NYC chefs bring giant food hall to Eero Saarinen’s Bell Labs building in suburban NJ

Posted On Wed, September 26, 2018 By

Posted On Wed, September 26, 2018 By In Architecture, New Developments, New Jersey, Restaurants, Starchitecture

Photo: Lapeg Photo

Symbolic of the future-happy post-war era, Bell Labs, the research and development center for telecom giant AT&T, was one of Finnish architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen’s architectural masterpieces, though his iconic TWA Flight Center may be better known. The two-million-square-foot modernist cube, built in 1962–the architect passed away in 1961 before it was completed—made a statement in the quiet suburban scenery. Within, scientists made famous discoveries and won Nobel Prizes. As the centuries changed, 2007 saw the end of era when Bell Labs shuttered. After American ambitions shifted from science to snacking, a seasoned culinary squad was tapped by RBC Hospitality Group, Eater reports, to bring the winning formula of sushi, pizza, sandwiches, pastries and grain bowls to the historic building in the ‘burbs.


Photo via Wiki Commons

Somerset Development president Ralph Zucker is credited with the idea of revitalizing the then-abandoned suburban office park, bringing New York-based architect Alexander Gorlin on board to help create at the mixed-use Bell Works an hour from NYC. The building offers minimalist coworking spaces, New Jersey café Booskerdoo Coffee & Baking Co., and the Holmdel Library and Learning Center as well as art installations, yoga classes and wine tastings.


Photo: Lapeg Photo

A team that includes chef Richard Corbo (Tribeca Grill, Union Square Cafe), his wife Chantelle Corbo, a sommelier from Upland, west-coast restaurant pro Chad Spender and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Oceana, and Bien Cuit alum Jeffrey Sytsma are busily creating Bell Market. Corbo tells Architectural Digest, “We wanted to get out of New York and started looking at spaces for our own restaurant in places like Asbury Park.” The arrival of tenants like Guardian Life Insurance, software company iCIMS and Jersey Central Power & Light–and the subsequent need to provide their employees with lunch–led Corbo to “think about what this building needed and who could do it.”


Photo: Lapeg Photo

Currently on the menu at the now-open food hall are Jozu, Bubz Deli, Honeybell Bakery, Corbo & Sons and Broadfork with more to come. Also to come according to Patch is the as-yet-unnamed Bell Works hotel, run by Destination Hotels, a resort and spa operator headquartered in Colorado.


Photo via Wiki Commons

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