“I’ll have a baby boli combo, Corbett boli, with a salad and Italian on the side”.
This order is usually followed by a groan from whoever I happen to be eating with at the time. Yes, I place the same order every time I go to Stuff Yer Face in New Brunswick, NJ. The corbett boli, similar to a stromboli, is full of broccoli and mozzarella cheese, with a touch of honey mustard sauce. The baby boli combo is a small boli with a side salad. In other words, complete nirvana. Delicious, warm, melt-in-your mouth heaven in a basket. And it’s always served with a side of nostalgia.
Biting into my corbett boli immediately takes me back to college. I began eating at Stuff Yer Face during my freshman year, when going out to eat meant it had to be a special occasion. College students never have a lot of spare change, so going out to eat it a rare event. Stuff Yer Face isn’t a fancy, hoity-toity restaurant. It’s a college bar, a family restaurant, and the first place celebrity chef Mario Batali worked! My girlfriends and I, known amongst ourselves as the Douglass girls, ate at the eatery sporadically during school, as we rarely had money. When we did have money, we usually ended up splitting a plate of potachos (“like nachos, made out of potatoes!” as my friends say). We would count out our singles, probably driving the servers nuts. But it was always a great night out.
As we began to lead separate lives due to graduations, new jobs, and new families, we started meeting up at Stuff Yer Face a few times each year. It’s centrally located in NJ, a 45 minute drive for most of us. More importantly, it has a million memories inside the wood-paneled walls. It’s where I celebrated my 21st birthday, where Erin and I “rushed” a sorority, where we talked through relationships and eventual weddings. It’s where bachelorette parties started and ended. Where the Rutgers bowl games were watched. Where homecomings were celebrated. It’s where we are always comfortable- the food and conversation flowing like wine. It’s home.
It’s funny how a restaurant can be so much to one group of people, and so little to another. Stuff Yer Face will always be my special eatery. Not because of its food or stellar service, but because of the memories that lie within the crowded rooms and the scratched and dented tables.
*Ironically, Stuff Yer Face is located 3 doors down from Stacey’s memorable eatery,Thomas Sweets! Thomas Sweets is another special place for me, and I am now craving a Thomas Sweet’s milkshake.