From Hansel to Taco Bell: Students share their declassified guide to post-midnight food at Rutgers
Restaurants adjacent to the College Avenue campus on Easton Avenue have become the most popular places for Rutgers students to satisfy their hunger past midnight.
Suharsh Mandhare, a Rutgers Business School senior, said he and his friends prefer the late-night food on Easton to takeout from the Rutgers dining halls.
“Since I have a car, sometimes we will just go to Taco Bell right down on Easton Avenue to pick up some food for everyone and have that,” he said.
Nirvanis is a good place to eat, and there are also tasty options for wings on Easton, Mandhare said.
He said late-night food choices can also depend on alcohol consumption.
“Sometimes I have classes late and sometimes I am just busy and I don’t have time to get food before the dining hall closes,” said Tanvi Mankame, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student.
Places on the College Avenue campus and on Easton Avenue are the most popular for food after hours, she said.
“Rutgers community needs a late night place. There is only one Indian place here and they love the food so why not stay open late. I have been doing that for nine years,” said Niraj Jivani, owner of Nirvanis Indian Kitchen located on Easton Avenue.
Students study at night. They get hungry. There are a number of hospital members working at different hospitals late at night who want food. When people drink, they need a place to sober up and opening late at night serves that purpose, he said.
A lot of students who live on other campuses like Busch, Livingston and Cook/Douglass do not have easy access to the College Avenue restaurants late at night, Jivani said. They have difficulty getting delivery services.
“The biggest request is delivery at night. A lot of people cannot make it out here. We have our local patrons that go to the bars on Easton Avenue, George Street and students from College Avenue who can walk over. But the dorms are far. You need delivery,” he said.
Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., restaurants can receive hundreds of customers and lines out the door, Jivani said.
Staying open late is a good way to lure in customers coming from the bars, said Lakovos Hatzidimitriou, a shift manager at Hansel ‘n Griddle on Easton Avenue.
“All the bars in New Brunswick are open 'till 2 a.m., which means that the period between 2 and 3 a.m., people are leaving the bars, giving them some place to go and get food,” he said.
Hansel ‘n Griddle sometimes stays open even later than 3 a.m., Hatzidimitriou said.
Students work late, study late and stay up later than they would normally at home, he said. It affords students the flexibility to be able to order pretty much anytime.
The restaurants can get fairly crowded late at night, but it depends on the day. Weekends are busier than weekdays, Hatzidimitriou said.
Some of the busiest hours are between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., dinner between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. and the bar rush, which is anywhere between 1:30 a.m. and 3 a.m., he said.
Restaurants are incentivized to stay open late for profits, he said. Staying open late helps to capitalize on the market and the location they are in, said Nick Santaniello, a cook at Wings Over Rutgers on Easton Avenue.
“We are open till 3 o’clock on Fridays and Saturdays because people go out on those nights obviously. People can order in-store, people can pick up or have it delivered to them. They can order online, use Grubhub, or call in by phone and order,” he said. “We have a whole system set up for that.”
Anushtha Mittal is a first-year student in the Rutgers Business School. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.