New Owner for T.J. Willie’s Restaurant


The following is a story published in the Seneca News Daily today (Feb. 1, 2022). We appreciate the shout out for the Tiffin-Seneca Entrepreneurial Opportunity Clearinghouse and are thrilled to see more of our great businesses stay in our community in the hands of the next generation. To sign up for the Seneca News Daily, please go to

As you know Doug Dunlap has been trying to sell T.J. Willie’s and retire for several years.  It wasn’t  a real estate listing or a mention in the Seneca News Daily that finally made it happen.  You might say it was fate.

Enter Jesse Short.  Jesse owns a commercial construction company, and travels the mid-west doing projects.  One of those projects brought him to Tiffin, Ohio.  He stayed at the Holiday Inn, and ate most evening meals at T.J. Willie’s.  He was around enough that he heard the restaurant was for sale, but he wasn’t interested at the stated price.

However, at the end of December Doug put out the opportunity anonymously on TSEP’s Tiffin-Seneca Entrepreneurial Opportunity Clearinghouse ( as Project Thunder. A lot of people expressed interest in the business, and as a result Jesse and Doug were able to come to terms and the deal was made..

Monday, January 31 was Doug Dunlap’s last day at the restaurant.  Jesse sends Doug best wishes on his retirement.

Changes at T.J.’s

Jesse and his team will be spending the next several months making changes to better accommodate their guests.  They would like to hear what things you like best about T.J.’s and what kind of changes you would like to see.  In short, they want to keep the best and fix the other to make it the best.

Nichole Lange is the Vice President of Operations and Jenna Hackenburg is the General Manager.  You can reach out to them with your feedback on the T.J. Willies Facebook page.

Building Exterior