Matt Riss and Mark Ciaburri have spent the last few years helping Long Islanders on the run enjoy a good, nutritious meal.
Soon, they’ll be doing so in Babylon Village.
The company’s seventh Redefine Meal Prep location is expected to open soon at 255 Deer Park Ave., the former longtime home of Roomors, which just moved to Lindenhurst.
The other Redefine Meal Prep locations are in Lake Grove, Syosset, Bellmore, Commack, Port Jefferson and Holbrook.
Frank Sharp, a West Islip native, encouraged Riss to explore Babylon Village as a potential Redefine Meal Prep location, and will be a part-owner in the new spot.
“Babylon has always been intriguing … when you come down here, there’s an energy associated with it,” Riss said. “He’s been telling me for months to open something here because he feels it.”
For the uninitiated, Redefine Meal Prep offers fresh, fully prepared meals delivered five times a week.
Customers can choose single items or a meal package from the company’s online store (either 7, 10, 15, or 20 meals).
A person can also order a meal online and pick it up for free at any of the Redefine storefronts.
Those who need a quick bite can stop in for grab-and-go meals or browse Redefine’s line of healthy snacks and products. All meals are never frozen. They are all made at a kitchen in Ronkonkoma and each is packaged in freezer-safe containers with specific heating instructions.
The birth of Redefine
Riss and Ciaburri, both Sachem North graduates, were college athletes and 19 years old when they first started talking about a prepared meals company.
When they eventually decided to start their own business, Riss often joked that they were still two kids figuring it out one step at a time.
“The naiveness of it all was one of the reasons we were successful, I think, because we didn’t know what went into starting a business,” Riss said. “We basically started out of Mark’s house with a Honda Accord and delivered meals around the island…rented a kitchen, got a truck and slowly over time built it up over almost five years now.”
Riss said there was a specific moment during his time at college that sparked this idea of selling prepared, healthy meals. He was going to a college championship game and the night before, he and his team ate at a fast food place, he recalled.
He said he began thinking “something is wrong here.”
After realizing the lack of access college athletes had to nutritious pre-game, post-game and in-between game meals, Riss and Ciaburri began to fix this problem, they said, through a contract with Stony Brook Athletics through which they developed high-quality snacks for a fueling station.
“From that moment we thought, What else can we do?'” Riss said. “We started to generalize the business to not be so athlete-specific, but more toward the 9-to-5 individual, the family that’s busy bringing their kids to sports practice…we started appealing to everyone.”
Launching Redefine in Babylon Village
Redefine Meal Prep has a strong online presence in Babylon Village and already provides doorstep deliveries in the area, so bringing a physical storefront made sense for getting better connected with the community, Riss said.
The Babylon Village Redefine Meal Prep will be consistent with the other locations, but more “refined,” he added.
“We think this will be our best-looking store yet,” he said, adding “We try to keep the menu fun with new options, those are always the most popular because we like to push the envelope with what we offer.”
Buffalo chicken tenders, banana walnut chocolate chip pancakes, keto hibachi bowls and grilled shrimp ravioli with vodka sauce are just a few of the many healthy meals on the Redefine menu.
Also with the Redefine team is Jessica Fallica, the company’s vice president, who was actually Riss and Ciaburri’s first-ever sale when they started their business.
“It’s so cool the timing of everything and seeing them grow over the years, and then me reaching out, I was just looking for something new and it all worked out,” Fallica said.
“[We want it to be] a space where you can come, relax, get on your laptop, get work done, eat a healthy meal, and have good energy,” Riss said. “That’s what we try to do with every community we’re in.”
Top: Grilled shrimp and ravioli made by Redefine Meal Prep. Photo by Mia Santa Cruz and courtesy of Jessica Fallica.