Farewell $2 chips (and ENGO Grill)

What happened to ENGO Grill and why did Love BUDS Grill replace it?

Dear ENGO Grill,

It’s been hard without you. I don’t remember the last thing I had from you amidst the trauma of uni shutting down, but I’m sure it was excellent (as always). The last time we met I was still an engineering student, a PNR diehard, and ENGO Grill regular.

After changing degrees I had very little reason to venture south of City Rd – I caught buses to uni, you see. And yet, I’d find myself walking across that bridge in the hopes you’d be open. Time and time again, I convinced myself it’d be just another week. We needed more students on campus; more foot traffic.

If you were selling chips and tater tots for $2 (or $1.70 in the old Access days) you would need to sell a shit tonne to break even. Perhaps that’s where I contributed to your downfall; I never bought the katsu burger or the fish and chips. Heck, I didn’t even pay the $6(?) for large chips. It was the cheapest meal in this God-forsaken city that kept me coming back. But now you’re gone.

I miss you. And now I’ll never get the chance to tell you how much you meant to me. 

Yours forever and always,

Sam Randle.

***

I needed to know what happened to my favourite campus food venue and whether $2 chips would ever make a return.

It may come as no surprise, but ENGO was a victim of COVID-19 campus closures. But according to University of Sydney Union (USU) President Prudence Wilkins-Wheat, its closure may also be due to a “lack of visitation to the PNR learning hub” and “increased popularity of the Business School café and more modern learning areas.” The death knell sounded in March 2020, but because the USU-managed outlet merely changed its name (and menu), there was no contract to terminate.

Wilkins-Wheat told Honi me that “the USU held various discussions with SUEUA members and other staff and students within the Engineering faculty” before undertaking the rebrand.

From the ashes of ENGO Grill emerged Love BUDS Grill. BUDS is a plant-based meat company spun from research at the University of Sydney. According to Wilkins-Wheat, the move to a plant-based outlet was informed by “feedback received as part of the Sydney Uni Sustainability Strategy”.

But what of $2 chips? Chips are plant-based! Tragically, they were a casualty of the rebrand. For those seeking affordable food, the Food Truck still offers $6 meals to Rewards members and there’s a Cheap Eats program via the USU app. On the right day chips are only $3 but I miss the dependability of ENGO Grill. BUDS’ parent company ALL G Foods will be donating “large volumes of stock… to provide free and affordable meals to USU members”.

I guess the infamously vocal engineers will make it known if the trade-off was worth it.