WW, Barclays Center Go Freestyle

Cafe in a venue is a first for brand formerly known as Weight Watchers

  • by Brad Weissberg
  • Published: October 10, 2018

Celebrity chef Cat Cora designed the menu for the new WW Freestyle Café, which opened in Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Oct. 4. (Courtesy Barclays Center)

Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., is partnering with WW — known until last month as Weight Watchers — and has launched the WW Freestyle Café: BKLYN; a first-of-its-kind WW space in the arena.

The cafe offers a diverse menu of healthy Mediterranean dishes as well as Cense wine, a lower-calorie product introduced last year by WW through a partnership with a winemaker.

Dishes inspired by WW's Freestyle program are also available at 10 of the arena’s other concession stands. The cafe opened Oct. 4.

Celebrity chef Cat Cora, the newest WW ambassador, curated the menus for the cafe in collaboration with Barclay's concessionaire, Levy.

"The goal is to inspire healthy eating habits that fit into people’s lives while showcasing the livability of the WW Freestyle program," said Pawel Brzeznski, vice president of hospitality strategy for Barclays Center. "We thought a collaboration between WW and Barclays Center would be a great fit."

The relationship between Barclays Center and WW was initiated by WW CEO Mindy Grossman, who also sits on the advisory board of BSE Global, which oversees programming, marketing, sales and operations for the arena. There is a financial arrangement between WW and Barclays Center, but neither party wanted to reveal the exact numbers involved.

"People want to integrate healthier living into their daily lives," said Sherry Thompson, WW's senior vice president of U.S. marketing. "We have the ability to inspire people to adopt healthy habits through this partnership."

Cora's menu features a variety of Mediterranean-inspired entrees, sides and desserts. Dishes include grilled street corn, sesame lamb meatballs, a Mediterranean Buddha Bowl, baked “fried” jalapeño poppers and more.

Thompson said WW picked Cora because she "is committed to wellness and is an advocate for healthy cooking. Her cuisine brings fun, healthy and creative dishes to the Barclays Center – making it easy to eat healthy on the go, even in a stadium setting."

"The food is really good, high quality and presented beautifully," Brzeznski said. "Everything is locally sourced."

All the menu items are moderately priced, he said.

The cafe menu also features nutritional information and the number of WW "SmartPoints" that each food item equals.

Thompson said that while the cafe is the first venture that WW has done with a venue, it may not be the last.

"We look forward to seeing where it takes us," she said. "As we aim to make wellness accessible to all, we continue to explore ways to bring that mission to life."

 

  • by Brad Weissberg
  • Published: October 10, 2018