WESTWOOD, N.J. -- "Simple fare for simple people." That's the motto of The Iron Horse in Westwood and the key to its success.
So proclaimed Owner Lee Tremble, known to locals as "Uncle Lee."
Tremble has been a part of this operation for 44 years, ever since his parents and an uncle (who wasn't an uncle by blood, but an uncle in every other way) took over the place and he left a surfing job in San Diego to help out.
That was 1971. What was supposed to last a couple weeks turned into a lifetime. He happened to meet a new hire soon after his tenure started, ended up marrying her and well, the rest is longtime Westwood history.
"I'm the last man standing," said Tremble, referring to his partners, parents, Marion and Dudley and his "uncle," Bill Noonan.
While a lot has changed around him - -he said when The Iron Horse first opened there were maybe six or seven restaurants in town as opposed to the 25 or 30 now -- folks can rely on things pretty much remaining the same inside his eatery's doors.
"Seventy-five percent of people, when they come in here, know what they are going to order," said Tremble.
The restaurant, which dates to 1870 when it was a hotel, is known for its cheeseburgers, pickles, fries and beer.
It's also known for its commitment to the community and for making everyone who walks in feel like family.
Tremble attributes the restaurant's longevity -- aside from its great food, -to honesty, integrity, loyal customers, great suppliers, and an awesome staff.
The Westwood resident said everyone that's worked for him -- more than 5,500 employees over the years -- are part of his extended clan.
There have been numerous marriages as a result of employment, only one divorce, and countless lifelong friendships.
And now his son, Sean, is in charge. "My other two kids, they don't want to work here," he said. "It's too hard."
In fact, he said, he tried to talk Sean out of it, but the younger Tremble wouldn't budge.
"Family businesses are hard," he said. "They can tear you apart, but we've been lucky."
As for him possibly retiring anytime soon? He is 65, after all. "My blood would stop flowing," he said.
In other words, expect everything at The Iron Horse to stay the same.
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