It’s not easy for businesses in what we call “beach towns” to make it on a year-round basis and many that have tried to do so simply could not make it work.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day there’s a steady stream of customers but the winter months can be cruel and trying to keep your head above water is often too much.

Klee’s Bar and Grill in Seaside Heights has been able to buck that trend and at times during the winter it seems like they are the only place open in town.  At least the only place in which it’s still tough to find a parking spot.

This coming weekend the current ownership group will celebrate the 40th anniversary of a place that may remind you of “Cheers” because at times it does seem like everyone knows your name.

Klee’s is actually much older than 40. As a matter of fact their history on the corner of the boulevard and DuPont Avenue goes back to 1931 when Ursula and Daniel Klee first opened the doors.  They passed the business on to their children and Henry Klee finally retired and sold it in 1978 to the present owners, Henry “Butch” Anderson and Sue Brosnan along with Butch’s children Amy and John.

General Manager Glenn McCarthy who was a classmate of mine at Central Regional has been there since 1977 and several others have worked there for decades.

Having grown up in Seaside Heights, Klee’s was a regular stop for me. I’ve eaten more than my share of their thin crust pizzas.  For quite a number of years it was where I hung out during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the holiday itself and I have stories to last a lifetime, none that I’m sharing now.

Klee’s is simply a place where you always feel comfortable, sort of a melting pot of people from executives and business owners to hard-working construction and boardwalk workers.  Great food and service and plenty of good conversation.

The 40th anniversary celebration Friday through Sunday will feature a special limited menu from 1978, a limited edition pint glass, special Klee’s clothing and on Sunday a reunion party for employees with entertainment and much more.  It’s a way for old friends to reunite and I’m sure new ones will be made as well.

A lot has changed in Seaside Heights from the town I grew up in but fortunately for locals and visitors alike a constant is Klee’s Bar and Grill. Happy 40th.