The Wunder Wiener Still Stands Despite the Challenges [VIDEO]
As you’re traveling along Route 9 in Bayville it’s hard to miss. A hotdog hut situated in front of the vast fenced-in. paved acreage of the dilapidated and now vacant Beachwood Mall. The Wunder Wiener has been at that location for over 28 years, making it more like a Jersey Shore icon, feeding generations of primarily locals, Italian hotdogs and sausages, cheese steaks, chili dogs and fries.
Wunder Wiener owner/proprietor Gerry Lacrosse says it was his dream to open the hotdog stand since he was a little boy. He says he was able to maneuver a buy-out package from his former employer AT&T which he used to purchase the hut. He says he was able to locate in front of the Beachwood Mall following a handshake agreement with former owner Jimmy Johnson. Lacrosse says Johnson only wanted to know if the hotdogs were good. So, he cooked him up some.
Jimmy Johnson’s daughter, Priscilla Oughton, who lives in Florida, now owns the property and has been in the hot seat with Berkeley Township over the site’s condition that has only worsened following the super storm. The township also wants to revitalize the area where the mall sits by establishing a “smart” community making it pedestrian friendly with housing, retail and eating establishments within walking distance.
Oughton is allowing Lacrosse to continue operating his business in the same location by only fencing in the mall and leaving a narrow parking area for the Wunder Wiener and its customers. However, Lacrosse says his customer base was reduced by half after the fence was erected. However, while at the site there was a steady stream of loyal customers coming to the hut, many of whom patronized the Wunder Wiener for almost as long as it’s been open.
Lacrosse says he understands the town’s position and the need for the mall to be demolished. He says he’s hoping the owner will allow him to stay at the site while the demolition work is being done but he says there are concerns about liability. “This might be our swan song. I hope it isn’t but it may be.”