December 12, 2019
When did Diesel & Duke open?
Our first location opened in New Brunswick June 2014, but our Jersey City location opened August 2018.
What’s the “Diesel & Duke” story?
I was doing real estate in the city when I was approached by one of my high school friends who wanted to open a restaurant and needed some funding. We found a small hotdog shack near Rutgers, bought it and gutted out. Five years later, we have four locations with a fifth set to open in two months and were recently funded to open fifteen more in the next two years.
Did the minds behind Diesel & Duke have any background in the industry?
David Cusumano grew up in the food business and has helped open and manage several restaurants. I had been doing real estate in the city. I quit my job and just dove in with no experience.
What is a typical day at Diesel & Duke?
A typical day these days is a lot different. We don’t work in the store so much but instead are focusing on really trying to grow, whether that means being at the new location’s construction site, trying to find new locations or meeting with different vendors.
Describe the atmosphere at Diesel & Duke.
Diesel and Duke has a very laid-back, younger vibe. Even though our customers range in age and profile type, the vibe at Diesel is pretty consistent with Dave’s and my personality. Everything from the music to the tiles and finishes reflects that “cool” vibe. It’s hard to really put into words; it’s something you’d have to really experience in person to understand.
What’s the most popular burger at Diesel & Duke?
The most popular burger at our store is the “Smokeshow”. It’s a bacon cheddar burger with a homemade onion ring, bacon and BBQ sauce.
Ever get a strange request? Tell us!
Haha! We get a lot of strange requests. Someone once brought camel meat to the store and wanted us to cook it.
What is something people don’t know about Diesel & Duke?
Diesel and Duke is named after two pit bulls: one Diesel and the other Duke.
How would you describe being a part of the JC business community?
We love being a part of the JC business community, especially down by where we are located. It definitely has a tight-knit family vibe where everyone knows each other and is friendly.
We knew from the minute we saw the space that we had to have it.
Any big plans for 2020?
Yes! We hope to open five stores by the end of this year.
Any other lesser-known facts about Diesel & Duke you want to share?
It was not an easy road to get here. People see us now and think David and I don’t work that much and that this was just handed to us. We went through a lot during our first two years, including going out of business probably 10-15 times. Also, the day of our Jersey City opening our fryer caught on fire!
389 Monmouth Street Jersey City, NJ 07302