Warm memories of HoJo experiences from submitted by visitors of HoJoLand.com
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This is a wonderful website. My father worked in the Brockton, MA plant for well over 31 years. I worked at the same plant but under different owners for a total of 8 years.
I recall back in 1980 just how large a company HoJo was, with plants and distribution centers in Brockton, Miami, Dallas, LA, Chicago, I believe.
Red Coach Grilles, Ground Rounds....
To drive by the Brockton, MA plant recently and to see it demolished (except for the freezer), was really sad. Many many memories.
Thanks for keeping them alive in this website.
Stuart M. Sneath
Great website! My great-grandfather was a minister in Quincy,Mass. and married Howard Johnson to his wife. Both my parents ate in them growing up.
In the '60's, my grandmother would take us to all of them on Cape Cod.
But well before that, the first franchised HoJos opened in 1934 by a sea captain named Sprague in Orleans on Cape Cod. My parents met there while working for the Spragues during the summer in the Late '40's. The day after I graduated from high school in PA., I was on a bus and got a job in that same restaurant, now owned by another family.
Because several of us were not going back to school in September, they decided to stay open year 'round for the first time. They asked me to find friends to join us, and one is a woman who's parents also met there when my parents worked there!
We ran the lunch counter together for seveal years. We'd recognize a car and tell them what to cook, pour the drink and gave them lunch the moment they sat down, people are predictable creatures of habit. We'll I got those famous clams and flounder free for over 3 years! There was a HoJos nearby here in NJ that is now an Outback.
I found and ate in an original Howard Johnson's several years ago in Pa. I don't remember where. Thanks for the memories
Hi. My name is Ken Thomas and I was born in Wolllaston Ma. I lived there for
22 years with my mother and sister. My mother was one of Howard Johnson's "paper boys". The original icecream stand was located just a few blocks from where I lived. My mother's uncle Norman Pemberton had the contract to put on all of the orange roofs on all
of the restaurants. His company was Norman W. Pemberton Roofing of Quincy
MA. In fact when I was going to college years ago, I worked in the company yards and several times cleaned some of the tiles before they went out on jobs. Just thought you might be interested in this for your archives. Ken Thomas
HELLO: I went to your hojoland site and it is a nice site. I worked for the Howard Johnson company for twenty years. The division was Red Coach Grill, i loved working until they sold all the Red Coach Grills and i had to move on. After that i worked for a Howard Johnson Plaza
Hotel i loved that place to. I have alot of memories that i will never forget. When i was with the Red Coach Grill my manager who was there worked for the original Howard Johnson himself, see back then there was no commisary that made there food so all Howard Johnson`s
had a manual that has all there recipes that they must all follow to the recipe. Well that manager gave me his manual that he had when he was a general manager for the Howard Johnson`s. What was great was Red Coach Grill would have theme nights every week and it was fun roaring twenties, clam bake etc.
