Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Grand Opening of Wonder in Springfield, NJ. I wasn’t sure what to expect as they claimed to offer Di Fara Pizza—yes that Di Fara Pizza. I love their style of Pizza as the original founder Domenico DeMarco was from Caserta, which isn’t too far where our family is from (west of Napoli).
I decided to make it a family trip as we constantly argue about what type of food to order. I’m a hopeless pizza junkie, while my wife will either want sushi or wings. My one is super picky and won’t do anything green (the struggle is real) and my oldest son likes anything spicy and to my dismay, is sick of pizza (may or may not be my fault).
We ordered a whole bunch of items to check out the range of the restaurant as well as satisfying the varying tastes of my eclectic family. We started off trying the Di Fara square pizza with Bufala mozzarella and it was pretty darn close to the real thing (which is kind of scary). We also tried a delicious pastrami sandwich with mustard which is something I haven’t had in a while so I didn’t realize how much I missed pastrami until I sampled a sandwich at our Wonder excursion. We also enjoyed the beef brisket which is hard to get around here (I recently had some nice Brisket when I was in Austin a few weeks ago). Surprisingly, it not only held its own, but it was great enough to send me on a “brisket kick” for the next few weeks. To round it out, we had some soft beef and chicken tacos, which were spicy enough for my oldest—so, that’s a win in itself. The tortilla was fresh and generously filled with meat.
View this post on Instagram
What is the Wonder Group?
Wonder Restaurant Group was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in New York City, by New Jersey-based entrepreneur Marc Lore. Wonder Group—the parent company of Wonder—has raised a total of $900 million in funding since its inception in 2018. This includes a Series B funding round of $350 million in June 2022, which valued the company at $3.5 billion. Wonder Group has also raised additional funding from investors such as Nestlé, NEA, Accel, GV, General Catalyst, and Bain Capital Ventures—which translates to some heavy hitters backing Marc Lore, the serial entrepreneur, who previously sold his Hoboken based company Jet.com to Walmart for $3.3 Billion Dollars.
The concept is pretty simple; there are over ten restaurants per location. You can order from as many or as little of the restaurants offered as you like. No matter the order, it arrives in 26 minutes—piping hot. It’s called “fast fine” food delivery by the company. They also offer pick-up options as well. You could eat in the restaurant, but it’s not the strong point of the brand, in my opinion.
Wonder also recently acquired Blue Apron—a service delivering personalized meal kits and recipes to customers’ doorstep. Blue Apron meal kits can now be ordered through the Wonder app.
Wonder’s Chief Marketing Officer
Daniel Shlossman has been appointed as the Chief Growth and Marketing Officer for Marc Lore’s ‘fast fine’ food delivery venture. The business has set its sights on expanding to 10 New York-area locations within the current year.
Wonder, once recognized for preparing and delivering chef-developed menus through a fleet of approximately 500 trucks, shifted its strategy in January of 2022. The company abandoned the mobile kitchen approach in favor of fixed locations where staff prepare food for delivery from as many as 30 restaurant brands.
Shlossman came to Wonder from Sweetgreen. In this role, he oversees marketing, digital initiatives, partnerships, product strategies, and customer experience. Prior to joining Sweetgreen, Shlossman held positions at Uber and the NFL. Since its strategic shift, Wonder has launched marketing efforts, including an out-of-home and direct mail campaign centered around its initial Manhattan and New Jersey locations. As a Digital Marketer by profession, I was actually impressed by the “old school” mailers. In fact, that’s how Wonder initially got my attention.
In contrast to conventional “ghost kitchen” models that exclusively prepare food on-site, Wonder adopts a unique approach. The company intends to partially cook the majority of its meals in central production facilities, employing blast-chilling methods for transportation to local hub kitchens, where the final cooking and finishing touches take place. Notably, Wonder manages its own delivery operation and has its own ordering app, distinguishing itself from typical ghost kitchens that often rely on third-party delivery services like DoorDash. They have true end-to-end integration and own as well as cultivate the customer relationship.
When chatting with Shlossman, I was impressed by his knowledge of the business and understanding of their target customer. They are taking a Silicon Valley-type approach through solid technology and merging with old school names like Di Fara and well-known brands like Bobby Flay’s Steak. We wouldn’t blame you if you expect the food to feel and taste like a “chain,” but that is (thankfully) far from the truth. They do not compromise quality in order to provide convenience—a dedication Shlossman and Lore are committed to. Shlossman broke down the whole concept to me in under a minute as it now comes down to execution. So far, the formula seems to be working.
View this post on Instagram
Wonder’s Springfield, NJ location offers an extraordinary culinary experience that goes beyond the ordinary. The menu, featuring a diverse range of dishes from several famous restaurants, showcases the culinary prowess of the chefs. The standout feature of Wonder is its innovative approach to food preparation, utilizing central production facilities and local hub kitchens to deliver a unique blend of efficiency and freshness. The attentive and friendly staff contribute to the overall positive atmosphere, enhancing the dining journey. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor passing through, Wonder’s “fast fine” delivery concept deserves a try. The combination of inventive flavors and a commitment to quality make Wonder a standout destination in the community. Plus, the array of restaurants offered means that when going with the family, you’ll find something for everyone. To me, that can’t be beat.
Nearby Wonder Locations in NJ and NY
221 River St, Hoboken, NJ 07030
210 South Ave W, Westfield, NJ 07090
Wonder Upper West Side
2030 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
128 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011
Wonder Downtown Brooklyn
310 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11217