Police say a man dressed in a blue winter coat entered Cos's Corner Deli in Linden and pointed a handgun at the owner's face on Monday.
The owner grabbed a pot of hot oil and hurled it at the man while he rifled the cash register.
The suspect fled.
The owner, who did not want to be identified, tells The Star-Ledger of Newark he couldn't stand there and watch the suspect take his "hard-earned money."
Police will review surveillance video to try to identify the suspect.
Information from: The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger, http://www.nj.com