I was intrigued to write you when I located your web site in a feature on Howard Johnson's in the latest (June 2008) edition of Hemmings' Classic Car Magazine. My family had many good memories of Howard Johnson's restaurants and lodges (not motels, of course!) while traveling the highways in our family wagons: first, a 1961 Ford Falcon, then a 1966 Chevrolet Caprice with the faux wood paneling and luxurious vinyl upholstery that would peel one's skin after trying to exit the car in the D.C. area's horrific summer heat and humidity. Mom loved to share a story about when we were on the road from our Alexandria, Va. home to my Granny's home in Charleston, W.Va. We would usually stop at a Howard Johnson's restaurant near Culpeper or Winchester, Va. I believe the location was just off the beautiful Skyline Drive, which we'd hop onto for awhile before leaving civilized two-lane roads for those less civilized crossing out of Va. and into east/southeastern W.Va. It may have been where U.S. Rte. 50 crosses the Skyline Drive., which I don't think was but a one-lane, controlled-access and billboard-free (a unique idea for the time) highway that also didn't allow big tractor-trailers on it. Anyway, I didn't see what may have been this location on this site's Big List (www.hojoland.com/biglist.html). Gadzooks, do I digress (per usual)! Anyway, mom loved the story of when we got to this very welcome Howard Johnson's restaurant, because in my mother's eyes, there weren't any other restaurants having clean accomodations and decent food for the next 180 or so miles over the 1900's-style roads of W.Va. until one arrived in Charleston. And this Howard Johnson's was a good place to stop after fighting our way from the Nation's Capitol and summertime tourist traffic jams. This was, after all, before most of the Eisenhower Highway System (aka Interstates) were built in the U.S. And McDonald's, Wendy's and other so-called quality, standardized food establishments hadn't found their way beyond the nation's suburbs. First thing we had to do when arriving at the Howard Johnson's was to go use the hygeine facilities. We were, afterall, in a higher-class than usual roadside cafe. My mother felt it important to call HoJo's by its formal name to show she didn't grow up in a low-class town, although, bless her heart, she did -- in Logan County's Man, W.Va., one of the poorest towns in the U.S.). One time, after Dad and my older brother Marty exited the restrooms, my brother exclaimed in what wasn't his INSIDE voice, "MOMMY, MOMMY!!! DADDY AND I just made PEE-PEE!!!" My mother often lost her formality under such uncontrollable situations and learned to laugh with all of us while cringing as parents would be expected during the '50's. HoJo's coffee ice cream was my fave from an early age. When served as dessert in their restaurants, did it always have little tiny chips of ice in it, or was that crystallization? I think coffee ice cream may have been difficult to find in parlors and grocery stores. Go figure. Now I live in Coffee Capital, Seattle, and don't drink the stuff. Although I do enjoy an occassional Starbuck's coffee ice cream (especially their Mocha Chip), their coffee ice cream lines don't compare to my memories of HoJo's coffee ice cream. Runner up: HoJo's strawberry ice cream. And although I'm not smitten by the trendy Penn Cove mussels or the Washington clams of my area's finer (or trendier) dining rooms, I use to love those HoJo fried clams. Would they be as good today as they were back then? Sure, if there was plenty of that tartar sauce to drown them in. Perhaps the clams are not distinctive for today's palates, but they'd be fancy schmancy for the Fifties.
I think it was either Howard Johnson's or the similar D.C./Baltimore area's Hot Shoppes restaurants, owned then by Marriott Corp., that had the N.J. Turnpike and the Florida Turnpike restaurant concessions. Whichever one did, I loved stopping and ordering their liver/bacon/onion (and mushroom?) sandwiches. Tres magnifique!
D. A. Vaughn
Thanks for creating such a great website about HoJo's. I grew up in Quincy, Mass (in the Wollaston Beach neighborhood) so HoJo's were a big part of my life. I worked in two restaurants in 1960 and 1961. The first was on the Southeast Expressway in West Quincy. I started as a dishwasher, then worked on the counter, then became a short-order cook. At the time, the restaurant was the newest one in the area, and was owned by the company, not a franchisee. The building has been torn down - I can't tell you exactly when, as I live in California now - but it isn't there and you can't pull off the highway to do any exploration. Then I worked in the restaurant in Quincy Square for a while. My friends and I would frequently eat at the drive-in HoJo's on the Southern Artery (Rt. 3A) and, in the summer, at a small one, a typical "clam shack" at Wollaston Beach on Quincy Shore Drive (the road has had many names, when I lived and played there it was just called "The Boulevard.") And my sister worked at the HoJo offices, which were across the railroad tracks from the original store. At HoJo's, the hot dog was one of the most popular items, but we were forbidden to call it a hot dog - it was a "frank." And when we ordered one for a customer, we would call to the kitchen "Ordering one!" We didn't have to say it was a hot dog, I mean a frank, the cooks knew what "one" was. There is an interesting story about how the original HoJo's and its great ice cream became widely known in the Boston area. Back in the 'Twenties (I don't know the exact date) a play by Eugene O'Neill was banned in Boston, so the producers moved the production to a theater in Quincy. It was an easy trip on the New Haven railroad for Bostonians and others to visit Quincy to see the play, and many of them alighted at the Wollaston depot, where the original store was located. Some of the theater patrons stopped in at the store after the performance and were impressed by the ice cream, so they told their friends and neighbors, and it was all uphill for HoJo from then on.
