The Connell Co. has launched Parklife Meals, a new service for prepared healthy meals for office workers at The Park business and hospitality campus in Berkeley Heights. — Courtesy: Connell
By Joshua Burd
The Connell Co. has launched a new prepared meal service for office workers at The Park, its 185-acre business and hospitality campus along Interstate 78 in Berkeley Heights.
Known as Parklife Meals, the platform will provide tenants with ready-to-eat, healthy options crafted by the in-house culinary team behind the property’s existing restaurant and café spaces. Its menu will include low-carb, gluten-free and vegetarian options, as well as a balanced category that offers a significant portion of vegetables alongside three to five ounces of lean protein and a serving of hearty grains or starches.
It’s the latest offering at a campus that’s home to companies such as L’Oreal, Fiserv, Bristol-Myers Squibb, HP and Samsung, as Connell moves to modernize and reposition the well-known office park with expanded amenities and new retail, restaurant and residential uses.
“Office workers are seeking ways to maintain the healthy habits they adopted while working from home over the past three years,” said Shane Connell, executive vice president at The Connell Co. “During the pandemic, many professionals established health and fitness routines that included meal prepping, but this lifestyle became difficult to maintain after transitioning to an in-office schedule. With these challenges in mind, The Park’s culinary team was inspired to create the first dietician-approved prepared meals service available in an office setting, which enables guests to pick up top-quality meals at lunch or on their way home from work, eliminating the time and guesswork involved with meal planning and prepping.”
Envisioned by Table & Banter, The Park’s hospitality group, Parklife Meals takes cues from the prepared meal delivery services that have grown in popularity in homes across the country, according to a news release. Connell noted that the team, led by Chef Brian Bistrong, has crafted recipes that are then analyzed and assessed by in-house registered dietitian and nutritionist Tara Tomaino.
The menu currently includes offerings such as grilled chicken casado, a kimchi pancake with grilled tofu and lion’s mane mushroom steak. Once packaged, the meals are available for pick-up at The Park’s Counter Market cafe and marked with corresponding labels and QR codes, enabling guests to easily view the meal’s ingredients and nutritional information.
“Parklife Meals illustrate that grab-and-go meals can be both healthy and satisfying,” said Bistrong, culinary director and corporate executive chef at The Park. “Under Tara’s guidance, the Table & Banter team looked to the Blue Zones diet, a plan that emulates the eating habits of cultures in locations where people are generally believed to live the longest — think Costa Rica, Korea, Japan and Greece. Taking this predominantly plant-based approach into consideration, we created a variety of menu options that support a balanced lifestyle without sacrificing taste, quality or convenience.”
The program has launched as a grab-and-go concept in advance of a larger rollout that will feature a weekly preorder model via The Park’s mobile app, the news release said.
“Food is the cornerstone of The Park, a destination where an array of culinary offerings come together to help create a live-work-play setting that is simply unrivaled throughout the state,” said Stephen Kilroy, senior vice president of hospitality and marketing at The Connell Co. “The launch of this new meal program enables guests to bring our unparalleled food and beverage experiences home with them, while also supporting wellness-oriented lifestyles.”
The Park’s culinary team also includes Ashley Davis, director of pastry and baking, and Louis Bayla, executive chef for Grain & Cane Bar & Table, the campus’ restaurant offering American cuisine and craft beer, wine and cocktails. Other culinary offerings include an elevated food hall-style café providing hot and cold breakfast and lunch options and RT Farm, a restaurant serving healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner options to the members of Round Table Studios, The Park’s co-working facility.
Connell begins demolition for planned food hall, event space at The Park in Berkeley Heights