By Bryce Abshier – Contact Bryce@thevosm.net
For strangers passing through town, it probably didn’t seem like much. The Clock Family Restaurant was an ordinary diner in the center of Belleview. To many South Marion residents however, it was so much more.
The restaurant was located at 5612 SE Abshier Blvd in Belleview, the current site of Bradley Blessing State Farm.
Before the days of the internet, social media and cell phones, the Clock was a focal point of the Belleview community. Locals gathered to grab a bar stool, socialize and find out what was happening across town; along with a slice of pie.
A recent post on the Voice’s Facebook page featured an image of The Clock Restaurant found in an issue of The Voice from 1991. It didn’t take long for the memories to start pouring in.
“It was the best hangout for us firefighters great coffee and food and all the smiling faces” wrote former Clock customer Harley Hutchin.
“In the early 2000’s (03-?), the musicians and others from Belleview United Methodist Church’s Saturday Night ‘Powerhouse’ service would go to The Clock afterwards,” wrote Todd Odor.
The Clock was a place where people could enjoy each others company and a cup of coffee while not feeling rushed. Some would visit once a day; while others would sit and talk for hours.
A few celebrities had the pleasure of dining at Belleview’s Clock at various occasions. “Goober” from the Andy Grffith Show, Jerry Reed and Burt Reynolds all enjoyed meals there at one time.
It was a sad day for Belleview when time ran out at the Clock Restaurant. The Clock stopped ticking on Tuesday, June 29 of 2004. Personnel from the parent company, Clock Restaurants of South Florida, entered the restaurant unexpectedly and announced “The restaurant is closing. Now!” 27 employees were released immediately without any prior warning.
Times have changed in Belleview and three former 24-hour diners are all gone (The Clock, Waffle House, and Lassie’s). All that we are left with are the memories to cherish.
What locals had to say:
“There were some really great people that worked there.”
– Frank Almeida Jr.
“This is where my hubby and I went on our first date in 1984. My pick.”
– Christine Fennessy Santiago
“Loved a late night Apple Pie with Ice cream there”
– Sarah-Lee Dennis
“My wife and I had lunch there one afternoon, we were the last people to leave,as soon as we left they closed The doors for good.”
– Charles Schrader
“Loved a hot fudge sundae at midnight.”
– Jean Warner
“What a great picture!! Don and Jan! They were amazing operators and friends.”
– Jim Johnston
“Great fresh cooked food. We used to eat there quite a bit,some super nice people worked there.”
– Douglas Snable
“I worked for them when I was much younger! They were wonderful people.”
– Susan Moore-Phillips
“One of my favorites usee to go there for steaks my wife and I.”
– Angelo Palermo
“Miss the Clock, no place to eat after 2:00.”
– Buddy Lang
“My first date with my future wife was a movie and desert at that clock restraint. This year will be our 26 wedding anniversary. We miss going to the clock.”
– John Miller
“Loved going there when they had their all you could eat spaghetti. Also they had great hamburgers and fries, I would ask for the brown gravy for my fries. Good breakfast after the bars closed at 2 am.”
– Kenneth Cordle