By MARK LINDSLEY
Eddie Zammit, 49, is the owner and head chef for Late Night Hackensack Pizza & Steak, which he defines as being a “fresh food factory with a strong kitchen.” Although the restaurant only opened five years ago, Zammit’s food industry journey started a long time ago.
Zammit’s family moved to Hackensack when he was 8, and that same year he opened a lemonade stand in front of their house on Johnson Avenue – only a block away from where his restaurant is now. However, he became interested in acting soon after that and began his pursuit of his newfound dream of becoming an actor.
After graduating from Hackensack High School, Zammit attended Bergen Community College, where he was a theatre major, and then transferred to a college in northern California to study screen acting. Like many who move to California in an attempt to become actors, he was never able to get his big break, so he moved back to New Jersey a few years later.
“I decided that I would turn to my other love, which is making others happy by providing them with good food and enjoyable conversations,” Zammit said.
For more than a decade, he worked as a waiter and/or chef at various eateries and bars throughout Hackensack.
Zammit got his first big break and was able to open a deli on Main Street in Hackensack, which he named the Wrap & Roll.
“I was able to combine my creativity with my culinary skills to create one-of-a-kind wraps that my customers loved,” he said.
Unfortunately, things didn’t work out and he had to close the deli after five years and go back to working in somebody else’s kitchen.
“Having had a taste of my dream, I knew that if I got another chance at it, I wasn’t going to let it slip through my fingers again” Zammit said. “I was working on a late night room service menu while working as a cook in a bar. Then I got red and saw this building for sale right in the heart of where I grew up.”
He then turned his late night concept into a reality and built a menu that has something for everybody, which even includes some of his deli’s best wraps or as he calls them, “The Wrap & Roll Hall of Fame.”
Although the restaurant delivers, Zammit created a fun environment inside for the customers who want to eat there or pick up their food. The walls are lined with old record covers and pictures, there is a TV and a radio that are always on and there are even board games, giant legos and an etch-a- sketch for kids (or adults) who want a side of fun with their meal.
Zammit makes all of the restaurant’s pizzas and comes up with different ideas every day, like a shepherd’s pie pizza or a chicken caesar salad pizza, which results in “the most eclectic combinations of slices that have no schedule.”
They also make mouthwatering steaks, but pizza and steak aside, three of his recommendations are the Lip Smacker wrap, the homemade baked lasagna and the teriyaki wings.
Owning a restaurant that is receiving orders from hospitals, hotels and airports, and being cast as an extra in the independent lm “Clinton Road” earlier this year, Zammit’s success is palpable, but his number one concern right now are his customers’ happiness.
“We’re here for you as a safe place to get a taste of home cooking that you might be missing,” he said.
Late Night Hackensack Pizza & Steak is located at 691 Main St., just a few blocks off – campus on the Hackensack side, and is open Wednesday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. and Sunday from 4 p.m. to midnight.