Herb & Ranch will offer quick-service dining for workplace community and residents in a contemporary farmhouse atmosphere
IRVINE, Calif. (March 13, 2019) — Irvine Company announced today that Herb & Ranch, a micro-food hall and chef’s market concept by award-winning celebrity chef Brian Malarkey, will open late summer 2019 at UCI Research Park, the 185-acre business park adjacent to UC Irvine. Herb & Ranch will be the sixth restaurant concept, and first outside of San Diego from the Puffer Malarkey Collective, which is owned and operated by Malarkey and his longtime business partner, Christopher Puffer.
Blending a contemporary farmhouse design with a light and breezy Southern California vibe, Herb & Ranch will serve numerous dining options from five stations like a traditional food hall. Located on the first floor and adjacent to The Commons at UCI Research Park, an open-air patio with casual workspaces and complimentary WiFi, Herb & Ranch will offer customers an inviting indoor-outdoor dining, meeting and event experience. The restaurant’s attractive design and decor will be complemented by expansive outdoor patios and on-site organic gardens.
“Orange County’s talented and educated workforce seeks a sophisticated and adventurous dining experience, which makes UCI Research Park a natural fit for Herb & Ranch,” said Malarkey, chef and partner of the Puffer Malarkey Collective. “The business park’s emphasis on sustainability and indoor-outdoor gathering spaces aligns perfectly with the dining and culinary experiences our team creates.”
Malarkey, who rose to fame as a finalist on Bravo’s “Top Chef” series, owns five restaurants in San Diego with two more opening in 2019.
“Brian Malarkey is one of the nation’s most celebrated and innovative chefs. We’re thrilled to provide our customers and their guests a Top Chef-like culinary experience at Herb & Ranch at UCI Research Park,” said Tom Greubel, vice president of Irvine Company Office Properties.
Malarkey, who grew up on the Oregon coast eating fresh, local seafood, discovered his love for food and cooking at a young age. He has created 15 highly successful restaurants across the United States. He also serves as a judge on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games,” makes regular appearances on the “Today Show” and “Good Morning America,” and was a “Top Chef” finalist and winning mentor on ABC’s “The Taste.” His latest venture, Herb & Wood, is located in San Diego’s gastronomic neighborhood of Little Italy, and has been awarded with numerous accolades.
Malarkey said the architecture for the different food stations at Herb & Ranch is inspired by a modern take on the traditional farmhouse. Changing materials at the different stations will give each space its own unique feel. Batten board, corrugated metals, reimagined wood, marble and a neutral color palette will give the dining hall a sense of modernity that pays homage to farm culture, he explained.
Beginning the first week of February, UCI Research Park will offer a weekly gourmet food truck on Wednesdays. The dining programming will additionally include monthly pop-up events and a Farmers Market for customers.
UCI Research Park, adjacent to one of the nation’s top public universities, is home to more than 75 companies and more than 8,000 employees, including Cisco Systems, Intel, Skyworks and Toshiba America. The campus also houses the tech incubator, EvoNexus, where startups have generated more than $24 million in funding.
Formerly called University Research Park, the business park is undergoing more than $100-million in combined reinvestment and customer improvements, including the addition of The Commons, a one-acre, digitally-enabled, open-air venue for team collaboration and fully equipped for cutting-edge events and exhibitions.
The addition of a chef-driven concept like Herb & Ranch is part of a larger reimagining of the campus to meet the expectations and current and future needs of today’s workforce, Irvine Company’s Greubel said. A state-of-the-art conference center with flexible seating for more than 100 attendees and Irvine Company’s signature wellness amenity, KINETIC, are additional amenities that help to attract and retain top talent.
UCI Research Park is located off the 73 Freeway, minutes from John Wayne Airport, and a short drive from luxury apartment communities, Newport Center, Fashion Island Hotel and the renowned Resort at Pelican Hill.