still, the owner of the new Star Fusion Express at 52nd Street and Parkside Avenue said there’s no other community she’d rather invest in. The riots touched her community, and she wants to help bring business back in.

“I can definitely continue to employ people of this community,” she said. “In fact, I just recently hired over 18 people, and most of them live within this ZIP code. Some of them are second-chance people, second-chance offenders — that also matters.”

Star Fusion Express is Jones’ third restaurant — an accomplishment that she’s very proud of.

“Not for nothing,” she added. “I had one of my employees actually say to me, ‘Oh my God, it's 4 o’clock already? I have to go home? I don't want to go back on the block.’ ”

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It also worked out in Jones’ favor that Star Fusion Express is not a sit-down restaurant. 

“The takeout business right now is the place to go, obviously with COVID,” she said. “The fast, quick service of Star Fusion Express would definitely be ideal.”

Star Fusion Express
Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

She’s still paying close attention to coronavirus regulations regarding sanitation, expedience and service.

“Some of our seniors may have a difficult time with using the kiosk, not being very familiar with it, but we have someone on-site to be able to make sure they can process their order quick, fast and friendly,” she added.

Star Fusion Express
Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

The menu is soul food with an Americanized Asian fusion, including specialty wings like sweet Thai basil and Korean barbeque, or its spring roll bar featuring classic shrimp rolls or Philly-centric cheesesteak rolls.

For more, listen to the KYW Newsradio original podcast What’s Cooking on the RADIO.COM app.