Residents and visitors alike traveling the Garden State Parkway in the first week of the new year may have been surprised to see a fast-food staple unavailable to them.

A release from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority said that a contract for McDonald's to operate two service areas, Brookdale South in Bloomfield and Vauxhall in Union, expired at the end of 2021, and the Mickey D's restaurants at both locations have closed.

As of last summer, Brookdale South is now known as the Connie Chung Service Area, and Vauxhall has been named the Whitney Houston Service Area.

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The NJTA release said grab-and-go and vending options will be offered for hungry motorists and passengers at both rest stops until the spring, when the McDonald's buildings will be demolished and new construction begins.

If completed as scheduled by 2023, each location promises a variety of dining options.

At Brookdale/Connie Chung, the NJTA said, there will be a Burger King, Chick-fil-A, and Starbucks, and at Vauxhall/Whitney Houston, a Dunkin', Popeyes, and Shake Shack.

Both service areas will also operate convenience stores, according to the NJTA.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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