Fat Zeus Welcomed Into T-Bird Nation, Permanently

Published: August 23, 2017 | Read Time: 3 minutes

fat zeus company logo chartwellsA ‘brick and mortar’ location was always James Duffy’s dream for his Greek food truck. On Monday, August 21, that dream became a reality as Fat Zeus opened a permanent location on campus in the food court at Southern Utah University.

In an effort to bring local food vendors to campus in July 2016, at the request of President Wyatt, the Chartwells at Southern Utah University management team began scouring the Southern Utah region, looking for vendors who might be interested in a location within the university. Rent free with built-in equipment and plenty of space to use, emails and phone calls were made to local businesses and food trucks alike. Fat Zeus, owned by Cedar City residents James and Sarah Duffy, received an email and jumped at the chance. “My wife is an SUU alumni, and we’re friends with a lot of professors and staff who have frequented our food truck,” says Duffy. “It was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”

In an attempt to gauge what the reaction would be to Greek food on campus, Chartwells marketing manager Natasha Green pushed a free sample day to the campus. “We hold focus groups every spring about our food service, and one of the most requested items is more ethnic food,” says Green. “Fat Zeus took over one of our food court spaces, and in two hours all of the food they brought and prepped was gone. The feedback about Fat Zeus was overwhelming. SUU fell in love with Greek food.”

student eating fat zeusBut getting Fat Zeus into a space in the Sharwan Smith Student Center didn’t come without bumps and hiccups. “The contract writing process took longer than expected,” says Anthony Lazenby, Chartwells Director of Dining. “By the time we were able to get them into a space, it was already the end of February, well into the spring semester.” That didn’t stop Duffy from pushing full steam ahead, as he took over the T-Bird Grill space on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “We wanted to give T-Bird Nation a glimpse into what was coming in the fall.."

With a plan to take over the corner location in the food court strip of the Sharwan Smith Student Center, Lazenby, Duffy, and the Chartwells team worked closely with SUU Facilities to install a hood ventilation system. “Unfortunately, due to lack of power for the large, necessary equipment, a hood was out of the question,” Lazenby says. “We weren’t going to say ‘Oh bye, see you later!’ to Fat Zeus, so we did some finagling.” Chartwells decided to remove T-Bird Grill, an outdated burger concept, and gave Fat Zeus a prime, front and center location. “To compromise with the removal T-Bird Grill, I added some burgers and vegan/vegetarian options to our menu,” says Duffy. “We’re hoping that helps with the foot traffic to our location from people who are more ‘habitual’ eaters.’” Fans of the popular T-Bird Grill breakfast menu can rejoice too, as breakfast will remain at that location.

Fat Zeus will be open Monday through Friday11:00 am – 8:00 pm. in the Sharwan Smith Student Center. Community members are invited to enjoy Fat Zeus’ Greek food at any time, and can enjoy free parking after 4 pm. “It’s nice watching Duffy’s dream become a reality,” says his wife, Sarah. “It’s the beginning of a new adventure.”

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