Howard Johnson restaurants

I was reading about the upcoming closure of the HOJO in Bangor, Maine and how that will leave just one HOJO left in Lake George, NY.

I was flooded with memories of childhood meals at Howard Johnson. It was definitely a family favorite as we lived in Massachusetts where HOJO’s were everywhere in the 60s and early 70s. I remember that bread service included a white dinner roll and a slice of date nut bread. As a child, date nut bread was gross so I always gave it to my mom who loved it. In fact, everyone gave the date nut bread to mom and she was in heaven because of it! Of course now I wish I had all those slices back because I love date nut bread now too.

I also liked that the ice cream scoop was cone shaped, you always knew if someone got a cone from Howard Johnson’s.

I’ve also been lamenting the loss of the frozen food line, specifically the Blueberry Toastees. Nothing tastes like a Toastee. I also loved the hard-to-find Orange Toastees. And can’t forget the Mac & Cheese with the crispy breadcrumb topping.

I will forever miss you Howard Johnson.

1 Like

Clam Strips kids meal! I’m a Montrealer who spent a month every summer of my childhood in Cape Cod, and HoJo’s was a part of the drive down and back. Sad to hear there’s no clientele for that sort of homestyle food anymore- friendly waitresses and great sundaes- loved it.


1 Like


In case you haven’t heard him discuss his tenure there, Jacques Pepin often mentions how much he owes to Howard Johnson, where he developed recipes and learned how to produce industrial-scale batches. That training enabled him to run his own soup-centric NYC restaurant.

It’s a mystery to me why HoJo’s isn’t still a popular chain. We went to the local one on Long Island on a regular basis in the 50’s-60’s. When I went to college, the midway point on the long drive to and fro was a HoJo’s in upstate NY. In MA, the one at the end of the Mohawk Trail was looked forward to during the autumn foliage tours. The food was affordable, quality fare that had universal appeal across a range of demographics.

1 Like

The Wiki article goes into some detail about it.

The training program that corporate put together was no joke, probably the best in the business.
One out of every two managers hired who I knew, went on to open either their own restaurants or became successful caterers.

Re Ground Round…If you noticed the food at certain locations was better than at others you are not imagining it. The commissary supplied the corporate stores exclusively … franchises were able to purchase from outside vendors, once approved.
There was always a HJ restaurant with motel very close to the Ground Rounds…this is where the trainers would stay when opening GR’s

This is a photo of the team that opened the first Hicksville, Long Island store. Circa 1977
The gentleman kneeling owned the franchise and was a really lovely person … generous, kind and appreciative.
I’m not too sure he knew that he was getting himself into …


That photo is so 1970’s Long Island that I’m feeling nostalgic (I grew up a couple of towns over from Hicksville, and probably ate at the Ground Round at some point).

1 Like

Your excerpt from Wikipedia, and the earlier post by BoneAppetite, also quoting Wikipedia, got me looking up the article, and I recommend the entire entry to others:’s
I’ll join the crew of former HoJo’s customers who have missed the place for years. Clam strips, cone-shaped ice cream, topping off their cones, their unique toasted-bread style of hot dog bun, etc. The wiki article details the oil embargo of the 1970s as a turning point, where we all cut back on our traveling and vacationing, the rise of bare-bones fast food outlets like McDonalds that got our business, efforts to cut corners to survive, and the inevitable corporate intrigue of the various companies buying and selling Howard Johnsons core businesses or parts of them. Another time, I will regale you with my memories of playing a role in the community theater group’s version of that “classic” play, “Murder At the Howard Johnson’s.” I wish I could travel to Lake George NY “for old times’ sake.”


For you Foridahound … The Central Avenue, Yonkers location … now a burger king
unfortunately I have not found any photos of the Howard Johnsons that housed a traditional restaurant
but also featured a disco/ lounge which was hidden behind a set of double doors … it was located at the corner of Central Ave and Ardsley Rd.

I am privileged, indeed, to get your postcards from home, and from about the era when I was cutting my teeth up and down Central Ave. Thanks! I have been scratching my head on the HoJos on the corner of Ardsley and Central- I should remember that neighborhood especially well. Nope. As you know from another thread, I was probably too busy checking the latest 45’s at the Korvettes across the street, I guess. Thanks for thinking of me. Our other homies probably enjoyed the pix as well.

Thanks Floridahound…With the exception of the Ground Round photo which is mine, all of the photos can be viewed at the FB website Yonkers NY and Westchester in pictures, Many are available here

Someone did a good job with the website below
you can add your memories there are a couple of inaccuracies but
none earth shattering … they missed and misnamed a couple of restaurants