Ocean City, Maryland, and Hanover, Pennsylvania, have close to 200 miles of territory separating the two cities. But for Chris Staub, these two locales represent junctures of hospitality for him and The Staub’s Landing.
Growing up in Ocean City, Chris witnessed the love both his parents infused into their work in the restaurant industry. His father John, a Hanover native, worked as a chef at and later managed an Ocean City restaurant business called The Landing. In 1994, John and his wife, Fay, left Ocean City, returned to Hanover and bought a piece of property on Frederick Street. For close to 20 years, the couple operated a restaurant in the same building that now houses The Staub’s Landing at 612 Frederick St.
Chris, who worked at his parent’s restaurant as both a chef and kitchen manager, decided to pursue a different occupation at age 25. After returning to school and studying automotive technology, Chris worked as a subcontractor for General Motors. He was living and working in Delaware at the time John and Fay decided to sell their Hanover restaurant.
During a rocky economic year when U.S. businesses, particularly automakers, were feeling the effects of the nationwide recession, Chris made the decision to exit from the automotive industry and reconnect with restaurants. In 2009, he returned to Hanover and purchased the restaurant his parents had previously sold. The Staub’s Landing opened under his ownership in 2010.
A GATHERING PLACE FOR GENERATIONS
The restaurant’s Frederick Street location has been a place where generations of people in the Hanover community and beyond have gathered to enjoy great company and great food. Chris said he’s a big believer in giving restaurant spaces their own personality. “People want to know what you offer. It’s important to understand who you are and what you’re trying to put out there.”
Part of that personality is reflected in the people who have remained customers of the restaurant from the time of his parents’ ownership, such as restaurant patron Fred Laurence. Laurence recalls that he and his wife have been coming to eat at the restaurants that occupied the site since the early 1990s. The “Cheers”-like atmosphere of the structure made it a place where people gathered for great company and good food, particularly on Friday evenings after high school football games, he said.
CASUAL YET SOPHISTICATED FARE
Chris’s approach to the menu at The Staub’s Landing reflects a blend of casual sophistication. From steaks to seafood, the dishes reflect interpretations on classic American comfort foods.
“We hear about the farm-to-table trend, but that’s something we’ve always done,” he said. “We always buy fresh, and that’s why we hand-cut our own steaks. We have a great seafood company out of Aberdeen, Maryland, that we deal with. I know the quality that I’m going to get from them every week.”
Chris praises the work of his kitchen staff, including chef Frank Duffy and kitchen manager Cody Sterling. “They’re younger guys, and they enjoy cooking. They take the core of what I’ve done and what my family has done, and these guys have helped to evolve what I’ve taught them.”
So what do patrons like to eat when they come to dine for lunch or dinner?
Burgers in Abundance: While the Smoked Mushroom Bacon Burger remains a popular choice among customers, the menu features up to 10 different burger offerings. The Black and Blue, for example, combines a black pepper dusting and topping of sautéed mushrooms with melted blue cheese crumbles. Seasoned with barbecue spice and a red wine barbecue sauce, the Smoke House gets a piquant topping of cheddar cheese and crisp bacon.
Dishes from the Butcher Block and the Seashore: Seasoned, marinated and flame-grilled, the meat offerings cover filet mignons, New York strip steaks and rib eyes. Those with a penchant for more surf-and-turf pairings won’t be disappointed. From sea scallops and salmon to shrimp and crab cakes, you can savor the bounty of land and sea on your plate.
Of Brews and Cocktails: Chris noted the beer list changes every week. A seasonally rotating selection of close to 65 different beer offerings reflects craft brews and customer favorites. For cocktails, diners extol the summertime favorite, pineapple-infused vodka, along with the pineapple crushes and homemade summer sangria. For fall, the drinks bear tastes of pumpkin-spiced rum and other cool-season collusions. As with the food menu, Chris said the cocktails provide opportunities to try out new beverage offerings: “We did a Moscow Mule with vodka, ginger beer and fresh lime that was new this year.”
Customer response, he said, remains an important ingredient of the menu. “I feel our menu has been evolving, and people come here for their favorites, but we do specials every week where we get to do some creative stuff.”
The addition of Sunday brunch beginning in November, Chris noted, will present even more creative cuisine possibilities. “We’ve been working on the brunch menu for some time, and it will have that familiar Staub’s Landing feel in how we interpret the best of breakfast and lunch.”
And to go with the meal, “we’re hoping to add a Bloody Mary bar … as we have our own mix, and our Bloody Mary drinks are popular.”
REVELING IN A RESTAURANT REMODEL
Just in time for the beginning of the holiday season, The Staub’s Landing unveils the finishing touches of a major remodeling project that has transformed the look of what had been separate dining room and bar spaces.
In the main dining room, guests can slip into new booths for more casual, intimate dining or select their seats at tables. New flooring, a stone fireplace, industrial-style lighting and fans, and more spacious bathroom facilities create an atmosphere that reflects an accommodating family dining space.
“The idea was to open up the building,” Chris explained. “It took us a while to find the right balance [in the spaces].”
As he considers the level of service he and his parents have given to Hanover, Chris said he’s continually appreciative of the community’s support. “The people who live here take pride in Hanover and they get involved.
As an independent business owner, I want others [independent businesses] to do well here, too.”
612 Frederick St., Hanover • 717.632.4600