WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. — The Circus Drive-In Restaurant, a New Jersey shore landmark for more than 60 years, is up for sale.
The sale advertisement appeared next to its eye-popping neon sign about a week ago, NJ.com first reported. The restaurant, located at 1861 Route 35 S. in Monmouth County, was listed as a “one of a kind” site by Harold Wien Real Estate.
Circus Drive-In, established in 1954, is a 1.64-acre property and is a “premier retail corridor,” according to the listing.
It’s currently closed and was last open on Sept. 11. The restaurant runs on a seasonal schedule and is open for about five months from April to September.
PIX11 has reached out to Harold Wien Real Estate on the listing.
The announcement has struck a nerve with New Jersey residents, especially along the shore who remember seeing the smiling clown while driving to the beach.
“‘Heartbroken’ doesn’t even begin to describe what I feel. This place is my home. The circus crew is my family,” Samantha Josephine, who says she is the assistant manager of Circus Drive-In, wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“NJ needs to keep these UNIQUE roadside attractions – this is a very special place. I would hate to see it go. Summer nights, good food, great shakes and cute curbside waitresses – perfect end to a summer road trip down the shore,” another person wrote on Facebook.
“Went to the Circus on a date in the Summer of 1966. Married the man in August of 1968. Started taking our kids to the Circus back in the 1970s. Went often over the years, the kids got married, had their own kids and took them to the Circus. If the place closes we’ll all be devastated,” another woman wrote about the 62-year establishment.
Circus Drive-In is a summer staple and serves up diner classics from a turkey club to seafood platters that include jumbo soft shell crab.
If it wasn’t the food, the restaurant’s decor caught drivers’ and diners’ attention. A massive neon sign of a smiling clown welcomed them. The drive-in is designed to look like a circus seen in movies, with a massive red-and-white tent draping over the restaurant.