I love the site. I have many memories as a kid growing up eating all you can eat fried clams at both the Carrier Circle and the Gates (Rochester) location in the '70s and early '80s. It's a darn shame to see them all gone... They had that home away from home feel. Keep up the good work! Thanks again for the memories!
I just sent my kids to bed after telling them how my mom would take
me to the HJ on Washington Avenue in North Haven, CT, for "beef burgundy" on noodles
about the time Tom Meskill was running for governor. Chandler, our
youngest, sat on my lap while I re-told the stories of staying in HJ
motels on family vacations.
The news of the closing of the last original design Howard Johnson’s restaurant in the country (Waterbury) was stunning and heartbreaking to those who have witnessed over the past few years a seemingly deliberate and systematic destruction of this 20th century American icon and brand. Attempts to find justification in the arguments of either party involved is futile in the face of what is being lost. It has been my pleasure to make the 30-minute drive from Danbury to enjoy something that many folks around the country could only wish they had nearby. I did so again this weekend to enjoy a last meal and take a few pictures—apparently, just in time. By no means do I wish to slight the remaining HoJo’s in Lake George, Lake Placid, and Bangor. May these continue to flourish. But the Waterbury restaurant was the last embodiment of the original architecture, beautifully preserved, and it was disheartening to find that its caretakers, on both the local and national level, were so willing to toss this baby out with the bathwater. I can understand that there were many issues involved. I know I speak for many when I say that we customers and supporters of the Howard Johnson’s restaurants have issues galore with the handling of the franchise over the past couple of decades. But that discussion isn’t the point of this letter, which is simply to state, loudly and clearly, our collective frustration and disappointment at this latest act of destruction of a beloved cultural icon.
Saw an article in the NL Day about the closing of the Waterbury HoJo's. This brought back many memories of my childhood. My grandfather built and owned as franchises the HoJo's in Branford, on US 1 and New London's on 929 Banks St. His name John Saxton. His managers were my father, William T. Gedney in New London and my uncle John Braman in Branford. After my grandfathers death, proprietorship went to my father and uncle in their respective stores. Still have the Simple Simon, Dog, & Pieman weather vane that my grandfather put up and I look everyday at one of the mirrors that was behind the counter with the 6 main ice creams-vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, peppermint stick, chocolate chip, and maple walnut.
Just thought I would share this with you after seeing your website. Thanks.
(Mrs.) Mary E. Fiske
Dear Sir: Something you might find interesting – my father grew up with Howard Johnson, and would double date with him and the girl who Howard Johnson either engaged or married. She died quite young and devastated Mr. Johnson. My dad also said he remembered Mr. Johnson making icecream to sell along Wollaston beach in North Quincy. Guess that’s how it all got started.
I was one of the first waitress to work at HoJo on South Main St. in Waterbury, CT.
I had just graduated from Wilby High and HoJo 1958 and HoJo was almost
completed. I was hired before it was even opened, and then they built the lounge.
I worked there for 15 years, and I just loved it very much. Some of my friends still
work there, even after all this time.
I grew up in Queens (Born 1955) and I remember there was a Huge HoJo restaurant w/ Mr. HoJo's office upstairs on Queens Blvd, just east of North of the Long Island expressway. It was a big thing for families to get dressed up and go there for Sunday dinner or special occasions. There was a reserved parking spot on the side of the building as I recall where Mr. HoJo parked his Rolls Royce! You couldn't miss it, especially w/ the vanity plate HJ 1. I'm not sure if it was Mr. HoJo sr. or his son who had the office upstairs. I believe this would've been late 50" early 60's time frame. I also believe that some of his decendants settled in the Darien, CT. area. I believe it was his daughter and her last name was Weeks. Oh well that's my HoJo story!
