As a child growing up in Monmouth County, I heard the words Bell Labs many times over the years. Those words usually came from one of my friends when they were talking about where their parents worked. That’s all I knew. It was a place where a lot of professional people worked. I didn’t know anything about the amazing building, which was designed by 20th-century architect Eero Saarinen, or all of the Bell Labs innovations that many feel changed the world.
More than 50 years went by before I finally set foot inside the awe-inspiring structure. The reason for my visit was to check out the new 6,000-square-foot, upscale food court called Bell Market (of course food would get me there), while it was still under construction back in the spring. I met husband-and-wife team Richard and Chantelle Corbo, and they introduced me to their dream concept and team.
Bell Market is the work of a group of esteemed chefs and a sommelier (Chantelle) who, collectively, have worked at Union Square Cafe, Upland NYC, Gary Danko, Michael Mina, and Bien Cuit. At Bell Market, they bring their combined expertise and refined palates to an upscale, re-imagined food hall concept.
Bell Market’s 5 Unique Dining Options
1. Broadfork Greens + Grains
Here you will find your trendy bowls and salads and all the good-for-you fare that your heart desires. You have your choices of grains, veggies, and proteins in a variety of combinations.
2. Bubz Deli: NYC-inspired deli
Crossing over from the healthy side to the I’m-going-to-need-a-nap-after-this side, is Bubz Deli. House-made bagels, smears, and the sandwiches, oh my. Take, for instance, the Bubz Pastrami Rueben (pictured at left), warm pastrami, kraut, midnight moon gouda, Thousand Island dressing on house-made rye focaccia. I didn’t think I would finish it, but I did. (I’m not proud of myself but it was so damn good.) Bubz is most definitely a 10-napkin affair. You’ve been warned.
3. Jozu: Temaki (hand rolls), Ramen, and Robata
More 10-napkin fare coming up. I don’t like using social media slang, but OMG, the ramen at Jozu is heavenly. They also serve poke bowls, hand rolls and more, but the ramen is the memory I hold very dear. I had to find out more about this heavenly potion from Chad Spencer, Chef/COO of RBC Hospitality Group. The following is his secret to the luscious ramen broth you will experience at Jozu.
4. Corbo & Sons: Wood-fired Italian fare with an emphasis on pizzas (both Roman- and Neapolitan-inspired)
What struck me right off the bat, after my first bite of Corbo & Sons pizza, was how delicious the crust is. I promise, you will eat every last bite of this pizza. I needed to hear more from Richard Corbo on what makes his crust so special.
“We wanted to find the right balance between tradition and what works for the local palate, so we bought Naples-made ovens and started with the classic Naples-style pizza. But we didn’t want to make something that was light and airy because I felt that in Jersey, people want some chew, some tear, some crunchiness. They want to be able to fold and pick it up and none of those characteristics work for a Naples-style pizza. Half of our customers are putting pizza in a box. We believe we’ve found the right balance of ingredients and cook time. We’re hitting all the flavor notes and texture notes.”
I wholeheartedly agree and I think you will, too. In addition to delicious pizza, Corbo & Sons offers wine, beer, and hard ciders.
5. Honeybell Bakery: Bridging traditional and contemporary pastries and long, naturally fermented breads
Let’s end on a sweet note, shall we? Baked pastries, cookies, pound cakes, and oh, the bread. Honeybell has a number of to-die-for sandwiches served on its fresh-baked bread. If you’re going to indulge in a pastry, my favorite was the Morning Bun, filled with homemade orange marmalade and pastry cream scented with orange blossom water, orange zest, and vanilla. It’s just divine.
Bell Works is open to the public. In addition to Bell Market, the Monmouth County Library is now located in the building and the Bell Works Fresh Holiday Market is also happening on Wednesdays this month. Find out more here. So many reasons to visit. Stop by for a loaf of bread, a cocktail, or an amazing meal at this party for all the senses.
Bonus: Bell Market Wine + Spirits Club
While we’re on the subject, wine lovers can sign up online or in person, at their monthly tastings.
For December, in addition to the next curated selection of wines, Bell Market Wine + Spirits Club will also offer a December cocktail pack complete with all of the elements needed to make Chantelle’s favorite holiday cocktail.
Bell Market is now open Monday through Friday.
101 Crawfords Corner Road
Honeybell Bakery: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Bubz Deli: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Broadfork Greens + Grains: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Jozu: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Corbo & Sons: Monday and Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Hours are subject to change.