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Tropical Treat in Hanover PA – You Can’t be a Crab at Crabbs! Hanover, PA

Posted on: September 2, 2010

Crabbs Tropical Treat or “The Treat” has been a vintage roadside delight en route to or from downtown Hanover PA since 1953. In a stretch of road that is more farm land than fancy,  The Tropical Treat is an oasis of retro cool and tasty eats. And check out that vintage neon sign! You don’t see stuff like this often in PA so I say, “no crabbin allowed” when you head here!

Tropical Treat  Hanover PA Vintage Neon SignNot a cloud in the sky – what a great day for a retro road trip!

The first time we saw The Treat we had to totally stop and gawk, and take photos even though they were closed. With the great vintage sign on top and the fact that they still had car hop service under the low slung canopy, it was definitely like discovering a place from the past.

Even though The Tropical Treat is only open from mid-March to mid-October, it packs a lot of coolness into that time frame. I was able to visit on a sunny Saturday and was pleased to see practically every stall in the car hop area was full, with some cool cars too!

Tropical Treat  Hanover PA  Car Hop Service

I pulled the not-quite-as-sassy Retro Roadmobile into one of the parking spots in back, near the picnic tables and under some trees for shade. As I got out of my car to order at the window I noticed that a large field next to The Treat was lined with great vintage gas station signs:
Tropical Treat  Hanover PA Vintage Gas Station Signs

Since The Treat has cruise nights, I bet there are vintage cars that must fill these parking spaces and overflow into the fenced in area.

While walking towards the window I was able to catch a photo of the ordering system still in use for the car hop service.

Tropical Treat  Hanover PA  Drive In Restaurant Menu

And loved the authentic Sprite stickers, claiming that Sprite is “Naturally Tart”

Tropical Treat  Hanover PA  Enjoy Sprite Naturally Tart

I chose what to eat ( Cheeseburger Delight, please) from the menu board:

Tropical Treat Hanover PA Snack Menu

Ordered at the Sandwich Window:

Tropical Treat  Hanover PA Sandwich Window

And took note of their hours while I waited for my number to be called.

Tropical Treat  Hanover PA Hours

I took my food to go, but I could have easily asked to have it here, just letting the window person know what area of picnic tables I would be sitting at, and the Car Hop would walk out and bring my food to me.Next time I’ll do that for sure.This time I did decide to eat at one of the picnic tables out back under some nice shade trees, and much to my surprise, next to some fenced in chickens. I would’ve felt bad if I got some Broasted chicken, but had no problem digging into my burger.

Excuse me, I mean my “Delicious” Cheeseburger Delight:

Tropical Treat  Hanover PA Cheeseburger Delight

It was indeed a tasty burger with lettuce mayo tomato and ketchup, and I pulled off enough of the exterior bun to share some with my feathered pals.

Alas I didn’t have room for a cone shaped like that one on the cool sign, but if you go, let me know how it is!

Crabbs Tropical Treats on Urbanspoon

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  • I’ve ridden thru Hanover at least a dozen times and have never noticed this awesome joint; I’ll make it a point to stop next time. I just discovered you site, too, courtesy of WendyVee at Roadside Wonders — bookmarked now!

    • Hello Doug-

      Glad that WendyVee hepped you to the Retro Roadmap, and hope you enjoy your visit to The Treat! Always appreciate the bookmarking. Happy travels!

  • Somehow, this seems more authentic than Sonic


  • This looks like true “Americana”. I wish I lived in the area, I’d definitely go visit. 🙂

  • Vicki

    This is true Americana, the Tropical Treat is a memory from my childhood – not sure when it opened but it must have been in the late 50s early 60s.

    So glad to see that it is still open and well kept, the orginal owners, the Crabbs, would be pleased I am sure.

  • Mary

    I am from the area. My father helped build the Tropical Treat in the 50’s. My three sisters and I all worked here as carhops and cooks during high school. We were followed by the next generation. My nieces and nephew worked here too. It was a fun summer job and a it’s nice to have been a part of this slice of Americana. Great stories to tell. I highly recommend stopping by if you find yourself in the area–just down the road from Gettysburg, PA.

    • Mary – thanks so much for adding your history to the Tropical Treat thread. I love how it’s a family tradition from generation to generation. Lovely, just lovely!

  • SP from Fairfield PA

    The food it great @ Tropical Treats along with the atmosphere. A must have is the Italian Steak sub, it’s the best I’ve had anywhere!

    • SP – good to know! I went with the cheeseburger as it seemed like the thing to order, but glad to know their other offerings are tasty too. Thanks for swinging by the RetroRoadmap!

  • Larry & Cindy

    Larry / Cindy Ruby From Carlisle , Pa
    Tropical Treats brings back old memories. We live about 5 miles from Cumberland Drive In . It was built in 1952 the same year I was born. They were the good old days . Kids today will not know what real fun is.
    The treat is about 26 miles away but we like the drive, & the food . My wife loves the Raspberry Ice Cream , We were just their today 07-01-2011 at 12:00
    The people are Great , the atmosphere is Great , And the Prices are Good to
    We will be back in a couple of weeks ,

    • Larry and Cindy- so glad you make the drive to the Tropical Treat- all these cool old places deserve all the support we can give ’em! What a beautiful day for a drive, huh? have a wonderful holiday weekend!

  • Sheri

    All my grandchildren wait for the first day the Treat opens, it’s the start of t he summer. The last week their open, they have specials, two for one. It is definitely one of the more special restaurants in the area and Sonic can’t come close to the reputation the Treat has acquired thru the years. Looooove it!

    • Sheri- love the fact that it’s a family tradition- thanks for posting! And yes, Sonic doesn’t hold a candle to any of the independently owned drive in restaurants I know.

  • Just came from Tropical Treat. It is a long time tradition we have passed on to our children and we still love going there. My favorite is the “Fatboy” sandwich. All the food is good, but that is my favorite. Love the friendliness and courtesy of the people. Very laid back and relaxed atmosphere. We look forward to enjoying their ‘treat’ often throughout the summer. We’ll be back.

    • Vernice – I’m jealous! I can’t get my head around the fact that tomorrow is September and I have not been to “The Treat” a once this summer. So glad you had a great time, and we’ll have to check out the Fatboy next time we’re there. Now that Retro Roadhusband’s schedule will calm down some I hope he and I can factor in some fun before things close and it gets cold out. Thanks for your comment!

    • Dolph Ramey

      You are nuckin’ futz

  • Randy Hare

    I have been going to the treat since 1970, the food is the same now as it was then…..awesome. Great place to scope out the awesome muscle cars from the years past. Lot of great times there!

    • Randy – very cool! So glad it’s still around, and that you’ve made it a tradition. We’ve got to get ourselves out there soon!

  • Nancy! Thanks for such a swell recommendation for Crabb’s – we’re hoping to get out there this season but the days are just flying by!

    And yes, they’ve got picnic tables etc so you don’t have to sit in your car unless you want to 🙂