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White Rose System - Highland Park

I've lived in this area pretty much all my life and have driven by the White Rose System in Highland Park about a bazillian times, but haven't tried it till today. I always hate it when I do this.

Overall, really good greasy lunch place. (I know all of us on this board don't always enjoy the finer simpler cuisines, but hey what can I say?).

I got the cali-bacon cheeseburger and a side of cheese fries.

The burger is sort of like an over sized white castle, but with better bread. Covered in a layer on steamed onions. There were like 4 or 5 thick, nicely crisp slices of bacon on my burger. Plenty of it, and it was tasty. I can say that the lettuce and tomato kind of overpowered the burger, so next time, I'm going to try a double bacon cheeseburger.. leave the healthy stuff off :-P

Apparently, this has been a local favorite and an RU hangout since like forever. I think this will become a regular lunch stop every other week or so. (Can't have too much grease, I'm round enough as it is!)

The only complaint I could squeeze out was that they only have soda in cans, so I had to get a second one, but it's only a buck a can, so it's no big deal.

White Rose System
154 Woodbridge Ave, Highland Park, NJ 08904

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  1. Hey, better late than never, right. I f**kin' love that grimey little joint. I've been devouring their cheeseburgers for 30 some years. Hell, it's my favorite place on the far side of the Driscoll and one of the only reasons I will voluntarily cross it. I'm not sure if I want to bless or curse you for making me think about the greasy burger lover's Valhalla.

    1. My first visit here circa 1976 and I still stop in whenever I'm in the area for breakfast. I just love their hash browns and the styrofoam coffee cups. Sorta reminds me of the White Towers in Pittsburgh and of course the White Castles in Jersey. If you see White in the name just go, always retro, always yummy, always a hole in the wall :D)

      4 Replies
      1. re: JerzeyShore

        Went by again today for lunch.. and yup.. its still awesome.

        Bacon Cheeseburger greatness, with fries covered in that neon yellow mecca of gooey fake-cheesy goodness..

        I wonder if it's BYOB?

        1. re: coldsolderjoint

          Although I've never thought of bringing drinks inside, I have sat in the car eating burgers and drinking beer from a styrofoam cup. You know, like a Highland Park cop.

          1. re: MGZ

            OMG! That place is still standing??? wow! I remeber going as a kid

          2. re: coldsolderjoint

            BYOB to White Rose would be funny...I think I can count on one hand the numbers of times I was actually sober while eating there.

        2. LOL...my husband discovered White Rose System in 1982 when he was a student at Rutgers. It was his go to place after a late night of studying. The best part of his 1.25 hour commute now is that it takes him past the White Rose System again. He stops in at least once a month.

          White Rose System
          154 Woodbridge Ave, Highland Park, NJ 08904

          3 Replies
          1. re: GrOlive

            Ah ... the System. Too many childhood memories of caliburgers and pork roll and cheese. I truly miss that place. I grew up on the System, Tastee Subs and Mary's Pizza. :)

            1. re: bgut1

              I hear ya bgut1 tastee subs & zia lisa pizza ... ha those were the days

          2. oh man, love the white rose. It is legit fast food, they turn those burgers and fries out really, really quick! I am a fan of the cheese fries and I secretly love it when it gets cold and that bag of fries turns into a brick and I just rip the part apart and like carve into it.

            Only critisim i have is a thicker patty but I still love it overall.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jester99

              Ahh the System!! I lived a block away while going to MCC,the system ,tasty subs ,Marys pizza we lived on that stuff.I use to date one of the girls form there,,,she would come over smelling like a cheeseburger after work.Really good breakfast sandwich too

            2. Another thumbs up for THE SYSTEM! A few too many late nights, but great memories.
              HOO RAH! :-)

              1. I went there when I worked in Woodbridge over a decade ago, since I moved I have asked a few people, mostly Rutgers kids and not gotten a reply. Love the white rose, completely a jersey thing. We had a mechanic that was a little slow and he went there every day to get breakfast, one day they asked him what his name was and he thought the asked what he wanted so he said "buttered roll". He was and maybe still is known as Buttered Roll...

                1. All I can say is this is where drunk fourteen year olds went to pass out in the bathroom in 1979 or so. The food was terrible/wonderful, the coffee was strong, and they wouldn't call your mom.

                  1. Had to go to a meeting in New Brunswick today. They are opening a smaller place on Easton ave. in the area of hole in the wall bagels by rwj. The fat kid in me got excited. But my guess would be that unless u are on foot, or in the area for a meeting or something, it would probably be worth the trip 5 minute away to highland park for the free parking

                    20 Replies
                    1. re: coldsolderjoint

                      So, coldsolder, since you chose to revive this thread and make me yearn for a White Rose burger while I'm eating some leftover chicken for breakfast, I'm gonna punish you guys with a story. . . .

                      I am a third generation denizen of Monmouth County's most Southeastern Point. I love this stupid town 'cause somehow it's become a part of all of us. My Dad's the same way, but at some point at the end of the 70s, he decided that he didn't wan't to commute to Edison anymore and moved us up there. Understandable, clearly.

