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  • Writer's pictureSean Friel

From an old dive bar to a hidden gem

Wanda Switonski (left) and Jasmine Kienzle (right), two of the owners of No. 79. (THG/Sean Friel. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

The number 79 seemed to be something that was reoccurring frequently for couple Wanda Switonski and Rafal Golembiewski. The number is one of the angel numbers and its meaning is “paying it forward.” That’s what the pair, along with Jasmine Kienzle, want to accomplish. The goal of No.79 Restaurant, Bar & Liquor Store, is to connect and have a family oriented spot for everyone in the community. The mantra for the bar stuck, Kienzle said.

The three owners have a great relationship with each other, and work hand in hand with one another.

“They’re amazing. I love them very much, I’ve known them for years now, and they’re two … talented human beings … between both of them they just ricochet off each other with different stuff and between the decor and everything that we had … they really did an amazing job,” Kienzle said.

Kienzle works more on the hospitality side of the business, making sure every event is one to remember.

“We’ve had a ton of people from Mullica. We’ve had a ton of people from Hammonton, but we have the most amazing people that come through … it’s just exactly what we wanted when we were opening was that community feel, and that’s exactly what everyone is delivering,” Kienzle said.

No.79 is dedicated to their cause, and even went out of their way to get groceries from Elizabeth, N.J.

“We have an eclectic menu, something that we’re going to be elaborating on … we started small and just wanted to get it right, and continue to build on what we have. We specialize in Polish food because Wanda and Ralph grew up in Poland … we actually were driving all the way up to Elizabeth. They have this little sector up there with a Polish mart … and we wound up transporting it down. We went up there every single week,” Kienzle said.

The business itself started by renovating an old dive bar, which COVID-19 wound up causing further delays of opening.

“So we started kick starting this in probably about April [2021], and the place was completely distraught … this bar was turned over quite a few different times, from what we can date back, it was about the ‘50s … it was really known as a dive bar really … it took a little bit to really find the stuff we needed to get it going. That wound up pushing us back until November, was when we finally … were able to open,” Kienzle said.

The original bar still has history in No.79, as a major piece of the old bar still remains.

“We kept the original bar … you can see a copper penny bar. They used this resin, and it’s what it’s known for; everybody would come and count the pennies on the counter. They wound up doing a copper sheeting on the top, replicating it … it’s really beautiful, and it still ties into its history,” Kienzle said.

When looking towards the future, Kienzle talked about a vacant apartment above the business.

“We have … an apartment upstairs; we’re looking to transform that. We’re probably going to do some sort of speakeasy … keep that prohibition feel … we could have bridal parties coming up and down the stairs; you can open up a cigar bar … there’s a lot of different options … I want it to be where no one really knows about it but the locals,” Kienzle said.

Not only do they have plans for the physical structure, but for some of the drinks as well.

“We have our own wine … we worked with Amalthea Winery … our biggest thing with this was to make sure we had a good premium red, white at a decent cost … we have our own IPA, and we’re going to start working on seltzers,” Kienzle said.

No.79 has a unique atmosphere and prides itself on paying it forward, going above and beyond for the community, and also having some fun.

For more information on No.79, call (609) 481-2574, visit their Facebook page, or their website or stop in at 4423 South White Horse Pike.


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