For a place that was only around for 15 years, it might as well have been 50 for the way people loved it.

The Chatterbox in Sussex County had an iconic feel the way the Circus Drive-In did in Wall. I wrote about this place last year when it was announced the owner was shutting down. A place like that didn't lend itself to take-out only in the middle of the pandemic.

It was a '50s-themed place with a classic car right in the middle of the circular throwback restaurant. Old movie posters were on the walls and a model train chugged overhead on a suspended railroad that kids loved. Thursday nights brought in bikers. It even drew in a celebrity here and there, like when Henry "The Fonz" Winkler would show up.

It all came crashing down, literally, in March of this year. It was demolished and hauled away. As I told you last year, a Wawa was taking its place. That day is here.

At 1 Route 15 in the Augusta section of Frankford Township a groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday morning. The construction of the new Wawa will finally be underway. It's expected the store will open for business in the summer of 2022.

Turns out this is the very first Wawa to ever open in Sussex County. Which makes sense considering how historically Wawa was a South Jersey thing and Sussex is our northernmost county.

“We look forward to opening our first store in Sussex County and can’t wait to connect with new neighbors and have a reunion with friends who are part of the newest and most northern New Jersey communities we serve,” Jason Read, Wawa’s director of store operations, told NJ.com.

Get this. The competition is right across the street. A QuickChek opened just a few days before the Chatterbox closed down. So they had well over a year's headstart. Where the rumbling engines of classic cars and motorcycles used to compete for looks now chain convenience stores will compete for business.

Hey, at least it's not condominiums.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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