NORTH WILDWOOD - John Klug is only slightly exaggerating when he says his Boardwalk businesses, Pompeo's restaurant and Little Nicky's Pizza, have more flashing lights around them per square foot than Las Vegas.

But that's the way it should be.

"The Boardwalk to me should be bright and colorful," Klug said.

And Klug speaks from experience. He has been on the boards since he opened Pompeo's in 1978.

For years, it was a full-service restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now his sons run the place, and it is open just for breakfast.

That's not all that has changed. "In 1978, we were it and there was nothing between us and 1900 Boardwalk," he said. Now the Boardwalk is full of shops and eateries for every taste.

"The great thing is everyone is a little different. It's an exciting place to be," he said. "There's an excitement to the Boardwalk, more so than an amusement park."

And the view changes, too.

The Pompeo's menu once invited diners to enjoy spectacular ocean views, but when the dunes moved in, Klug's wife insisted the menu be changed, too.

But Klug said what doesn't change is the Boardwalk's draw.

It's a place where pretty much anyone can come and spend a few dollars for a lot of fun.

"There's high volume and a dependable clientele," Klug said of the hundreds of thousands of people who stroll the boards each year. "You do well in good economic times and bad economic times."

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