Papa Grande Grille offers "grande" portions at affordable prices
A self-proclaimed, “Jersey Mex” restaurant, Papa Grande Grille offers a selection of taste bud-stimulating, flavorful food that is matched by no other local restaurant. Owned by Rutgers alumnus Bruce Jones and located on the corner of Central Avenue and Louis Street, Papa Grande Grille brings a whole variety of fresh, Mexican-style food to New Brunswick.
When I walked into the establishment, a waitress kindly greeted me with menus, and I was given the luxury of being able to seat myself wherever I would like. A restaurant with a only a few tables and no booths, it appears as if it can only fit about 20 people inside. A vast amount of Rutgers pride is visible as soon as you walk in — the walls are lined with photographs of different University tables, and there are advertisements for Rutgers events on every table. To add to the "Jersey Mex" feel, the salt and pepper shakers are small Corona bottles to make fun-loving Rutgers students feel at home.
Now down to the oh-so-grande portions served up at Papa Grande Grille. As soon as you sit down, you are handed a complimentary bowl of homemade tortilla chips and salsa. The salsa has a little kick of spiciness and the chips are warm and freshly made. Being at a Mexican-themed restaurant, I could not help myself from ordering “Papa’s Nachos,” which consists of homemade chips, cheese, pico de gallo, olives, guacamole, jalapenos and sour cream. The toppings are chopped and nicely tossed together so you never find yourself eating a chip covered in only one substance, but an excellently diversified, flavorful mixture of the ingredients.
For my entree, I chose the “Fat Mac," a generously sized burrito stuffed with mac and cheese, pulled pork, bacon and onion rings served with seasoned “Jersey Shore french fries.” There is not a chance any person could leave hungry after eating this burrito because when they label it "fat," they mean it. The cheese has a variety of spices giving the burrito a strong aroma when you cut it open, and an utterly satisfying taste once you bite into it. The macaroni makes the burrito extremely filling, and the crunchiness of the bacon and onions rings left me satisfied after eating this monster of a burrito.
As a college student, cost is important when it comes to choosing meals. At Papa Grande, it is important to them as well. Having only two menu items priced more than $10, getting your money's worth is a non-issue when it comes to the ridiculously large portion sizes. In addition, a series of coupons, one for each day of the week, is attached to the menu given to you when you walk in the door. Jones's own experience as a former Rutgers student seemed to have made him conscious of the cost effectiveness of his food.
Overall, Papa Grande Grille is wildly diverse, affordable and a quick place to stop by for lunch, dinner or any time during their hours of operation, which seem to vary quite progressively with the demand of the business. They are open at 11 a.m. until late on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as from noon until late on Saturdays, and open until 11 p.m. every other night of the week. Papa Grande Grille is supportive of the Rutgers community and is quite welcoming to the student body. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking to enjoy a cheap, timely and Rutgers-friendly dining experience.