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  • Keyaira Boone

Adventures in Kekeland: The Playground Social at ODR Studios

With everything that’s going on in the world escapism is more appealing than ever and that’s what attendees were in search of as they headed up the ramp to Chef Lex Grant’s first “PlayGround Social” Newark’s ODR Studios.

From the outside the building looked like many others in the Ironbound area. Just a nondescript industrial space that serves as a reminder of the days when one could actually sustain themselves and their families with one full-time income and didn’t need at least an associates degree to read the signs above parking meters.

But just a few checked names on the list and a slight concrete slope away led me and some of my favorite couple friends to find out what made it different from its neighbors.

It wasn’t about bottle service or bandage dresses but the good old fashioned fun that we used to have before everything had to be a “movie."

Guests looked cute and comfortable as they clinked cups and hugged one another. Jersey’s artist community was out in full force.

Influencer Janae Raquel, photographer Jay Golden, poet Jasmine Mans, and podcast host Sarah Vega were all spotted chatting with their respective friends.

The Rose Gold boys were in the building.

The hostess played a few hands of Dusse lubricated Spades. A violinist played in the middle of the room pleasantly surprised everyone by joining along with the contemporary hits being played on the speakers including Wale’s “Bad” .

Omnivores and the plant based friends that they barely tolerate had plenty of options to choose from as the menu featured a variety infused and sober treats. The empanadas, shrimp, spicy vegetable thai fried rice, and BBQ short ribs were all great but it was the combination of fried mac and cheese, and sorel that kept me coming back to the buffet.

Everyone got into the theme and embraced their inner child playing games of Jenga and Uno.

All in all it was a great first trip to the playground.

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