Craig H Cowan
I read your site on a nearly daily basis to check the latest Hojo news that has, alas, been not so good. Yet I would like to post, somewhere, a statement of what HoJo's means to me and I'm sure, to a lot of other folks around the Nation. (I capitalize because the HoJo Nation, like Red Sox Nation, is not a regional phenomenon but is worldwide, GO SOX!!!) Now that I have that out of my system, I will tell you my HoJo story, fuelled, I'm afraid, by a healthy dose of Glenmorangie scotch. Nobody may be interested in hearing it, but I want to tell it, so here we go: My first exposure to HoJo's was with my parents. My mother was from New England and compelled my father to go each summer to the Winnisook Club in Big Indian, New York (The Catskills). I hated it as my family are all alcoholics and I was too young to participate in the nightly revelry, and too young to understand the fact that nobody wanted to get up and climb mountains, fish, swim, etc., the next morning. I do remember, however, that HoJo's was virtually, if not the only, restaurant chain on the turnpikes leading to the Catskills. As I recall the food was typical turnpike food, dry, boring and unpleasantly uniform. Not too good of an exposure to HoJo's! The reason I mention this, is that my mother in later years (when I discovered the delights of HoJo's) regaled me with stories about how her first "real" job had been as a HoJo's waitress in Bloomington, Indiana, during her college years. She especially likes to tell the story about how she learned that the shorter her skirts got, the bigger the tips she would receive (apparently the Christian Dior standard was no longer in place at that location) I have searched far and wide for information about that restaurant, and she pointed out its location to me in 1998 (I ended up going to Indiana University as well), but it seems to have virtually vanished from both HoJo and local memory.Anyway, after that unauspicious beginning, I pretty much forgot that there was such a thing as HoJo's. Then I went to Deerfield Academy in 1993, near Greenfield, MA. Now, there were such things as HoJo's in Florida, but given my Dad's hatred for them (understandable given his experience with them on turnpikes) and the rise of Denny's and the like, I was basically aware that they existed but viewed them as a sort of "greasy spoon", a place where you only went if you were drunk, high, or a trucker, similar to the way Waffle House is viewed today (and by the way, I am an ENORMOUS Waffle House Fan- I had failed to realize that being poor or a student was another reason to attend such an establishment). I made some friends- Nafiz, a Turkish student, Charles, from Greenwich, Connecticut, and Bruce and John, from New York City. It was near the beginning of my time at Deerfield (or DA, as we call it) that we were discussing places to eat on a friday evening, and HoJo's came up. The HoJo's in Greenfield had a mini golf course attached to it, run by the restaurant. We decided to make a night of it. From that point on, HoJo Greenfield was "my place". Nafiz left after our sophomore year, and John, Charles, Bruce and myself were more or less friends for the duration of our DA education, but I was a regular at HoJo Greenfield for the rest of my time there. There was an alcove, which I have since learned used to be used to contain an ice cream freezer. When I was there it was marked with a big wooden sign saying "amusements" and contained video game machines. During my sophomore year, so rough for me, Nafiz, my Turkish friend, and I would look forward all week to going into town and playing "Pole Position". We all played mini golf afterwards, and it is one of the few memories of my childhood that I absolutely cherish. When time came for prom, I invited a girl from public school, Tricia, who is now married (I hope happily) and lives in Charlton, MA. I got her a room at the HoJo's so she wouldn't have to drive home that night (even though she elected to do so). My parents stayed at the HoJo's when I graduated and during each Parent's Weekend But perhaps the most valued memory I have of Greenfield was when I was a senior. The school was a lot more lenient with seniors and allowed us to basically just "check in and check out" at the dorms, so I went into Greenfield almost every night and ate at the diner while I did my homework. I am currently in medical school, but studying for a tough test just doesn't seem right somehow without the "Pole Position" electronics playing in the background and some jazz playing lightly, but audibly.I was back at DA last year and went to the old HoJo's which is now an Applebees. The mini golf course is long gone. I had a Guinness at the bar but it just wasn't the same. A part of America has vanished, and I regret the fact that current DA students, perhaps having the same struggles I did, can't find a bit of the feeling that helped me get through such a tough few years. And it is that- the fact that whenever you're feeling down, life has you beat up, and the Devil is biting your heels- there's a place you can go to eat a meal like Mom would make you, play a videogame or two, have an ice cream and shoot a game of mini golf- just like you would at home if you felt bad. Stress exists everywhere, but HoJo's provided a tiny oasis for anyone who needed it, and now it's gone.I have been to the HoJo's in Waterford, CT, and went to the one in Springfield, VT before it closed. There are nice people in those locales and the food was acceptable. Yet nothing equates to the standard of Greenfield, MA, and I imagine nothing ever will. For like my Mom and her first work experience with a HoJo's, I have a HoJo's memory that will forever hold a place in Americana.
