DJ's Dessert Shop brings sweet boardwalk treats to Rutgers
Just as the weather slowly sheds its heat and students start to trade tank tops for oversized sweaters and flip-flops for fuzzy socks, cue DJ’s Dessert Shop on Easton Avenue to save us from these cold-weather blues.
I was greeted by a mini replicated boardwalk before reaching the front door and was carried back to the careless summers I’d spent balancing oversized stuffed animals in one hand with a melting double-scooped ice cream dripping on the other.
Squeezed in between Thomas Sweet and Stuff Yer Face, DJ’s Dessert Shop sits proudly with its bright orange overhang. On the inside, taupe walls and white molding line the spacious store, and the open kitchen shows that this place has nothing to hide.
The menu is separated into categories: deep-fried treats, ice cream, crepes, coffee/espresso beverages/smoothies and soda. The friendly staff helped me decide what to try of the shop’s favorites when I reached the cash register.
My final order: deep-fried Twinkies, deep-fried Oreos with bananas, a monkey bread crepe and a caramel macchiato. My reaction: Is this what heaven feels like? Unlike the steep prices charged down the shore, the prices at DJ’s were very reasonable for a college town, especially for its portions.
While waiting for my food, I sat down at a table near two Rutgers students who were just about to dig into a funnel cake, one of DJ’s deep-fried menu choices. Both were returning customers who only had great things to say about the establishment.
“The food is good and different from other places,” said Kat Schneider, a Mason Gross School of the Arts senior.
As a proud kid of the 1990s, I found the deep-fried Twinkies to be a surreal experience. Topped with the perfect amount of powdered sugar and chocolate syrup, the Twinkie’s warm cream center was sweet enough to fulfill any sugary craving.
For round two, I tried the monkey bread crepe, which was a mix of cinnamon, sugar and whipped cream. Other crepe choices on the menu incorporated s’mores, peanut butter and jelly or strawberry banana.
The minute the monkey bread crepe reached my tongue, I was reminded of the millions of bowls of cinnamon toast crunch cereal I consumed throughout my childhood years.
The crepe itself was not too thin, allowing it to hold the perfect amount of toppings. I also enjoyed that the combination of cinnamon and sugar was not too overpowering.
The one item on the menu the staff collectively said was one of their most popular was the deep-fried Oreos with bananas. In the past, I’ve found fried Oreos to be extremely sweet and at times nauseating.
But DJ’s managed to prove me completely wrong. The ratio of banana to Oreo created a taste that was sweet but subdued as well. Combining these two balanced out the high sweetness level of the Oreos. I can now say my love for deep-fried Oreos has been revived.
Emily Dalton, a Mason Gross senior, expressed her thoughts about the deep fried Oreos.
“I love fried Oreos in general, to be able to get them here is great,” she said.
As an avid caffeine lover, I was delighted to see the menu offered different types of coffee choices from regular coffee to vanilla lattes and espressos.
After trying caramel macchiatos at many different businesses, DJ’s now ranks as my favorite. Often times, caramel macchiatos are either overwhelmingly strong in coffee taste or give you the feeling that you’re drinking caramel syrup.
DJ’s caramel macchiato has a great caramel to coffee ratio, which makes for a refreshing pick-me-up, whether you’re starting a long day of classes in the morning or staying up late at night studying.
Owners Dennis Smith and his wife Joy Smith explained opening up DJ’s was a dream they’ve had for a long time. They tried to incorporate different fairground and boardwalk-type ideas and foods into a single business.
Although they had other options for location, they felt that the influx of college students in New Brunswick and the Rutgers community as a whole made it the perfect place to start a business.
In a busy and crowded college town such as New Brunswick, popular cafes tend to leave no room for calm and quiet spots to unwind. DJ’s Dessert Shop brings students together at a conveniently close location.
“We just want it to be a cool, hip place for people to come grab a bite to eat, have a cup of coffee, if they want to relax and study a little bit,” Dennis Smith said. “Really just a nice, relaxed college atmosphere.”