The handwritten note is taped inside the window of Roney's Restaurant, the throwback 24-hour burger joint that has sat at Haddon Avenue and Route 130 in Collingswood for 80 years.

"Morning, afternoon, late-night Roney's is closed due to the road construction that will be taking place," it reads.

The last of the original White Tower restaurants that dotted Camden County's corners and roadways, the boxy 15-stool eatery is considered a slice of South Jersey history by many. Its garish turquoise-and-orange facade and faux-futuristic sign are a reminder of bygone times.

So that Route 130 can be widened and the Haddon Avenue and Cooper River Bridges redone, it will be torn down this summer or fall, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman said. Roney's will be replaced by grass and stone, a shoulder lane.

Among the joint's small but dedicated crowd of breakfast regulars and nighthawks, word of the state's plans hit hard last year. A "Save Roney's Restaurant" Facebook page popped up.

Now the last burger has been cooked, said Pete Phang, 42, who had leased the restaurant since 2008 and penned the goodbye note. The Department of Transportation has promised to pay for the property, the owner has confirmed, and it will cover moving fees for Phang, who also runs a restaurant in Pennsauken.

Phang briefly unlocked Roney's doors on a recent afternoon.

Allen Mertz, 59, of Gloucester City, a regular to the end, also dropped by.

He worked as a porter at the restaurant in the 1960s, when it was a White Tower. Burgers cost 15 cents. The place shone pearly white. Pie cases decorated counters. And earlier, long before Starbucks, customers could bring in their White Tower Mason jars for coffee that was refilled for free, Mertz said.

"The place was always mobbed - breakfast, lunch, and dinner," he said.

Behind Phang's counter was a black-and-white 1930s photo. Visible were the restaurant's original art deco facade and tower and a couple of Ford roadsters parked in the side lot.

Competitors of White Castle, about 10 White Towers popped up in Camden County between the 1920s and 1950s. In 2007, a self-described "dinerholic" bought a former White Tower in Mount Ephraim and had it shipped on a flatbed 300 miles to West Virginia.

When White Tower closed in 1981, Robert Toney of Washington Township, who had worked for the company for years, bought and leased three of the local restaurants, including the Haddon Avenue location. He renamed it Roney's, and his wife, Rose, took over for a while after he died in 1995.

"It was a great family place," Mertz said, remembering the counter woman, Annie, who worked the grill for five decades before retiring in 2005.

In recent years, many of its longtime customers passed away. The place lost its polish.

Phang, whom customers called Hot-Dog Pete for the lunch trucks he operates, worked the overnight shift, sometimes napping on the counter in the dead hours. In the summer, the small back patio would fill with customers after the bars closed. Mertz and his coffee gang passed their mornings at their stools, as traffic powered by not 20 feet away.

Phang began to tell his customers last spring, when he learned the construction project was moving forward, that the end was coming. When it came, in late January, there was no grand farewell, just the note in the window.

Phang is happy, though. His other place, the Dugout, is bigger, and it isn't open 24 hours. He sleeps more, he said.

Some of the old-timers are having a tougher time. So much so that they continue to show up at the shuttered Roney's.

On a recent morning, when the sun was warm, Mertz and another regular met in the old parking lot. They wiped off a couple of seats on the patio and, sipping on some Dunkin' Donuts joe, reminisced about the golden days.

"Nothing beat Roney's coffee," Mertz said.

Contact staff writer Mike Newall at 856-779-3237 or