clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

America's Last Orange-Roof Howard Johnson's Becomes Baby Boomer Tourist Destination

There are only two Howard Johnson's left in America.

Boston Public Library

The New York Time takes a look at one of the last two remaining Howard Johnson's restaurants, which has become a sort of nostalgic tourist attraction. Located in Lake George, N.Y., it is the only location of what used to be one of America's most iconic chains that still features the signature orange roof. (The other remaining location is in Bangor, Maine.) The Lake George restaurant originally shuttered in 2011, but local businessman Jon LaRock leased the space from the original owners and re-opened the restaurant in January.

Since then, tourists — many of whom dined at Howard Johnson's during their childhoods — make the trek to Lake George to relive meals of their youth. A line cook at the restaurant tells the NYT, "One lady started crying because it brought back memories from the past... I've never seen people so happy to visit a restaurant." LaRock adds, "We've had people from Connecticut, Maine and New Jersey drive all the way here just to sit in a HoJo's."

In the past, the Lake George restaurant used to have "lines of people outside around the building, with three hostesses taking down people's names." LaRock is hoping to restore the location to its former glory: "The restaurants were special because they had three things — a breakfast counter, ice cream shop and restaurant — all under one roof. I think that's why HoJo's through the years did so well. That's what I'm hoping to do again."

Sign up for the Sign up for the Eater newsletter

The freshest news from the food world every day