The last Howard Johnson’s restaurant in America, in Lake George, NY, closed recently.
While Millennials and Gen Zers are saying, “Howard WHO?”, those of us of a certain age remember a time when the orange roofs of Howard Johnson’s were a familiar site along main streets and rest stops across the country.
Long before McDonalds and other fast food chains were found on every corner, travelers could count on HoJo’s to provide good food served quickly and inexpensively…with 28 flavors of ice cream to boot.
But the advent of well-managed, highly efficient fast food chains displaced HoJos and other similar restaurant chains. Over the last 35 years, many of the restaurants were sold off, leaving only a handful of locations still carrying the HoJo banner. As of last month, the last of those sites is gone.
Today, we have hundreds of choices in fast food–from burgers to tacos to pizza to Chinese food and ice cream. We have pre-made meal kits that show up at your door ready to heat and eat, and Amazon delivering groceries the same day you order them.
But we don’t have that piece of Americana that was a welcome site to highway travelers. RIP Howard Johnson’s (or as we used to call them for fun, Joward Hohnson’s).
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