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TRADE Marketplace Coming in August

Written By: Nanda Dyssou TRADE Marketplace Irvine
Photography Credit: Courtesy of TRADE

Office workers, residents, and students in the downtown Irvine business district will soon have a convenient destination for their lunch breaks, business meetings and evening dinner dates, as TRADE is set to open in late September. The marketplace on the northwest corner of Michelson and Bixby Drive will feature forty businesses, including highly anticipated new concepts by renowned chefs. Some of the names that have created a buzz include Hop Phan and Viet Tran of Dos Chinos, Andrew Gruel of Slapfish, Kurt Chen of Ootoro, and the team behind organic wonder KRISP Fresh Living. TRADE Marketplace Irvine

When Lincoln Property Company began looking for a development opportunity in the middle of Orange County, they noted a shortage of high-quality dining options and evening entertainment spots in Irvine’s business district. They recognized that a marketplace featuring excellent restaurants open for lunch and dinner would be a welcome addition to the area. Thus, they set out to create TRADE, a unique dining hall that would keep guests coming back daily. TRADE Marketplace Irvine

“TRADE has garnered a lot of interest from the community, especially from businesspeople and office workers in the area, ” says Parke Miller, Lincoln Property Company’s Executive Vice President. “During the day, there are over 95, 000 people working within a mile of the center, and they constantly struggle to find somewhere fresh and unique to eat or somewhere new to go for their business meetings.” TRADE Marketplace Irvine

Providing them with such a marketplace has not been easy. Lincoln Property spent over two years finding the perfect location, developing, and finally realizing their concept. While downtown Irvine has long been populated by office buildings, the company noted a shift in demographics: more families moving into the vicinity of the business district due to a change in zoning laws. This created a need for high-quality dining options not just during the day but at night as well.

The company chose the old Palm Café food court, and decided to focus on a combination of new and existing concepts, but all with the common theme of being led by extremely talented chef-entrepreneurs. They completely redesigned the location to elevate it to the standards that workers and residents in the area expected. At TRADE guests will appreciate the unique indoor and outdoor dining spaces, as well as a bar located in the middle of the hall. TRADE Marketplace Irvine

“We wanted to construct a unique experiential retail center, where you could come and dine in a really cool environment, try the best chef-driven concepts in the county, and keep up with hot, modern-day trends, ” says Miller. “Our goal was to give workers a cool place to be able to walk to on their lunch breaks, to give families the option to eat or drink locally, and to create a resource for UCI students, too.” TRADE Marketplace Irvine

However, guests were not the only ones Lincoln Property Company aimed to please. TRADE Marketplace Irvine

“We re-developed the food hall so that all the kitchen infrastructure is in place. Chefs only need to bring their cooking equipment, slide them under the hoods, plug into the outlets, the stainless steel sinks and prep tables will already be there, ” says Miller. “If chefs want to get creative and change their concepts or introduce new food items, they have the ultimate flexibility in these spaces. Our goal was to enable our vendors to continue to deliver new and innovative offerings to our guests as much as possible.” TRADE Marketplace Irvine

The offering of TRADE is nothing short of impressive. “People who are from outside of Orange County “proper” would be shocked how few high quality outdoor dining opportunities exist, and we could not be more proud to bring one to the community here.” TRADE Marketplace Irvine

On one end of the marketplace, opening in Fall 2016, is KRISP Fresh Living, which has been supplying Newport Beach residents with organic acai bowls, smoothies, and teas since 2013. On the opposite end, lovers of exquisite sushi and sashimi will be thrilled to find a new location of Ootoro. Owner and Master Chef Kurt Chen is passionate about only serving the best seafood to his guests—even if that means having seasonal fish flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market on special order. His omakase course has earned a loyal following over the years at his Walnut restaurant, who will no doubt be excited to sample his offerings at TRADE.

Andrew Gruel, founder of Slapfish Restaurant, is teaming up with Jaime Benson and Brent Miller to bring two concepts to TRADE: Two Birds, “a very simple chicken concept” that will no doubt be more than simple, and Butterleaf, a plant-based vegetable diner that the market clearly lacks and craves.

Founders of Dos Chinos, the beloved Latin Asian fusion truck that caters to Santa Ana audiences, are also among the attractions of TRADE. They are opening a Dos Chinos location, as well as a Latin-Asian-Mexican-Hawaiian fusion spot called Megadon.   

Other Santa Ana favorites joining them are The Sandwich Society and Portside fresh seafood. Mi Ho’s The Sandwich Society will offer its well-known menu items, whereas Kevin Nguyen and Mark Cruz of GD Bro Burgers fame will bring a dessert venue to TRADE. TRADE Marketplace Irvine

Those who frequented the old Palm Café food court will recognize Gyro King, a returning vendor and provider of healthy Greek cuisine at affordable prices. TRADE Marketplace Irvine

The 32, 000 square foot retail center will also be home to a mix of other soft goods and service-oriented businesses, including one of the strongest collections of premier salons in Orange County, along with a few other restaurant alternatives. Altogether, forty vendors will await visitors daily.

While some vendors, such as Ootoro, open next week, Miller is currently working with Primus General Contractors to put the finishing touches on the rest of the development. Annika Colombi, a seasoned leasing agent from CBRE Group, is helping to bring a perfect mix of restaurateurs and retailers to the venue.  He hopes to have a grand opening in late September. Until then, get ready for TRADE.

TRADE Marketplace Irvine
2222 Michelson Dr
Irvine, CA 92612
949.333.2111
Michelson and Bixby Dr. Welcomes TRADE

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