Last Howard Johnson’s restaurant closes in Lake George

Iconic restaurant had about 1,000 locations in the 1960s and 70s

National Weekend Edition /
Jun.June 04, 2022 09:00 AM
Howard Johnson, Closes, Restaurant

Howard Johnson (Exit, iStock)

Another baby-boomer icon has bitten the dust.

The last remaining Howard Johnson’s restaurant, the orange-roofed baby-boomer favorite known for fried clams and 28 flavors of ice cream including both peanut and pecan brittle, shut its doors, bringing down the curtain on a chain that once had 1,000 locations across the nation, the Times Union reported. The outlet, in Lake George, New York, closed this spring after almost 70 years.

The restaurant and motel chain was once such a staple of American cuisine that Stanley Kubrick included it in his 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Four decades later, TV’s “Mad Men” recreated the restaurant for a scene in which the Drapers visited the flagship in Plattsburgh, New York.

Howard Johnson had three locations as recently as 2015, when a location closed in Lake Placid, New York. Another, in Bangor, Maine, shut down in 2016. Those were about a decade after its Times Square outlet closed for good.

The chain struggled to keep up with the competition from McDonald’s and other fast food outlets and was bought by Marriott in 1985 before being broken up and sold to Prime Motor Inn.

The Lake George location went up for lease in 2021 and the listing for the 7,500-square-foot property is asking just $10 — likely in an effort to generate interest in a difficult property.

A former vending machine salesman bought the Lake George location in 2015 and was later arrested and convicted of harassing at least 15 staffers. The restaurant reopened under a new owner, who kept it running for the last several years.

While the Howard Johnson restaurants are no more, the Howard Johnson by Wyndham hotel chain is still alive, with almost 300 locations across the country.

[TU] — Victoria Pruitt 





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