Last Howard Johnson’s Restaurant- An Unlikely Tourist Attraction

Howard Johnsons Restaurant
image from ABC News article- Mike Groll/ AP Photo

I remember stopping into Howard Johnson’s restaurant as a kid in upstate New York.

I only recall going to the Liberty, NY location which I believe was also a hotel. When it comes to the menu, the only things I remember ordering, were the clam strips.

When thinking of Howard Johnson’s, two other things come to mind.

  1. Former Mets third baseman Howard Johnson
  2. The Howard Johnsons restaurant in NYC’s Times Square which had a pretty cool neon sign. The restaurant closed in 2005.

I recently came across an article from ABC News about an unlikely attraction in Lake George, NY- a recently reopened Howard Johnson’s restaurant.

The restaurant was closed in 2011 and reopened in January of this year by a former cook Jonathan LaRock. The new owner changed the carpets and added a “few modern appointments” in a $200,000 renovations before reopening its doors. Talk about gambling a lot of money on HoJo’s! (And needing to sell a ton of clam strips to make back the $$.)

The most interesting part of the story is that the Lake George location “is set to be the last remaining Howard Johnson’s restaurant in the country” according to ABC News.

The Howard Johnson’s in Lake Placid, NY closed this spring and there is rumor that the HoJo’s in Bangor, Maine will be closing soon.

The article mentions that busloads of tourists fill the booths en route from New York to Montreal. The owner, LaRock has also said that “people from Connecticut, Maine and New Jersey drive all the way here just to sit in a HoJo’s“.

Maybe the investment is paying off after all…

Would you be interested in stepping back in time by dining at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant? I would.

Find out more from ABC News here.

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