In 1964, while operating a small restaurant in Michigantown, IN, Carl Fogelsong decided he wanted a fast food restaurant of his own. Recognizing this kind of restaurant with its speed, economy, and limited menu was more than a fad; Carl resolved to have one that went one step further. He wanted a restaurant that offered top quality food at a reasonable price. This meant 100% pure beef hamburgers, Grade a fancy potatoes for French Fries, top quality name brands for condiments, buns, quality aged cheddar cheese, and on and on. Reduced menu didn’t mean reduced quality. To sum it up, Carl Fogelsong wanted to give the public a place to eat that they could count on. He was especially concerned about giving quality, courtesy, and cleanliness, speed and a warm informality – his restaurant would offer all of these.
Trying to come up with a symbol that would encompass as many of these qualities as possible, Carl Fogelsong remembered seeing an old comic strip movie with a keystone cop named CLANCY. Clancy was friendly, well liked and a quality person who represented the American value Fogelsong wanted in his restaurant. While delivering reliable, honest service, day in, day out, the original Clancy was joyful, hospitable fellow, fun to be with and loved in the community he served, Fogelsong acquired the rights to the trademark.
In May 1965, CLANCY THE COP, perched high upon a sign out front, took on a new beat. Together, he and Carl Fogelsong opened the doors of the first Clancy’s in Noblesville, IN and it was a winner right from the start.
Clancy’s offered the extra touches that did so much to make it a favorite of the public. It achieved the reputation for the “best French Fries in town.” It also was the first Double-Drive Thru in the Midwest; And a 35 seat dining room, two innovations that were not generally incorporated by fast food operations until later years. It also offered a wide variety in its sandwich offering right from the beginning – another first in the industry.
The business boomed. Carls wife Bunny Fogelsong said, “We went into small towns when McDonalds wouldn’t go into small towns. Within 15 years Fogelsong had opened 31 Clancy’s filling a niche in small towns throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The Husband and Father flipped burgers, just like everybody else. Jerry Graham, who took a senior accounting job in the Clancy’s corporate office in 1976, remembers Fogelsong as a boss who did everything by the books. “He wanted to do it right and wanted to do it ethically.” He said Fogelsong believed that, “If a business made money in a community, it should give back to the community.”
In December 2006, Carl Fogelsong lost a hard fought battle with cancer. Fogelsong loved life, cherished his family, helped others, worked hard for a living, was devoted to his community and a loyal church member and was known for his honesty and integrity. He was a 2003 recipient of the Indiana Restaurant Hall of Fame award for his innovations and lifelong career in the Restaurant Industry. Perry Fogelsong, who took over as Clancy’s President when his father retired in 2000. “ He was the best person in the world. As a son, I’ll always remember him for being the best father anyone could hope for. As a man, I’ll remember him for his honesty and integrity.”
The Clancy’s story has only just begun. Clancy’s still has one location that operates in Sidney, Ohio. The company operates four Grindstone Charley’s and Michelangelo’s Italian Bistro in Indiana.