Joe Gregoria worried his cheesesteak shop would lose its sizzle forever.
Faced with the possibility of having to vacate the Kings Highway building that's housed King of Steaks since it opened seven years ago, Gregoria briefly considered leaving the restaurant business altogether.
Then, driving through downtown Woodbury one day, he found a solution.
A shuttered business that would be a perfect fit for King of Steaks.
Gregoria is moving King of Steaks to 22 S. Broad St. in Woodbury, the former home of Starfish Caribbean Cuisine Cafe, which closed last year.
He plans to open in Woodbury on Feb. 1, in time for the Super Bowl two days later.
"When I thought about leaving, I was worried about disappointing our customers more than anything," Gregoria, 37, said in an interview at King of Steaks this week.
Greg Payer, owner of G's Liquor Gallery in Sherwood Plaza, bought the Kings Highway building that houses King of Steaks, and is moving the liquor store into one side. He an his business partners plan to open a deli in the King of Steaks spot.
Gregoria wasn't able to reach a new lease agreement with Payer once the sale was complete.
"This place is probably too big for us," he said of the Kings Highway location, which has indoor seating and a patio dining area.
Luckily, a smaller restaurant with lower rent and overhead was waiting for him in Woodbury.
King of Steaks' menu offers more than a dozen specialty cheesesteaks, including such non-traditional options as an onion-ring cheesesteak and a barbecued cheesesteak. The restaurant is also known for its chicken wings.
Moving to Woodbury will allow King of Steaks to expand its delivery area to Deptford, which wasn't possible before, Gregoria said. He'll also benefit from the new location's proximity to Gloucester County government and court buildings, as well as Underwood-Memorial Hospital.
"You get a lot more foot traffic and car traffic," he said.
A specialty shop like King of Steaks gives people one more reason to visit Broad Street, said Larry Geiger, executive director of Main Street Woodbury, a nonprofit group involved with downtown revitalization.
"What people are telling me is, to get a really good cheesteak around here you have to go to Philly. Now you can go right downtown," he said. "The lunch crowd is our biggest audience and the the businesses that cater to the lunch crowd are going to do well."
Not much is changing about King of Steaks, other than its location, said Gregoria, who lives in Washington Township, Gloucester County.
"I'm surprised and relieved; it's a perfect place for what we do," he said of the Broad Street spot. "People who've been looking for a good cheesesteak, we're going to offer that, to a whole new community."
(King of Steaks is scheduled to open at 22 S. Broad St., Woodbury on Friday, Feb. 1. Hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon-8 p.m. Sunday. For more information call 856-845-1652, or go to www.kingofsteaks.com)