The recharged Hoboken waterfront has experienced salient transformation. Gone are the days of rundown piers full of gritty and bare knuckled longshoremen. Hoboken's rough-and-tumble era has been replaced by corporate executives snacking on trendy and chic California thin crust pizzas personally cooked and served by quite possibly the world's most famous master chef, Wolfgang Puck. At Tuesday night's opening of the new Wolfgang Puck Express at the Waterfront Corporate Center, the affable and friendly Puck, toiled the kitchen, and served the crowd of VIPs his signature open kitchen contemporary American cuisine. Puck is one of America's most respected chefs, and is best known for his cuisine featured in his restaurants, cookbooks, Food Network television shows and syndicated, weekly newspaper columns.
The concept behind Express is to bring some Puck's favorite menu items from world-renowned restaurants Las Angeles' Spago and Chinois on Main, to a more casual setting that is affordable and accessible.
"My goal at the Wolfgang Puck Express is to make good food available to everybody," Puck said, Tuesday. "Today, people know so much more about food and expect the best in every type of restaurant. They no longer want to settle for ordinary meals or junk food when they are on the run, when it's just as fast and convenient to enjoy simple, yet flavorful foods like my pizzas, salads, pastas and sandwiches."
According to franchise owner Leon Magnes, of Alexa Enterprises LLC, entrees on the menu range from $4.50 to $13.50; with a typical check of just under $10. He added that some of the restaurants signature items include Chinois Chicken Salad, Butternut Squash Soup, Four Cheese Pizza, Rosemary Rotisserie Chicken, and Smoked Salmon Pizza
This is the first Wolfgang Puck restaurant in New Jersey. The local owner Alexa Enterprises plans to open 42 Wolfgang Puck Express restaurants in the northern New Jersey and New York City area over the next seven years. "
It matters for Hoboken
The opening of Wolfgang Puck Express is also a significant symbol of the maturing Hoboken waterfront. The restaurant is part of the waterfront Corporate Center at 100 Sinatra Dr., which is the centerpiece of the South Waterfront redevelopment in Hoboken, a master-planned development created through a public-private partnership between the City of Hoboken, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and private developer SJP Properties. In total, the South Waterfront Redevelopment will add 2.3 million square feet of commercial, retail and residential space on three city blocks. In addition to the office and retail space, the city is in discussions to bring luxury 270+ room hotel to the Southern Waterfront. While an official announcement has not been made, officials have previously stated that the hipper-than-hip W Hotel chain is the frontrunner for the prime waterfront location. The W Hotel chain is part of the Starwood Hotel group whose other properties include Sheraton, St. Regis and Westin.
"The opening of [the Wolfgang Puck Express] proves that Hoboken continues to be the most exciting and interesting city in all New Jersey," Hoboken Mayor David Roberts said.
The Mayor added that bringing such a high profile establishment to the waterfront can only add to the waterfront's revitalization and attract nationally recognized commercial tenants to the city's new corporate center. "This restaurant takes our waterfront one more rung up the ladder and uplifts the image of our entire city," Roberts said.