Richard & Barbara
For whatever reason as a cpl-partners in life and business- who have been married over 25 years, we were thinking last night thought about where we got engaged: in Montreal at a Howard Johnsons on St. Catherine Street...It was the summer of 1979...we decided to "keep it a secret" for one of us was in the throes of a divorce...One of us ate a triple D Hamburger, the other had ice cream...We have had an extraordinary life journey ever since...in every facet of our lives...We live in Pa and in Fla now...we wish there were a Howard Johnsons nearby to ceelbrate that moment...and say officially thank you to Howard Johnsons...
I apologize for the length of this email, but I feel sure you will understand where I am coming from. I am over in the UK and have just heard, via the internet, about the closure of the Times Square Howard Johnson's. I am very sad to hear this, as myself and my wife, who was then my fiancee, visited the restaraunt in March 2004 during our stay in NYC. We enjoyed an excellent meal which included Pizza, Tortilla's and chilli, etc. We enjoyed some wonderful drinks, such as Long Island iced teas. We thought the price was very reasonable. I was especially pleased with the friendly staff and those wonderful 'orange leather' booths. All together, it was almost like travelling back in time, which was fantastic.
I'm a big fan of Buddy Holly, and the story goes that one of his first meetings with Maria Elena, who became his wife, took place here. It is a big loss, I think. We are already living in a world that does it's best to 'get rid of traditions'. We are 'infested' with McDonald's and I've got to be honest, the general quality from that place is very poor. I suppose it is the old tale of the big corporation 'shittin' on the little man? Whenever I think of our visit to NYC, I think of that great time we had in HJ's. It could not have been in a better place, and it was almost like being in a film. In fact, as I write this NYC images are in my minds eye, and that song, 'Arthur's Theme' is in my head, you know, it goes "when you wake up between the moon and New York City......" I'll tell you something, my wife used to run a restaraunt and is usually quite 'critical' if standards are not up to scratch. Not at HJ's though. If I ever visited New York again, I would think, I'll go to HJ's. Not now though, sadly.
Wow! What a great website. I've been crawling around your site for the last two days, as well as the orangeroof.org site--they both absolutely blew me away. In the subject line I used an old slogan I remember from TV ads that used to run during Saturday morning cartoons back in the 1980s when I was a kid--I'd have guess '83 or '84. As a kid, my family and I travelled considerably in the summers--long road trips all across the eastern states. My favored stop was always a Howard Johnson's Lodge--always had cool rooms, pools, and best of all, attached restaurants that made HUGE sundaes. We stayed at several that I recall, many of which I found on the orangeroof.org site. Columbus, OH, Memphis, TN, Henrietta, NY, etc. I specifically remember the restaurants in Memphis and Henrietta. It saddens me deeply to see that the Henrietta Lodge was demolished a few years ago--and that the sprawling Memphis location on Elvis Presley Blvd seems to have degraded into a seedy existence, with it's restaurant sitting abandoned. I can't tell you what a shame I think it is that the restaurants faded slowly away while other similar priced and positioned chains prospered. I find it odd too that the Lodging chain sunk into such a state of benign neglect that the brand and most of the properties faded away--either extensively renovated and switched to other brands, or stuck in a time warp as HoJo's. The last Lodge I stayed at, in 1994, was in D.C. across from the Watergate--and it literally was an absolute relic, a museum to the 70s--clean and well kept, but hopelessly out-of-date. Alas, it too has disappeared, and is now a GWU dorm. Anyway, great work, you've brought back many memories.
