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The History of Hanks


The History Of Hanks, as told by Natalya

Hank Zurowski used to have a produce route. He would deliver his produce door to door. During the summer months business would slow down due to the fact everyone raised their own gardens. This would cause Hank to lose business. Hank decided to build a dairy bar and sell ice cream. Alice Zurowski, his wife was pregnant with my father Scott Zurowski. The end of June was here and Hank could wait no longer to open up the new dairy bar. June 26th 1957 Hank’s Dairy Bar opened. June 26th 1957 Alice went into labor and my dad Scott was born. Hanks Dairy Bar was built on land owned by Alice’s father, Isadore Grise. Isadore owned a Kaiser-Fraser auto dealership and now he could offer ice cream to those folks stopping at his dealership to browse.

In the 50’s most excitement would center around the village. The stand was on the outskirts heading towards Jewett City. The business quickly grew by word of mouth from his produce customers. Hank and Alice worked long days opening at 11:00 and remained there 12 hours each day 7 days a week. Hank even found time to take a catnap in his big lounge chair in the backroom. It only took a few years and Hank was adding hamburgers, hotdog, and french fries to the menu. The business and the menu has continued to grow over the years. Scott, my dad, and Peter his brother, have always been part of the stand. Scott would sit in the big cement sink during the day watching everyone when he was a baby. Peter, by the time he was 9 or 10 was peeling 900 pounds of potatoes a week. My dad and his brother have worked together forever. They bought the business from my grandparent’s 25 years ago. They have kept the business pretty much the same as their parents.

As the business grew, so did the demand for employees. Local high school students would serve as waitresses and cooks. For most of these kids it was their first job. The one thing most employees remembered is the emphasis on cleanliness.

Over the years Hank’s has held many events. The one my father is most proud of is the onion peeling contest for the Guinness Book of World Records. It was 1980 and their employee Alan St. Jean broke the record for peeling 50lbs. of onions. The newspapers and television stations were there. It was very exciting.  Since then many events have taken place including the infamous car shows of the late 90's and the Power Wheels Rodeo. A gathering of 50 kids and their electric vehicles to compete in four different games.

Hank’s sells many different items on their menu. Probably the most famous item is the cole slaw. A secret recipe that only my grandparents, father and uncle know. They wouldn’t even tell me. Other items that standout are the Lobster Roll, Clam Cakes, Onion Rings and the Clams. Each of these items are prepared fresh everyday. Ice Cream still brings lots of people on warm summer nights to Hank’s. They can enjoy sitting out on the picnic tables under the shade trees and on weekends listen to live music from local artists. Don’t forget opening day is always the second Thursday in March.

By Natalya Zurowski





This is where it all began...a long, long time ago


Delicious Fried Shrimp.

The icon of Northeast Ct.



Hanks knows that you have a lot of choices in where to eat and we thank you for choosing Hanks time and time again.