“Vinny Boombaats” and the story of Tim Kohlheim, owner of Shore Fire Grille


Last July, on our way to an event on Long Beach Island, NJ, we discovered a great little foodie gem called, “Shore Fire Grille”.

Kim and I stumbled upon SFG when looking for a place to have lunch and were drawn in by a menu destined for any foodie’s dream. Within seconds of us sitting down, this random guy walked on over, slid right into our booth and started talking.

At first Kim & I gave each other this side glance like, “who the hell is this dude?”, but within minutes we knew we liked this guy.  He was super comfortable to be around and just guided us through the menu, pointing out his greatest hits.

Before too long, we realized that this guy wasn’t some random, but the owner, Tim.

We hit it off immediately, drawn right into his love for what he did, his family, the island, all of it.  Tim was a straight shooter with a rad vibe, fun energy and a genuinely great guy.  His use of the word “vicious” to describe food was both hilarious, heart warming and somehow perfect to label anything off of his menu. Especially the “Vinny Boombaats” hot dog, loaded with “Mutzadell” and “Madinad”; in other words, quintessential New Jersey.

Throughout the rest of the summer and into the off-season, we began conversing on social media.  We went back to visit a couple of times, even taking a detour on our way to Cape May.

Each time it wasn’t, “hey, let’s go to Shore Fire Grill” it was, “hey, let’s go see Tim.”  That’s how it was, we went to see Tim.

Two weeks ago while on vacation with our family on the island, we would once again go see Tim when the rest of the crew wanted to go somewhere else.

Once again, Tim saddled up next to us, talking for awhile about the hectic summer, missing his girls and his wife, and the latest and greatest breakfast menu. We were there almost until closing time, but not before he got us a Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake. We had a few more laughs and then went on our way, telling Tim that we’d see him again soon.

Then over the weekend, we learned that on Thursday evening, Tim was tragically killed in a car accident.

We, along with the rest of Tims community, are stunned.  In an instant, our day changed.  In a similar instant, so changed the lives of Tim’s wife, his children, his family and friends.

This happy, hard working, charitable man; this loving father and husband, was gone.  We didn’t know him well, and yet we find ourselves still trying to process this news.

Being a father, I can’t imagine the sadness and confusion that his children must be feeling, wondering why daddy isn’t ever coming home again.

As a husband, I can’t imagine his wife, wondering what happened, where he was, or how the news of his death was delivered.  Just like that. Their lives are changed forever.

Live your life. Do what makes you happy. Stay in touch.  Love hard.  Make sure the people that you love know it beyond a shadow of a doubt, because it can all end in an instant. It’s what Tim would want.

We didn’t know Tim well, but we knew he loved life.   We also know his impact.  This was a man you wanted to know.  This was a man who would help anyone in need. Sadly, this was a man who was taken far too soon.

Tim leaves behind his wife Samantha, two beautiful little girls, countless family, friends, employees, customers and so many more lives that he touched.  He wanted to help anyone he could, so now is a great time to pay him back.

There is a GoFundMe site established to help Tim’s wife and children.  Do whatever you can, even if that’s just to learn more about Tim and his impact. It’s what Tim would do for us; for anyone, really. And so, we’re doing it for him.

2 Comments on ““Vinny Boombaats” and the story of Tim Kohlheim, owner of Shore Fire Grille

  1. What a wonderful tribute to Tim. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. He was one of a kind. I loved him with all my heart and soul and I’ll miss him more than I can say. Love, Patty Jenkins, Tims mom.

    • There are no words to express our deep condolences to you and the rest of Tim’s family, Patty. Tim was a beautiful human being and we can feel the space he left in this world. We are so glad we got to know him, even for just a short while. We’ll take his energy with us wherever we go.

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