I stumbled onto this site looking for advertising memorabilia. I am so impressed! I love Hojos! Our family trips in the 1960's and 1970's always included stays at Howard Johnson's Lodges and Restaurants. My favorite as a child was the Fried clam dinner! Nothing today can compare as I can remember, although I'm sure a little bias is showing through. I knew the plight of the remaining Hojos but did not know the decline was so rapid. My last Hojos experience was in Camp Hill, PA about 12 years ago. It was very busy. What happened? Fortunately for me, I live within a few miles of the Waterbury, CT Hojo's!!! I guess it should become some sort of a shrine! Funny thing is that it has a really "off the beaten path location", basically in the middle of the dead south end. A friend of mine was the night mgr. of the next door HJ lodge in the 1980's which is now some other motel. I used to stop by and
hang out in the lobby and run next door to the restaurant for coffee or a midnight snack. The staff was really nice and the nostalgia was in the air, although the clientelle staying at the lodge was a little different then what I remembered as a kid! Finding out that Waterbury is the last traditional orange roofed Hojo's, I emailed my Mom (now 80) to tell her about the restaurant and invite her to a nostalgic dinner. She replied that the reason we went there on trips when I was a kid was " it was always the same and children when they are young and traveling are not always happy with something strange and new to them." I worked most of my life for a major retailer once hailed for its success and innovation ( Caldor ) which died in the face of bigger (but not always better!) competition, and am very sad that Hojo's is facing the same end. I hope Waterbury will be the survivor and that maybe the current corporate owner of the motels will realize the strength in the brand for us baby boomers and open a new and updated version of Hojos restaurants to go with the motels. There are plenty of roadside chains that do quite well against fast food competitors. Howard Johnsons has a name and a color that should be able to welcome people everywhere if they can match the quality of the product with the name. If they can focus on one thing that sets them apart from the rest, (it does not have to be nostalgic ) they can come back. In the meantime, I plan to stop at the Waterbury Howard Johnson's this week and order the "clam platter" I enjoyed so much as a kid! R.I.P. Times Square!
Thank you so much for responding to my e mail. I really appreciate that you have worked to keep HoJo alive. When my wife and daughter saw that the Wilmington HoJo was closed they were so upset. All three of us were in love with the MOCHA CHIP ice cream. Several times a year we would drive into Manhattan and buy a few pints from the HoJo that just closed last week. What memories we have over all those years. On freezing winter Sundays we would buy the ice cream and eat it in the Marriott Marquis directly across the street just to keep warm. I sure wish that they sold the ice cream commercially. VERY SAD INDEED!!!!!!! Now, we will not return to Wilmington as HoJo was our primary destination. Best wishes!
