Grease trucks continue to thrive at Rutgers
I’m writing in response to Dan Munoz’s Sept. 4 column titled “Nostalgia keeps grease trucks alive.” As the long-time owner of the premier grease truck RU Hungry? and the person responsible for making Rutgers University grease trucks a nationally recognized icon, I would like to weigh in with my opinion. Suggesting that our business continues to operate simply due to “nostalgia” or better yet, an “appeal to tradition” is to suggest we exist simply due to what we were and what we offered 30 years ago.
As Munoz states, in our “heyday” we served a purpose — that same purpose exists today. While we were located on the College Avenue campus at the Scott Hall bus stop, RU Hungry? was open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. We served a full breakfast menu as well as lunch and early dinner. Since the grease trucks’ location was suspended in lieu of the coming University Plaza, the remaining grease trucks have been repositioned in various locations throughout the campuses. After being on Douglass campus, RU Hungry? is now located at 159 College Avenue, just down the street from where we were for so many years. We’re now also open until 2 a.m. Of course, we sold and continue to sell our famous Fat Sandwiches. It’s the item that put the grease trucks on the map and will continue to be sold as long as we remain in business.
Now, that’s not to say this is the only item on our menu. In fact, if you read our current menu, you will be pleasantly surprised to see that we have incorporated many items that are health conscious as well as extremely diversified. Our menu is quite dynamic. We continue to offer fat sandwiches in the same way that McDonald’s will always offer their iconic “Big Mac.” If you were to view McDonald’s menu from 30 years ago and compare it to their menu today, you would see that even though they continue to offer the items that made them famous (you know, the ones with all the fat, calories and cholesterol that made us love them in the first place), they now have significantly more to offer. The trend worldwide is to be a leaner, more health-conscious society. RU Hungry? is aware of this and continues to look for ways to develop our menu items to be as nutritionally beneficial as possible while still being tasty and delicious. We even offer Fat Salads for our customers who wanted to have the experience of a Fat Sandwich’s same great taste yet with significantly less calories. These items have been gaining momentum, but the real draw will continue to be our Fat Sandwiches. The Super Bowl at the Meadowlands even requested our Fat Sandwiches for their pre-game party.
Maybe back in the day you would stumble over to the grease trucks for a midnight offering of 1,200 calories of greasy goodness. Maybe you’d even consider it a weekly mainstay in your diet back then. Today, for most of us who view college days in our rear view mirror, a Fat Sandwich is an occasional indulgence. A single bite pulls us back in time to when life was wondering how we’d do on our midterms and where we’d be spending the weekend. The current student population views us as an RU tradition, a rite of passage. For a lot of us, it’s a step back in time. Then, there are those who’ve seen us many times on the Travel Channel and Food Network and just want to get a taste of what all the rage is about. We’ve had many people tell us they’ve traveled for hours to give us a try simply because our name is out there and our reputation precedes us.
We are thrilled to say our business is doing well, and we’re continuing to provide a terrific product at an affordable price on the College Avenue campus and at home games at High Points Solutions Stadium. We’ve built our business on the Rutgers campus. If you take a look, there are many imitators. Many new businesses have opened nationwide copying our Fat Sandwiches. It’s a big world and a free country, and at least the last time I checked, you can feast wherever you like. RU Hungry? will continue to be open and happy to serve you!
Ayman Elaggar is the owner and president of the “RU Hungry?” grease truck.