An Interview with Fritz’s: New Brunswick’s new restaurant of choice

Video by: Kinjal Patel

Written by: Samantha Guzman

With its ever-growing number of restaurants and eateries, its variety and prime

location, Easton Avenue is becoming a new dining hub in New Brunswick.

Easton Avenue — a few blocks away from both College Avenue and George

Street — has been home to several well-known and long-running establishments, like PJ’s

Grill and Pizza and Stuff Yer Face. Recently, though, there has been a surge in dining

development with approximately five new restaurants opening in the past year, and more

to come, spanning various cuisines.

Among these new businesses is Fritz’s. Owned by Robin Varga and Jonathon

Guarino, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as baked goods. They

pride themselves, as Guarino says, on serving fresh food made completely from scratch.

Both Varga and Guarino are long-time residents of the area, owning and residing

in the century-old renovated house from where they operate the restaurant. But more than

familiarity went into choosing the location for Fritz’s.

“If you look at the demographics of New Brunswick, you have Rutgers, all of the

different businesses in town, Johnson & Johnson, Robert Wood [Hospital], county

[offices], so there is a large population and it’s a good area in Middlesex County to open

a business,” Guarino said.

Although Guarino said a large part of their customer base is made up of Rutgers

students, he also says Fritz’s has a large lunch business with local offices.

Just across the street from Fritz’s is another new business to the area– Cookies N’

Crepes, an eatery specializing in what it describes as a fusion of traditional desserts with

a few fresh takes.

Like Fritz’s, Cookies N’ Crepes also benefits from its proximity to the university

as well as the innumerable businesses and locals in the area. General manager Abdullah

Ahmed says “[Cookies N’ Crepes] is for everybody,” said general manager Abdullah

Ahmed, “We don’t want to leave out this demographic, or that demographic. It’s for

anybody with a sweet tooth!”

Many of these restaurants cater to the highly diverse community that makes up

the city, with many serving cuisines from around the world. There is also a mixture of

family-friendly restaurants and sites for more mature patrons, such as the Barça City Café

& Bar. While this is the case, a lot of the customers on Easton Avenue are college

students.

One of those customers is Rutgers University junior Amanda Lee. “I eat on

Easton since I don’t have a meal plan and don’t always feel like cooking.” Lee said, “It’s

great because it has plenty of options, but also it’s usually pretty affordable, so I don’t

feel the need to go out of my way to George Street.”

The variety provided by Easton Avenue restaurants, as well as this idea of

including food from many of the demographics that make up the community of New

Brunswick lends to the success of the area, and helps to foster these new dining spots.

“Easton Avenue is a little farther out of my way, but it’s my first choice when I

want to go out with friends, or just try something new,” said Jon Cardona, a resident of

the Douglass neighborhood in New Brunswick. “The restaurants on George Street are

definitely closer for me, but the selection there is pretty limited. It’s a lot of high-end

places or a lot of chain restaurants, with not much in between,” Cardona said.

Cardona also agrees with Lee’s point on affordability. “Me and my girlfriend

have to pay rent, bills, and buy other things like groceries and clothes, so we can’t burn

money on a restaurant or take-out when we don’t feel like cooking. There are so many

different places around Easton that it’s not hard to find good food that won’t kill our

budget,” he said.

Long-time resident Mark Taylor says that the recent growth and revitalization of

business in the area plays a large part in the atmosphere and success on Easton Avenue.

“There’s more business now than a few years ago. A lot of places are a lot safer because

of that [development],” Easton Avenue being one of them, he states.

 

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