Classic Signals: The origins of Fat Shack

By Elise Schoening
Features Editor

Every week, Features Editor Elise Schoening hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

The beloved Fat Shack returned to the College last week. The sandwich shop strives to satisfy those late-night food cravings with indulgent sandwiches unlike any other. Possible sandwich toppings include cheese steak, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, bacon and even french fries. Fat Shack is a must-try for all students of the College, especially because it was started by one our very own alumni back in 2009.

After graduating last spring, alumnus Tom Armenti realized that, unlike other schools, there was nowhere for College students to find food past 1:30 a.m.

Armenti acknowledged that an ideal business opportunity existed near campus and decided to bring the College its own grease-filled, late-night luxury, the Fat Shack.

“A bunch of huge companies come to big schools like Penn State University, Rutgers with Grease Trucks,” he said. “No one pays attention to small schools like (the College), Ramapo College, Rider University. But everyone here still likes to go out at night and party too.”

Nestled inside RJ’s Bagel Shop on Parkway Avenue, the Fat Shack delivers sandwiches from 6 p.m. until 4 a.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays to students at the College and its neighbor Rider University.

To weaker stomachs the Fat Shack’s french fry filled phenomena are too much, but the College’s hungry students have been devouring the delectable delivers.

“I think they’re an awesome late night snack,” Ben Swan, junior management major, said.

The Fat Shack began its endeavor by creating a page on Facebook, and within a few days the online group acquired more than 1,000 members.

Although it has only been open since Feb. 2, Armenti said, “Business started off really crazy. I was trying to open slowly so I could train people who hadn’t worked for me before, but I guess I underestimated Facebook. We had about 100 orders the first night. It was wild.”

Armenti decided to open the Fat Shack at the College after successfully opening a similar store in Ramsey, NJ two summers ago.

With the help of a few friends, he had opened CARS, another eatery, near Ramapo College, and said, “We were pretty much just trying to think of ways to not have jobs when we graduated, so we decided to open our own business.”

But what exactly is a fat sandwich? When asked how he would define one, Armenti laughed, and at first said he did not know how to answer that question.

“It’s just everything. All the foods everyone likes on one large piece of bread,” Armenti said.