                      So, I played football for the Falcons, learned a bit about Jersey Girls, and built a BMX track on the rather large plot of land that backed our house. Life didn't suck. I had friends. Something inside all of us, however, was missin'.

                      Needless to say, Dad decided that the drive from 98 to 127 was worth the smell of the Atlantic in the morning. We moved back to the 08736.

                      Edison didn't really suck. I had a lotta fun. The most important things I took away from my experience there were: (a) Tastee Subs, (b) White Rose cheeseburgers, and (c) How to unhook a bra with one hand.

                      Now, Dad didn't know much about the last one, but, sometimes he would come home late from wearin' the badge in MIddlesex County with a coupla WR burgers. Kinda his way of makin' up to me for cookin' dinner for my brother. At this point I'm a sixteen - seventeen year old and still playin' football. There was no quantity of food that could repel me.

                      Well, the old man would place the sack on the pillow next to me. They wouldn't even be warm, and sometimes I'd have 'em for breakfast. Sometimes, the bag was empty when I woke up in the morning, but there were ketchup stains on the pillow.

                      Oh, and by the way, although you endured my narrative, you still owe me gas money. . . . .

                      1. re: MGZ

                        Hahaha.. i work in Piscataway.. the temptation is sooo great

                        1. re: coldsolderjoint

                          Well, I'm on my way to Happy Hour and dinner with Dad. I'm gonna lift a glass to you (and lightheartedly curse you under my breath). Please, do me a favor and get a burger tomorrow for lunch in my honor. I'll owe you one!

                          1. re: MGZ

                            My friend had linked me to a different article, and this one caught my eye:


                            1. re: coldsolderjoint

                              Cool. I always understood that the guys who originally opened the place were ex-cons from South Carolina. The story had it that one of 'em was from NJ and they came up after getting released and glommed off the White Manna thing.

                              I'm sure it's likely apocryphal. My Dad wore a badge in Middlesex County and I met a lot of his buddies who did too. When I got older and questioned the story, I figured it was just a way for the HP, Edison, and New Brunswick cops to have an excuse to hang out there - "We gotta keep and eye on these sonsabitches".

                              Yeah, "You want extra cheese on that officer?"

                              1. re: MGZ

                                I heard the rumor that the owner would give jobs reformed prisoners out of Rahway. Hence the "System" in the name.

                      2. re: coldsolderjoint

                        I drove by the new "System" on Easton Ave in New Brunfuss today...the paper is off the windows, and they look very close to opening.

                        I visited the original "System" some years ago after a long hiatus. Still a good burger and a great value...the only thing missing was the great Kaiser rolls they used to serve the burgers on during my college years. The rolls they now use are still better than the bog standard white bread hamburger rolls, but denser than the classic Kaisers that have sadly become an almost extinct species. I'll try the new place as soon as I see they're open o see if they capture the magic.

                        Looks like there's also a "25 Burgers" opening a few hundred yards down the road by the train station, on the corner across the street from the new bar-b-q place.

                        1. re: The Professor

                          Prof, you ever wanna learn how to paddle out and stand up. just bring me two from Highland Park, OK? I'll even make sure that there are a handful of pretty girls in bikinis waviin' tp you. But, I must warn you, if they don't have extra chese and onions. I'm only bringin' the C list ladies.

                            1. re: coldsolderjoint

                              They have bacon? How did no one ever tell me that? In a few hours, my Dad is gonna have to choose between the drive to HP for a bag of burgers or getin' his ass kicked for not tellin' me about the bacon.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                Yeah Man, they deep fry it by the basketful, its perfect and crispy. Double bacon cheeseburger all the way!

                                1. re: coldsolderjoint

                                  He chose the ass kickin'. It wasn't pretty, but he learned his lesson and is heading to Highland Park around half past eleven today.

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    worth every calorie... used up my White Rose allowance for a few months today...

                                    1. re: coldsolderjoint

                                      Other than Mrs. Z, that's the best lookin' thing I've seen in some time.

                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        You need to get out a little more my friend.

                                      2. re: coldsolderjoint

                                        You were drinking Diet Pepsi, so that offset the calories in the bacon burger and fries, so you're good!

                                        1. re: creamfinger

                                          yeah, im on a diet, so i didn't get cheese fries.

                                          1. re: coldsolderjoint

                                            Sounds reasonable to me. Looks like a diet Pepsi too!

                                            1. re: coldsolderjoint

                                              That's the most American answer I've ever heard. I salute you!

                                  2. re: coldsolderjoint

                                    IMHO, after innumerable meals at this location- none before 3AM- the bacon is the real attraction. A grilled cheese with bacon on rye is sheer heaven. Much better than the burgers. The fries do rule, if you're a fan of the steak fry variant. Cheese fries with crumbled bacon on them is another level of bliss. Bacon. Bacon. So nice I said it twice. :) PS: Great story MGZ. I was introduced to the place by the son of a local cop. An unbroken chain, or so it seems.