Back in 1926, William Hennis had something on his mind. His 19 year old grandson, Franklin Menz, was in the hospital for an extended period, and had lost a leg to cancer.
Fearing that Franklin had little to look forward to, and knowing that in those days finding a job would be difficult, Grandad Hennis decided to give Franklin a peice of ground he owned on Route 47 in Millville. His hope was that Franklin could make himself a little business and have something to do with his time.
Eighty years and several moves later, Franklin's little business is still going.
Franklin put that original property to good use selling produce to passers-by.
By 1930, he expanded his operation to a roadside stand, where he sold hot dogs and hamburgers and pumped gas at 12 gallons per dollar.
In 1933, he bought a beer license (the forerunner of a liquor license) and began serving a "full" menu which included 25 and 35-cent dinners.
Franklin's early waitress staff included a young Millville woman named Marie Quinn. Preliminary arguments showed they might be onto something, and in 1937 she took on the additional job of being Mrs. Menz.
She brought several recipes to the family business, and more evolved through the years. Even now her deviled crabs, cole slaw and banana whipped cream pie are favorite staples of their menu.
When Route 55 came through the Millville area, their restaurant was a casualty of progress, and soon after, Franklin & Marie brought their family to Rio Grande, where they bough Fort Apache, a recreated Old West town and turned it into a camprgound. During and after this venture, they operated serval businesses, but none were as satisfying as their original.
In 1976, his children, now grown, were bitten by the restauranteurial bug and Franklin & Marie found themselves back in the business, this time accompanied by Denise, Trudy & Jay Menz.
They opened Menz's Seafood Take Out on July fourth of that year and added a dining room the following January.
Like the buildings, the furnishings, antiques, bric-a-brac and oddities have been collected through the years. The restaurant is now a staple for "locals" and visitors alike.
The restaurant's latest acquisition was the purchase of a liquor license in June of 2000. By July, the new enlosed front porch bar was in full swing, including Happy Hour every Friday night complete with hors d'oeuvres and specialty drinks.
The Menz family is continuing the tradition born many years ago, not too far away; to give people a great meal at a fair price and make them want to come back.
The seafood we use is the freshest and locally caught. We offer mako, swordfish, shad, flounder and scallops when in season, from our local fishermen. We use only jumbo lump crabmeat.
Our prime rib is certified Black Angus and our steaks are USDA choice center cuts. Jay Menz hand slices our select veal tops and preps our fish on the premises.
Since the beginning, Chef Frank Abel has been making all of our soups from scratch with fresh vegetables as well as his own famous crab chowder recipe.
Our deep fried foods are hand-breaded, using our own recipe, including freshly gound bread crumbs. Then they're cooked in oil that free of trans fat.
New Jersey is the Garden State, so during the season, we serve locally grown vegetables, including our famous deep-fried tomatoes, corn on the cob, and cucumber and onion salad.
Our desserts are all homemade in house including our delicious signature banana whipped cream pie.