Rose & Chubby’s Luncheonette

The Hopewell institution now known as Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette, and formerly as Rose and Chubby’s, has a long history as the Corner Store just off the railroad bridge at North Greenwood and Railroad Place.

It started as a small confectionery store featuring candy and cigars (for train commuters and locals). Successive owners added ice cream and some groceries, as well as seasonal products including Christmas toys and fireworks. As the store grew, it added a soda fountain and evolved into a luncheonette. Later versions of the store also offered school supplies and stationary, and magazines and lots of newspapers for commuters.

== View the full Property Brief: Rose & Chubby’s – 1 Railroad Place (PDF) ==

See also:

~1902 – ~1908 – Mrs. John Gould’s Store

In the early 1900’s the building was rented by John and Catherine Gould.

The newspapers report that the confectionery store of “Mrs. John Gould” operated from at least 1902 through 1908, selling bread, cake, candy, cigars – and fireworks. The store was robbed in December 1907, when the burglars “looted the cash drawer” and made off with 50 cents.

1913 – 1925 – M. L. Von Steeg’s Store [Pierson]

In 1913, Mrs. M. L. Von Steeg (Mary Louetta Campbell Pierson) purchased the property. She was widowed after the death of James E. Pierson, and then later married Otto Von Steeg.

Courtesy Joseph Klett

The business was known primarily as M. L. Von Steeg’s, and was described as a grocery store, also selling candy, tobacco and cigars, stationary, ice cream, as well as toys and Christmas tree ornaments. The family lived in the house, so the store was only in a small front room.

1925 – 1946? – Ewing’s Corner Store

In 1925, D. Walter (“Walt”) and Eva Ewing bought the property. He was previously with Belle Mead Sweets in Trenton.

The business was called Ewing’s Corner Store, or simply The Corner Store. Variations of the Corner Store name then continued through several successive owners.

The store was described as a “candy store” or a “confectionary store,” and sold candy, ice cream, soda, and cigars. In 1948, the store promoted itself as a luncheonette, serving “sandwiches and other specialties from our grill.”

1950? – 1952 – Gwen Wostoupal

By the early 1950s the business was acquired by Gwen Wostoupal. He was born and raised on a farm in Nebraska, served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and then somehow came to the Hopewell area and married a local woman in 1947, before moving to Iowa.

By 1951, the Wostoupal family lived in Hopewell and ran the store, apparently still using the Ewing’s Corner Store name.

1953 – 1971 – Jimmy’s Corner Store – Hall

Jim and Marie (“Red”) Hall bought the store from Gwen Wostoupal in 1953, and operated the business until 1971. Jim Hall was the grandson of Mrs. Louetta [Pierson] Van Steeg, who had owned the store in the early 1900s.

The store was eventually known as Jimmy’s Corner Store, although ads in the Herald still called the business Ewing’s Corner Store and The Corner Store through 1954.

The store offered fountain service with Dolly Madison ice cream and “light lunch,” and sold candy, tobacco, school supplies and stationary, magazines and papers, and gifts and toys.

1971 – c1975 – Kip’s Corner Store – Slobiski

Clifford (Kip) and Barbara Slobiski acquired the store from the Halls in 1971, and ran it as Kip’s Corner Store until sometime in the mid 1970s.

Early in the period, the back of the store (facing Cook Place) was expanded to add a second-floor addition as a separate apartment from the front of the building (on Railroad Place), where the Slobiski family lived.

c1975 – 1979 – Cliff’s Corner Store – Skubas

Sometime in the mid 1970s Clifford and Lillian Skubas acquired the business, and ran it as Cliff’s Corner Store, along with an adjacent Craft shop (on the corner closest to the train station).

They retained the right to use the upstairs apartment after the business was sold to Chubby’s in 1979.

1979 – ~2012 – Rose and Chubby’s

In 1979, Carol (“Chubby”) Montello and Rose Sponholtz partnered to acquire the business. Montello had worked at the restaurant before they bought it. The business then was called Rose and Chubby’s.

The business became simply Chubby’s in 1991, when Sponholtz left the business. Around 2012, Chubby’s went out of business.

2019 – Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette

On January 31, 2019, Lyn Farrugi and Michelle Hamilton opened the new Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette after extensive renovations. Improvements included rebuilding the basement for baking, and combining the first floor to incorporate all the space facing Railroad Place (including changing the windows to match the old design).

The Luncheonette is structured as a non-profit. Since the onset of COVID, the company has hosted a outdoor, free food pantry, and in the first year the Chubby’s Project has delivered over 5000 meals to local folks in need, along with weekly grocery bags.

The Corner Store

Do you have additional pictures, artifacts, or memories of Rose and Chubby’s or the earlier stores at this location? We would love to share them!

See the full History Brief for more detail on the history and more images. Thanks to the many contributors to the History Project for many of the documents, maps, aerials, and photos used in this work.

== View the full Property Brief: Rose & Chubby’s – 1 Railroad Place (PDF) ==

As usual, we welcome comments and more information and materials on our local history.

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