Iconic Shore restaurant with decades of tradition up for sale
TOMS RIVER — If the owner of an iconic restaurant up for sale has his way, you'll still be able to get its signature dish even after ownership changes hands.
Stuart Wolf, the owner of Wolfie's Restaurant on the eastbound side of Route 37 in Toms River announced via the restaurant's Facebook page that after 50 years he's getting out of the business.
"It's time for me to retire. This is a very hard business to work in. I do it seven days a week, I start at four o'clock in the morning and it's just enough. When I was 20 years old it was no big deal. It's a big deal when you're older, " Wolf, 60, told New Jersey 101.5.
Wolf's daughter Jennifer said her grandparents opened the restaurant in 1968, and her father has always worked there. He took over when his parents passed away.
"He likes being involved with every aspect of the restaurant. He'll be cooking, doing catering, he takes care of all the books and records, does all the inventory, he basically does everything," Jennifer said.
Stuart Wolf said his sister is a co-owner and is on board with the sale. She retired from working at the restaurant last year.
He said one of the biggest changes he's seen is the increase in corporate restaurants, which he said makes it hard for independent restaurants to keep up. Earlier this year a Popeye's Chicken opened next door to him and a 24-hour Wawa store that offers a full menu opened within the past five years.
Corned beef and pastrami sandwiches is Wolfie's most well known dish, and If Wolf has his way the new owner will continue the tradition. "That's what we've done for the last 50 years. We've done it well, I think, for the past 50 years," he said.
Along with the traditional deli sandwich that can be enjoyed any day of the week, St. Patrick's Day is not complete for many on the Shore without a visit to Wolfie's.
"It's absolutely amazing. I've never seen anything like it. Because we're one of the few in Ocean County that serves corned beef on St. Patrick's Day the line sometimes goes around the corner," Stuart Wolf said. "It's amazing how much business we do. Although it's hard work it's truly gratifying to see people enjoying what I do."
Jennifer said that her dad will probably miss going to work everyday.
"Being in the restaurant is something he truly loved. It was his passion. He likes running the restaurant and being part of the community every single day," she said.
Wolf said there is no self-imposed deadline to sell, and he is reluctant to just shut the doors while waiting for a buyer. "My last name is what's there," he said.