I don’t know how old you have to be to have memories of Howard Johnson restaurants but I certainly qualify. Not sure when I first ate in a HoJo’s but it was probably along the Pennsylvania Turn-Pike during the early 1960s. Howard had the franchise for all the food and fuel services along the pike.
They always had a bright orange roof and were famous for their 28 flavors of ice cream. Mel Brooks based a Blazing Saddles joke on the town of Rock Ridge being occupied by lots of Johnsons, one of which was Howard and his restaurant advertised 1 flavor.
At one time there were 800 HoJos in America and this morning I read that today there’s only two and one of those is about to close its doors. It’s in Bangor, ME and one of the waitresses has been there for fifty-years. It’s the only job she ever had.
The last remaining Howard Johnson’s restaurant will be in Lake George, NY and the owners have no plans to close. They say they’re doing fine and have plans to remodel in the near future.
Oh, the last HoJo I ate in was on the north side of Knoxville, TN in 1978. Janet and I stopped there for a dish of ice cream on our way back from North Carolina. It was across the street from a Cracker Barrel. We walked over and checked out the store and Janet picked up a menu. That evening I had my first ever bowl of CB’s ham ‘n pintos in Corbin, KY. That’s a story for another time.