By ED SALVAS
When the coronavirus brought business to a halt in March, TJ’S Pizza in Asbury Park had a few slow weeks but soon business began to pick up and they were filling orders for their pizza and other Italian specialties as fast as they could.
“We were already set up for takeout, said Sam Dalia who has co-owned TJ’s with his brother Tony since 1982.
The shop has been a fixture in the city since the brothers opened the first TJ’s at 1000 Main St. A few years later, they moved to 400 Main. They bought their own building at 709 Main St. 20 years ago. (They are on the web here.)
They got the name TJ’s Pizza from their father, Tony Joseph, who owned a pizza shop in Poughkeepsie, N. Y. He brought his family to Long Branch and over the years owned and sold 14 stores along the Jersey Shore. Their success is a simple rule: offer a good product at a fair price. They keep their shop clean and treat customers well. That has brought steady customers and kept business going in an extremely competitive pizza marketplace. Their regular customers include hospitals, schools and churches and they deliver every day.
They’ve also kept up with the times and provide delivery by Door Dash, Uber Eats, Grub Hub and through the pizza app SLICE. In addition to Asbury Park, TJ’s delivers to Ocean Township, Ocean Grove, Tinton Falls and Bradley Beach.
All the food at TJ’s is made on the premises and their extensive menu includes their own “Jersey Style” Pizza, calzones, stromboli and salads, complete Italian dinners and subs.
Because of the ban on indoor dining, their 30 tables remain off limits and outside dining isn’t possible because of limited sidewalk space.
Sam Dalia knows many businesses in Asbury Park have suffered financially this summer both on the boardwalk and downtown. He said TJ’s has been fortunate with their large takeout and delivery business.
“We didn’t have to reinvent the business to stay open. We really got lucky this time,” he said.