Whoopie! It’s what Ron Heinzman would have said about the annual St. Patrick’s festivities yesterday at his old time tavern, Ron’s West End Pub.
It was the signature phrase of the iconic Long Branch businessman, community staple and former Middletown resident. And it's that spirit that his friends and family from as far north as the Middletown area and as far south as Atlantic City gather to celebrate for many occasions like St. Pat's.
A friend to all, the man remembered as the guy about town who gave to all good causes always made holidays the most grand of celebrations. And St. Patrick’s Day was one of those days that Heinzman, never mind his German heritage, made abundantly festive with tons of good food and décor.
He was known for cooking hundreds of pounds of corned beef on St. Pat’s eve and serving it up with a “Whoopie!” and a smile the next day.
For decades, people from all over the state have flocked to the place to get a little taste of Ron’s charm, good food and over-the-top décor.
So, when Ron died suddenly on New Year’s Day in 2010, his family knew that, as difficult as it was, the St. Pat’s show needed to go on. It was, after all, a tradition.
Since then, Ron’s sons Randy and Ron Jr. have seen to it that all are well fed and in the St. Pat's mood, as dad would have wanted. While cooking 612 pounds of corned beef this year, in the true spirit of Ron, they added a little crazy humor in the kitchen for good measure (check out the pics).
Ron was known to get a little frustrated in the kitchen now and then. When he'd be feeling a wee bit overwhelmed and annoyed, he had a habit of putting a pot over his head and banging on it with a wooden spoon, yelling “Whoopie!” through the clatter.
Then you’d hear a crash, bang ... and this bald-headed man with crooked glasses perched on the end of his nose would appear. Giggling and feigning a dizzy and disheveled gait, he’d exclaim, “That’s it! That’s right, folks! God bless America! I’ve had enough!”
No one ever seemed to have enough of Ron. So, his traditions go on … and they’re something to experience.
Take a look at the photos in the above gallery. People swarmed the place. And there were definitely some St. Pat’s sights to see. Can you tell us where the Middletowners are?