Father/son alum duo open burger joint with knowledge from SHU

Phil and Paul Sannitti have Seton Hall running through their veins. Both graduated from here and fervently support the school. This past December, the father and son opened Burgers Grilled Right, nicknamed BGR, which keeps both Seton Hall students and meat lovers in mind. The restaurant is located on South Orange Ave, just blocks away from campus.

The Sannitti’s, from Long Valley, N.J., started at Friendly’s. Phil, father and Class of 1973 who graduated with a biology degree, began by owning a Carvel, a nightclub and then became the Regional Director at Friendly’s.

Paul (pictured) and his father Phil opened their restaurant using business techniques they learned at SHU. Photo courtesy of Paul Sannitti.

Paul, Phil’s son and Class of 2013 who graduated with a business management degree and certificate in entrepreneurship studies, worked his way up from dishwasher to assistant manager of Friendly’s in Hacketstown.

Paul attended every Seton Hall basketball game with his father growing up, he said.

“I’ve always loved the South Orange Village, especially for entertainment,” Phil said. “Our location is the perfect spot to service the SHU community and population.”

SHU helped with connections for career goals, as well as integrating with the people and town of South Orange, Paul said. When Paul first started the business, he turned to the former dean of the Stillman School of Business and current interim provost, Karen Boroff, for advice, he said.

“It inspires me that Seton Hall alumni opened this franchise,” said Courtney Achille, senior finance and marketing major. “Seton Hall provides you with so many opportunities to find a job or start your own business. For example in my market research course, we have several businesses from the South Orange area that come into class and give students the opportunity for hands on experience.”

Paul’s goal is to be the overseer of every BGR in North Jersey, and is in the process of opening a new BGR in Bloomfield, he said.

The biggest challenge the Sannittis faced was molding their restaurant from the former café bakery to the new scenery BGR brought with their open kitchen concept, Paul said. They wanted to open last September, but complications resulted to the opening in December.

Paul said it is hard to start something from scratch, but it is important to learn to go with the flow because your goal may have to be adjusted in the end.

“Be prepared for anything and keep an open mind,” Paul said. “Things will go wrong and you just have to roll with it and make it the best you can.”

Christina Vitale can be reached at christina.mcdonaldvitale@student.shu.edu.

Author: Christina McDonald-Vitale

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