Hi! I'm from the Boston area and grew up going to Hojo's. I now live in Tokyo, but return to Boston every year. This year (on June 29), my wife and I drove to the Waterbury location to get an order of clams and some ice cream. While our waitress was quite friendly, the meal itself was *very* disappointing... As one of the last Hojo's, I guess I had higher expectations. The interior of the restaurant was OK, but the men's restroom smelled of urine. Not an orderpowering stench, but it did make me feel that the restaurant was a bit on the dirty side (a dead fly on the windowsill next to my booth also made the restaurant seem less than clean). I ordered the all-you-can-eat fried clam special. I was hoping for a delicious treat, but this wasn't to be.The clams were completely flavorless and *not* even as good as the frozen Tendersweet clams you can still buy at supermarkets in the Boston area. A VERY long black hair was cooked into a bunch of the clams, which looked like a string of Christmas tree lights when I pulled the hair out. (The only reaction I got out of the waitress was an "eeww!" - no offer of a new plate of clams...). Needless to say, I only ate the first plate of clams I received.We got some ice-cream to go, and this was even less than delicious...My ice-cream was chocolate almond. The ice-cream was obvoiusly quite past its "serve by" date - the almonds had gone from crunchy to chewy, the ice-cream itself had absorbed the flavor of the freezer, and any creamy texture was marred with the ice crystals that form on ice cream that has been sitting for ages. I only ate a few spoonfuls.If the food at the Waterbury location is typical of all the remaining Hojo's, then maybe it's a good thing that the chain is dying. I don't plan to make the 6 hour return trip again. The next time I want clam strips, I'll stop into another New England instituition - Brigham's. (Their ice-cream is also a lot better - no chewy almonds served there.) On a final different note, I was wondering if you knew where the Hojo's in Woburn, Ma (on route 128) was located? I only know of the old one on Montvale Avenue. I grew up in the area, but I can't seem to place the one on route 128. Thanks!
Hello. I ate my final dinner last night the Times Square restaurant. It was not too crowded and the smell of death was in the area. Ie, out of many things. I asked the man behind the soda fountain what flavors of original hojo ice cream were left and there were only two, mocha chip and peppermint stick. There was a table of fellow hojo fans across from me as I could hear him talking about Hojos, locations, facts etc. Who knows, maybe one of the was you. The saddest part of the evening was talking to the waiter, a server that I have had many times before. He told me that he had worked there for 30 years and that was the only job he ever had. I felt so bad for this poor man. I asked him if there would be any fanfare for the closing and he said that they were merely going to lock the doors and close the lights. One would think there would be some kind of festivities given the closing of such a landmark. I only wish I could have been there tonight when they closed but I had to go to LA for work. I had my fried chicken sandwich, said my good-byes and left. I was in Wilmington on their final night and Times Square on the next to the last night. Who could be next? On a happier note, I ate at the Waterbury location last week. It was the fist time that I had been there and what gem. Immaculate and the food was some of the best I have ever had at a hojos. I had the open face turkey sandwich and it came with REAL mashed potatoes. Take care. Keep up the good work. I am looking forward to my trip to the Adirondacks this summer to eat at both Lake George and Lake Placid. I have to take a day trip to Asbury Park this summer as well and eat there.
Douglas C. Tubbs
I am a Howard Johnson's Alumnus, having helped to open the restaurant in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1937 and worked there as a teenager for three summers and one summer I personally painted the orange roof. It was franchised to Howard P. Cummings, a former book salesman for McGraw-Hill, who also owned the Kingspath Restaurant and banquet facility on the same property on Warren Avenue, Plymouth. Mr. Cummings went on to manage HJ restaurants in West Roxbury, MA, in New Hampshire, Miami, FL. and other locations. He instigated the practice of pre-prepared and frozen food items during World War II. He became Executive Vice President of the corporation when it went public and was the person responsible for the entry of Howard Johnson into the hotel/motel business. In his later years, spent in Vermont, Florida and England, I was privileged to visit Mr. and Mrs. Cummings and he told me that Howard Johnson didn't want to go into the hotel business but said to Mr. Cummings, " If we do it, you can run it." Mr. Cummings continued to play tennis well into his nineties at his winter home, Delray Beach, FL and his summer home in Jeffersonville, VT where he died , at age 96, February 13. 2002. The last Howard Johnson's that I remember in Massachusetts was alongside the HJ Hotel in Kingston. In recent years, I have also visited HJs in Treasure Island and St. Petersburg Beach, FL, both disappointing. You can tout Ben and Jerry's, Haagen-Das and a few others, but none will ever surpass the Howard Johnson's flavors and quality. The demise of the company started with the elevation of young Howard to the presidency, a position for which he was not temperamentally or otherwise suited.
