Wunder Wiener coming back soon? Landmark lunch spot moves to reopen
BERKELEY — The owner of the Wunder Wiener hot dog stand will take a huge step toward reopening when he asks the Zoning Board to approve his request to set up at a new location.
Gerry LaCrosse, 76, operated the Wunder Wiener trailer for 34 years until it was destroyed in June 2018 when an SUV slammed into it in the parking lot of a vacant shopping center. The impact pinned LaCrosse under heavy equipment in the trailer.
"I still haven't fully recovered from that accident. I only have about 55 to 60% use of the right arm. That's never going to change. I had to have the shoulder replaced two times and there's not much they can do now," LaCrosse told New Jersey 101.5.
The new location would be an empty lot a half mile away the southbound side of Route 9 near Blackbeard's Cave. A variance is required as the plot is not currently zoned for a mobile food service.
LaCrosse, who is a member of the Beachwood Borough Council, hopes to build a bigger, longer version of the original stand to accommodate some additional refrigeration. He also hopes to include an open-air seating area.
"It was really tiny. I didn't realize how small it was until I saw the pictures after the accident," LaCrosse said, adding with a laugh it will be a lot farther back from the road.
LaCrosse hopes to tap into some of the goodwill extended by many after the crash to help him out with the planning of the rebuild, which he hopes will be completed by March or April.
He also hopes that gathering limits currently in place because of the pandemic are loosened up by the time he's back in business.
"I have a feeling the first couple of days and first couple of weeks are going to be pretty busy," LaCrosse said.
The menu will continue to have regular and Italian-style hot dogs, steak sandwiches and sausage sandwiches but the added refrigeration presents an opportunity for more items.
"How about a burger? A good hamburger? Not something with air in between the bread," LaCrosse said.
His wife and daughter will also help out again although his daughter will be in on weekends as she has a full-time job as a math teacher.