December 8, 2023


The Food community

Hanover fan-favorite restaurant closes after 45 years

For 45 years, Clair’s Family Restaurant has been a staple community spot, serving up “the best broasted chicken in Hanover,” and treating anyone who walked through the door, like family. 

When Doug Markey’s father Clair opened up the restaurant in 1976, Markey says his dad wanted a better life for his family.

The front and back-of-house staff at Clair's gathered together before opening for the day, on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

After his retirement, Markey and his sister Deb Markey-Zartman took the lead and continued their father’s legacy for nearly two decades. As they now reach their own retirement, they are eternally grateful for the support of their customers and employees, who’ve helped them succeed all these years.  

After it was announced on Facebook that Clair’s would be closing, patrons lined up outside the door, with excitement and sadness, to enjoy one final meal. 

Customers wait patiently outside Clair's Family Restaurant before they open their doors for the day, on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

Hanover resident Butch Brooks has been a regular at Clair’s for decades. 

“This will be the last great meal I have until Thanksgiving,” Brooks said, referring to the Roast Turkey platter, a favorite dish among regulars.

After hearing the restaurant was closing, Brooks’ friends Sonny and Deb Hamer, came all the way from Texas, for one last meal.

Sonny says in the past when he and his wife come down to Pennsylvania, they always make it a point to stop at Clair’s. “We make an annual visit, it’s just a great place.”

Friends Butch Brooks (left), Sonny Hamer (center), and Deb Hamer (right), sit and wait for their dishes, reflecting on their memories together at Clair's.

Clair’s is where Pat Duncan would have her birthday lunch for the past several years, and when she and her friends heard it was closing, they stopped in to celebrate her special day a little early.  

“You could come here and have a cup of coffee, and you’re valued just as much if you had a three-course meal,” Duncan said. 

Friends June Knighton (left), Charlotte Boekel (center), and Pat Duncan (right), enjoy their last lunch at Clair's on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021.

For the past 30 years, Hanover residents Peggy Garrett and her husband regularly had their Sunday dinner at Clair’s.  

“We don’t even need to look at the menu. This is our favorite restaurant to come to for Sunday supper, almost every week we have come here.”

More:Famous Hot Weiner offers family atmosphere and ‘best hot dogs in Central Pa.’ | Newsphere by AF themes.