Gourmet Dining Goes Beyond the Campus and Into Communities

Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Michael Frungillo, President of Gourmet Dining, to talk about how his food service company has been serving Newark for over 100 years. He also talks about how Gourmet Dining has expanded its reach beyond campus borders and partnered with many local vendors within the regional communities they serve.

2/13/18 #2111






"We're pleased to welcome Michael Frungillo, who is President of Gourmet Dining, with a long history in the City. We're actually taping in Newark, New Jersey. Michael, real quick, Gourmet Dining is? We're a family-owned food service company, food service management on-site, mainly in the four year higher ed marketplace in New Jersey. You've been around for a few years? [laughter] 90 years in Newark, Steve. [laughter] Who started it? By the way, I know the family. It's... I'm not gonna say it's an Italian thing, but there's history? Yeah. Describe who started it and why. So my great great grandparents, when they came over from Italy, had a store on... Was it from the Naples area did they come over? Napoli, yeah. What a guess. [laughter] Avellino. [laughter] Avellino? That's the same province. Okay. But we will not do that show. We'll do that in another one. Go ahead. Yeah so they had come over in the early 1900s with a general store, and then... it's an interesting story, because a brother and a sister married a brother and a sister, so we're very close. Frungillo... brother and sister married a Franelli brother and sister. Got it. And the family just worked together in the store their whole lives. And when my father was younger, when they moved out of Newark, he wanted to come back to Newark. So his way of coming back to Newark was working in my uncle Ronnie's store, which is actually in Belleville but still close by. Belleville, which we often call a suburb of Newark. [laughter] It's not technically a suburb. But the part I'm fascinated by is the connection between you guys at Gourmet Dining and institutions of higher learning. Mmm hm. One is the Seton Hall connection that we know, but the other one is, again, an institution right around the corner from us where we're taping at NJTV, is Rutgers Newark. The dining hall there... it isn't just that you have that service, there's some stuff you're doing there which is important? Seah. So... Is it called Stonsby Hall? Stonsby Hall. We just renovated it. So on the meal plan, the main dining hall is your all-you-can-eat dining hall, and you got to eat there everyday, so we try to make it special everyday by bringing in local vendors, by buying local produce, you know, everything local is very important to us. And we also want to have hundreds of items, as if you could go to any restaurant in the area, you know... At a college? At a college. Yeah. Rotisserie chicken carvery, it's..."