Popular Monmouth County restaurant chain trades hands; expansion, franchises and food truck in near future

After 60 years of ownership, a popular Monmouth County chain of hot dog restaurants has traded hands.

The WindMill was acquired by the Epstein family in late October.

New ownership plans to invest heavily in improving the restaurants’ physical appearance and expanding the chain’s five locations that have been serving Jersey Shore locals and visitors in Asbury Park, Belmar, North Long Branch, Red Bank and the West End of Long Branch. It is even planning to debut a food truck in 2023, which will enhance the company’s catering capabilities and bring the WindMill’s iconic food to a larger area across the region. Franchise opportunities are also in the potential future.

The WindMill serves locals and visitors the delectable, familiar fare of New Jersey’s finest hot dogs, burgers, cheese fries and much more.

The Epsteins will maintain the menu and charm that has characterized the WindMill restaurants for decades.

“I remember the excitement of visiting the WindMill restaurants throughout my childhood, and it’s a tremendous opportunity to play a role in preserving and enhancing this local tradition — keeping the WindMill’s signature menu, ingredients and cooking techniques, and adding new options to the menu,” Ralph Epstein, president of the WindMill Restaurant Group, said. “We’re particularly eager to make several exciting business upgrades, which will elevate the WindMill experience for our patrons.”

Over the next few months, the Epstein family plans to refurbish buildings’ interiors and exteriors and extend business hours.

Added Epstein: “Our family has been involved in New Jersey hospitality businesses for decades and we understand what a privilege it is to become the steward for an institution like the WindMill restaurants. In the coming months and years, we’ll be investing in the chain to unlock its latent potential and sustain its vitality for generations to come.”

Since its first location was founded in 1963, the WindMill restaurants have earned a reputation across the Jersey Shore as an unrivaled destination for “gourmet fast food.” The chain has served politicians and celebrities, including Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Bruce Springsteen, and has catered thousands of weddings and other events at a range of venues, including the Stone Pony and Yankee Stadium.