The locally-owned Windmill hot dog chain, long a staple in Brick Township off Route 70, is considering a return to the township in a new location.
The company has had several hearings scheduled to construct a new pad site in a shopping center relatively close to its historical location at the corner of the routes 70 and 88, which has since been turned into an urgent care facility. The pad site would be located within the shopping center at 905 Route 70, a strip mall sandwiched between the convergence of Route 70, Princeton Avenue and Route 88. The shopping center current houses a Mattress Firm store and a Dunkin’ Donuts store, among other businesses such as a martial arts studio and smoke shop. One vacant pad site already exists in the shopping plaza, separate from the other businesses.
Windmill had been scheduled to pitch its plan for a new location to the board on several occasions, but each time decided to withhold its application, said board attorney Harold Hensel.
“We carried it and advised the public,” he said. “They’ve now withdrawn the application and are re-submitting it, so we’re requiring them to re-notice and get new plans in.”
Township Planner Tara Paxton said the use of the site for a restaurant would comply with zoning codes, requiring only minor variances for the pre-existing shape of the lot. The plans that had been submitted to the township, however, included “engineering considerations” and requires the testimony of a licensed engineer before approval could be granted.
“They were installing a pad, and the site is already over in impervious coverage, so we require an engineer to provide analysis rather than an architect,” Paxton explained.
The application is expected to re-appear before the board after the new year. Hensel said neighboring property owners will be notified of the revised application and it will appear in newspaper legal notices.
Windmill, a Jersey Shore-based chain of casual restaurants especially known for their locally-famous hot dogs, closed its Brick location in 2019 after years of operation. It was once located roughly across the street from the potentially-new location along with a 7-Eleven convenience store. Serving hot dogs, hamburgers, cheese fries and similar comfort foods, the chain currently operates five locations, all in Monmouth County: Belmar, Red Bank, Ocean Grove and two stores in Long Branch.
At the time of its 2019 closure, the owner of the company, Levine Levy, said the company was considering opening a smaller location in Brick since its existing restaurant was too large. The first Windmill opened its doors in the 1960s and was purchased and operated by the Levy family since 1976.