BELMAR – What is a trip to Belmar without a slice from Don's Pizza King?

Sadly, we are about to find out.

The worker shortage that has plagued business across New Jersey hit Don's hard, and left the restaurant's elderly owner beaten.

Don Iglay opened Pizza King in 1967. Decorated with an homage to Elvis, it has been one of the places in Belmar to grab a slice and sit and chat for generations. From pizza to homemade Italian classics, it was a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

Iglay's son posted on Facebook that his dad "probably would have stayed open if he had staff." At 80, the "king" was cooking, cleaning and waiting tables with "no staff, all summer long," Russ Iglay wrote of his dad's struggles.

My great grandparents, grandparents, parents, myself and my children were all patrons!! One of my favorite places. A true Belmar/Jersey Shore staple. End of an era. - Ta Ra/Facebook

When the news was first posted on Facebook, patrons were shocked and saddened.

While Pizza King is closed, the younger Iglay did hold open the possibility they could reopen in the future if the worker shortage ends. "At a minimum the king needs a break,” he said.

New Jersey's tourism and hospitality industry was hit particularly hard by the ongoing worker shortage. Many went into what they hoped would be a resurgent summer of '21 with permission to resume full operations, but not the ability, due to a lack of employees.

Many blamed the shortage on enhanced unemployment benefits and the $300 weekly federal supplemental benefit.

That benefit ended Sept. 4, but it is too early to tell if it will force more people back into the workforce.

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