Pic-A-Lilli Inn: Best Wings in South Jersey
You may not have heard of Shamong, but wing lovers throughout the region know about the Pic-a-Lilli Inn. Located off Rt. 206 in the heart of the Wharton State Forrest, Pic-A-Lilli is has been a destination to meet friends and family for great food and ice-cold beer for nearly a century. Heady Times sat down with Bonnie-Lynn Schneider and Jessica Gillen, cousins and fifth-generation owners, to learn more about the business.
Heady Times (HT): How long has the Pic-A-Lilli Inn been in your family?
Bonnie-Lynn Schnieder (BS): Our family has owned and operated the business since the 1920s. In 1927 the business opened as Snyder’s Luncheonette. Thomas Snyder, our great-great-grandfather, and first owner lived upstairs in one of the rooms while the others served as a hotel. The luncheonette served sandwiches, ice cream, and soda in what is now our main dining room. Following the repeal of prohibition, our great grandfather Pickett Russell, Sr. acquired the first liquor license in Shamong, added a barroom, and renamed the business Snyder’s Tavern. Even today, there is always a member of our family working whenever you stop by.
HT: How did the name Pic-A-Lilli Inn come about?
BS: When our great grandparents, Lillian and Pickett, Sr. took over the business following the passing of Thomas Snyder, they decided to change the name. An employee found a jar of Pic-A-Lilli Relish and suggested it, as it included both their names. It has been the Pic-A-Lilli Inn ever since!
HT: Tell us more about your famous wings.
BS: Our buffalo wings were what really put us on the map. In the 1980s buffalo wings started to increase in popularity; we collaborated with some other local bars and restaurants, like Charlie’s and Moorestown Pub, to perfect our sauce, and we still buy our wings from the same family-owned farm in Vineland. We have been doing an all you can eat wings night for over 30 years, and we sell about 20,000 wings per week. We have even been featured on WMMR’s Preston & Steve Show!
HT: How do you choose your beer lineup?
BS: Miller Lite and Coors Light are our top-selling beers, so we always keep them on tap. We also try to keep NJ craft beers on tap, as well. We have 12 draught lines, and one has been pouring PBR for the past 20 years. Our grandfather, Pickett Benjamin Russell, had a diamond ring with his initials, PBR, on it. We brought it in for an anniversary celebration and it has been featured ever since. We currently sell PBR for $2 all day every day.
HT: What is the crowd like?
BS: We have a very eclectic crowd. At any given time you can find people from 21 to 91 in our bar. We try to keep up with the times while staying true to our roots, which attracts a wide variety of people. We offer live music and we are also considered a destination on the way to the shore and for motorcyclists and jeep lovers in the summer months.
HT: What is your busiest time of year?
BS: Our business gets increasingly busy from Thanksgiving through the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl, which is by far the busiest day of the year for us. We sell wing by the tray, our entire dining room turns into a takeout area, and we even offer drive-thru service for pre-paying customers.