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Pru Center plans concessions with a Jersey flare

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JBJ Soul Kitchen for Prudential Center.
JBJ Soul Kitchen for Prudential Center. - (Legends/Prudential Center)

Hungry guests at the Prudential Center this fall will notice a distinctly Jersey feel to the food offerings at the home of the state’s only major professional sports team.

Under a new multiyear partnership with Legends Hospitality, the Prudential Center concessions will have a new emphasis on the dining experience.

“We want to do much more than what you would expect from an arena,” said Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Prudential Center, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers, describing the changes from previous vendor Aramark as a “95 percent overhaul.”

“I think expectations of fans … were looking for more and more, better food experiences,” he said.

The new food offerings will be transitioning into the arena throughout the summer and fall, and officials from the Center and Legends are excited about how they reflect the culinary staples of the state. Some concession stands will be diner- or boardwalk-themed, for instance, while another will offer the rodizio cuisine so popular in the city’s Ironbound neighborhood. Popular New Jersey names such as Tony Boloney’s will also be involved, and popular dishes such as disco fries will be served.

 “You won’t recognize the experience if you’ve been here before,” O’Neil said.

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Shervin Mirhashemi, Legends’ president and chief operating officer, and C.T. Nice, Legends’ regional vice president, said their new dining concepts get to the heart of New Jersey cuisine — and thus, just what they want for fans at the Prudential Center.

One highlight is a partnership with rock star Jon Bon Jovi’s JBJ Soul Kitchen, which the Prudential Center and Legends described as “the first community-based concession stand in sports and entertainment.” Although details have yet to be worked out, officials said the concession will have a community service element, in the spirit of Bon Jovi’s Red Bank community kitchen and restaurant.

“It’s in our DNA to give back,” O’Neil said.

Another featured attraction will be a farm-to-table emphasis at the arena’s sit-down restaurant, where the fare will feature as much as 85 percent New Jersey ingredients, according to Mirhashemi.

There are, however, no plans for any stand-alone restaurants to be open outside of arena events at this time.

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Eric Strauss

Eric Strauss

Eric Strauss is the digital content editor for NJBIZ. He has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as for a number of websites. You can contact him at erics@njbiz.com or @acerimrat on Twitter.

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