After 48 years of legendary milkshakes, late-night grilled cheeses and root beer floats, Clark’s Dairy, the iconic Whitney Avenue diner, will close shop Sunday for the last time.
The famed New Haven restaurant will shut its doors for “a variety of reasons,” said George Mihalakos, an employee and the son of Anthony Mihalakos, the Dairy’s owner and patriarch of the Greek family that has run the eatery since 1962.
George Mihalakos said chief among the family’s reasons for closing Clark’s were a slow winter, decreased sales after the dairy shortened business hours three years ago, the prolonged illness of his father, who suffered a stroke and was the “backbone” of the restaurant, and a generally tough economy.
He added that as word of the diner’s closing has spread in the past two weeks, sales have nearly doubled as customers have “gone crazy showing their support.”
While Mihalakos, his father and sister will close the dairy at the end of the week, Mihalakos’ uncle, John Mihalakos, will continue to run the family’s next-door pizzeria, Clark’s Pizza and Restaurant. George Mihalakos said the pizzeria has been more profitable than the dairy and that his immediate family members decided that the time was right to “end [their] era” at the dairy.
But not all is lost for die-hard Clark’s Dairy fans — Mihalakos said the pizzeria will soon serve breakfast items similar to the ones found in the dairy.