Harby's Hots Closes After 33 Years


The last day at Harby's Hots in Watertown wasn't that much different than the day it opened in 1980. 

It served the same hamburgers and Hoffman hotdogs at the same reasonable prices.

And, believe it or not, some of the same customers were there.

Susie Dandrow stood behind the grill, where she has been serving it up hot 5 days a week. 

She took over 6 years ago after her father, Ken Harblin, known as Harby, gave it up.

He passed away a year ago.

If you ever went to Harby's, you'd quickly find out it's not just the low prices that kept the same clientele coming there for 33 years.

It was the entertainment.

"You want to find out what happened in Watertown last night or what's happening tomorrow, you come to Harby's because we got the answers," said Al Smith, a longtime customer.

Plus, there was plenty of good-natured kidding around.

"After a year, they gave me a piece of paper and told me to leave," laughed Ed Pflugheber, a longtime customer.

Susie is selling Harby's to Mike Cornell, who had been coming there since he was a kid and always wanted to run it.

"Mike's great. He'll do wonderful," said Susie.

Mike will close the restaurant for a month to renovate, but hopes to keep most things the same, including the customers, keeping them in line just like Harby did. 

"They're gonna give me the business, so I'm gonna have to keep up with these guys," said Mike.

But according to Susie, the customers are what made little ole Harby's what it was.

"Friends, not customers, friends," she said.

Now Harby's Hots turns to Mike's - and that's what Susie and her faithful band of hungry friends are going to miss the most. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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