Crews began razing a decades-old Jersey Shore drive-in restaurant and landmark Wednesday.
Beginning in 1954, patrons dined in cars window-side or under a big tent during the warmer months at the legendary Circus Drive-In on Route 35 in Monmouth County’s Wall Township.
It hit the real estate market in early 2017. When news spread of its potential demise, a petition to save the restaurant began circulating, and thousands of impassioned supporters signed on. Another petition sought an historic designation for the site. But the property was ultimately sold for $1.75 million in September.
At the time, News 12 reported that the iconic clown sign along the highway would likely remain. Before the property was sold, it was marketed as “one of a kind” within a “premier retail corridor,” but a current real estate listing is marketing the site for retail uses.
The establishment was known for its classic American fare and in particular, a soft shell crab sandwich. Naturally family friendly, the Circus theme menu contained such dishes as the Lion Tamer, Daredevil, and the Cannonball. The business also hosted classic car nights.
“The BEST lunch/dinner at the Circus! Soft shell crab sandwich, onions rings and a large vanilla coke,” Joan Suhl wrote on Jersey Shore Hurricane News’ Facebook page in January 2017. “Can’t imagine driving down Route 35 and not seeing that happy clown face, not to mention all my awesome memories since 1963.”
— Tony Caputo (@TonyCaputo) May 9, 2018
— Thomas P. Costello (@ThomasPCostello) May 9, 2018