A newly announced tenant at the American Dream mall at the Meadowlands will be ripped from the digital world. MUNCHIES, a youth-driven food and culture website, will take its words and videos about dining into another dimension when it launches a food hall at the retail and entertainment behemoth being built at the intersection of routes 3, 120 and the New Jersey Turnpike.
This isn't the food court of your mall rat days. At MUNCHIES, diners will be able to order a Beef Marrow Cheeseburger and Eggplant Tempura and wash it down with the Martinez cocktail, a precursor to the martini. The 38,000-square-foot space will include 18 vendors, demos from visiting chefs and other engaging events.
We asked John Martin, co-founder and publisher of MUNCHIES, to explain this new concept. Here's what he said:
Q. What is a food hall?
A. A food hall is a collection of [food and beverage] establishments grouped together in a specific location. There can also be more than food, there will be space for experiential components. It's the modernizing of the food court concept, and more high end that speaks to today's food-obsessed public.
Q. What types of vendors do you envision?A. I see vendors from all across the spectrum, everything from authentic BBQ to killer Mexican to perfect ice cream. It's important to have strong operators who can handle the volume of visitors that American Dream is going to have. And the selection will come heavily from the MUNCHIES family - chefs, restaurants, people we've worked with, or done content about will have an opportunity to be involved.
Q. Why did MUNCHIES want to make a physical location?A. We've always been big into taking MUNCHIES from a digital only brand into the physical realm - events, merchandise, books, meal kits, our Test Kitchen, it only made sense to use our brand to curate an amazing selection of vendors for the public.
Q. Why is American Dream the right place for it?A. Brooklyn would have been too obvious. And 40 million visitors annually is something every brand would want to get in front of - it's as big as it gets. It's an audacious project, and MUNCHIES has never shied away from doing the unexpected and thinking big. Also, there's an indoor ski hill and we're basically at the base of that.
Q. How frequently will there be cooking presentations and other entertainment at MUNCHIES?
A. We're building out the programming now, but definitely big tentpoles every month, with smaller activations daily and weekly pending the schedule and other activities at American Dream.
Q. Why will people be drawn to this?A. The adventure of tasting new foods, prepared by some of the freshest culinary talent on the planet will be sure to engage all sorts of audiences. MUNCHIES will be promoting heavily across all our channels, and American Dream has a robust marketing program sure to surprise and delight everyone who visits.
Content gathered & updated by the Bergen Review Media team.