University of Delaware Alumni, Jim O’Donoghue and Lee Mikles, to be Recognized at Blue Hen Homecoming for Creating Fastest Growing UD Alumni Led Businessgrain


[Newark, DE, October 22nd, 2018] After receiving more than twenty awards, including Delaware’s Best New Restaurants, Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen earned its co-founders, Jim O’Donoghue and Lee Mikles earn a very special award from their Alma Mater, THE University of Delaware. The award, the Blue Hen 17&43 Award, is awarded to the fastest growing companies and most promising new ventures owned or led by UD alumni by UD’s Horn Entrepreneurship and Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics. The co-founders will be recognized on Tubby Raymond field during the Blue Hens football game vs Towson, this Saturday October 27th.

A panel comprised of UD Horn Entrepreneurship and Lerner College personnel, accomplished entrepreneurs and business leaders rated each nominated venture’s impact potential by assessing the venture’s innovativeness, milestone accomplishment, current and future revenues, job creation and social impact.
Dan Freeman, founding director, Horn Entrepreneurship explains the prestige of the 17&43 award: “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.”

“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.” says Grain co-founder and UD Alum, Jim O’Donoghue (AS 90).

“It was no coincidence that our first Grain is near the University Campus in Newark. 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.” says Grain co-founder and UD Alum, Lee Mikles (BEE 90, MBA 01)

About the Blue Hen 17&43 Awards
Since 1743, the University of Delaware has established a proud tradition of leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. The Blue Hen 17 & 43 builds on this tradition through the annual recognition of the 17 most promising new businesses (less than 5 years old) and the 43 fastest growing companies (5+ years old or generating revenues of more than $1MM for 3 consecutive years) founded, owned or led by UD students and alumni.
The Blue Hen 17 & 43 is a project of UD’s Horn Entrepreneurship and Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics.

About Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen
Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen currently owns and operates three award-winning gastropubs in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Grain’s restaurants are designed to offer a warm inviting place to meet family and friends, and enjoy a shared experience of contemporary American fare. Grain’s concept is a casual and energizing space where well-crafted food and drink happily go hand-in-hand while live music fills the room. The company started in 2015 in Newark, DE by the Mikles and O’Donoghue families. Grain was quickly recognized as Delaware’s Best New Restaurant by the readers of Delaware Today Magazine. Combined, the three locations have earned over twenty awards. Visit for more information.


If you would like more information about this award, please contact Kelsey Flynn at or 443.907.7905‬.


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