Selling to a British company with only the interest in the bottom line was OK for young Howard but a huge mistake for the company and the culture that went with it. Now, at age 86, I have very fond memories of my days jerking sodas and grilling "frankforts" and hamburgers. It's sad to see it go.but one additon to that story is that I actually started as a Dutchland Farms employee and used that experience to start at the opening of the Plymouth (MA) Howard Johnson's. I was 18 at the time and still make mental comparisons with my experience and what I now see of students and other teenagers working in today's fast food industry. By the way, I was paid the handsome sum of $15 a week plus one or two 50-cent meals a day. Thanks for keeping this memory alive.
Read an article in my local Sunday paper (The Valley News) written by AP journalist Clarke Canfield. The subject of course was the HoJo decline.I read with interest and emotion as my father worked for Howard "D." and later "Bud" Johnson his entire life..beginning in Quincy and continuing through the zenith of the Pie Man's empire. As a child I went to parties at Howard's "mansion" and thrived on ice cream and prime rib as my Dad was Vice President and General Manager of Red Coach Grilles. I also remember the downside of the restaurant business..missed grade school performances..Dad never being home for holidays or Saturdays. But the staff and clients loved and appreciated the product that my Dad believed in...quality, price, and honest hard work. Howard's retirement actually initiated the decline of an era...his son was interested in profit not promises; he valued the bottom line more than customers. Nevertheless, I have memories and memorabelia from my Father's retirement party which validate the vision of customer service and staff appreciation that Howard Johnson brought to fruition. Thanks for celebrating the goodness.
I, too, am a big fan of Howard Johnson's, having grown up in Rego Park, Queens, NY, where a very unusual HoJo was located. It was a flagship branch built in honor of the 1939 NY World's Fair. It was a most amazing structure, three stories tall with elaborate architectural ornamentation. On either side of the entrance outside were giant cameos of Simple Simon and the Pieman. Inside was a hugh grand staircase that went up to two private ballrooms. The third floor was administrative offices. On the left hand side after entering was a long L shaped counter and stools for people pressed for time. On the right hand side was a hugh formal dining room with bar service. I recalled no expense was spared with regards to the finishes and interior decoration - wood tables and booths, burgundy rugs, orange leather covered seating. The bar also served drinks in specially Simple Simon and the Pieman cocktail glasses. I actually have in my possession two of those glasses as well as several insignia plates thanks to the Fishes Eddy store (which has now gone too commercial and does not sell memorabilia stuff anymore). What was equally amazing was the downstairs lounge area - it was truly a lounge with overstuffed chairs and a very art deco feel to it interms of lighting and etched mirrors with scenes of different birds. It reminded me of the lounge/restroom area of Radio City Music Hall. I am trying to obtain a photograph of the restaurant from the Queen's Historical Society. I also remember the special children's menus that converted to a special paper toy like a funny baseball cap or a small paper model of a Howard Johnson's restaurant (how I wish I kept those now!). Of course, the best time to visit was during the All You Can Eat fried clam or fried chicken days. My favorite ice cream flavor was Fudge Ripple, but I did try all 28 delicious flavors. Another favorite was the tendersweet fried clams in a buttered New England grilled roll, an excellent clam chowder and great hot dogs and beans in an appropriate bean pot with a traditional piece of pork belly on top. It was also my first time having HoJo's version of a big Mac, giving McDonald's (which hadn't arrived in NY yet) a run for it's money. The chicken croquettes and macaroni and cheese were also great favorites. When you paid your bill, you were tempted at the cashier register with HoJo's own chocolate chip cookies, jelly candies (like Chuckles) and melt away mints. I'm soooooo sorry we can't get the food products anymore at the supermarkets here (I REALLY miss the blueberry toastees!) I think your website said Stop and Shop sold the products, but the ones I've visited in the Berkshires, Massachusetts (they used to exist in New Jersey) didn't have any. Before the HoJo in Willamstown, MA closed (it looked like a smaller version of the one in Rego Park, which made me stop there), I was able to obtain a menu that has various other HoJo's on the cover - one of which was my HoJo of Rego Park! It is a cherished possession. The only photo I have of the Rego Park HoJo is one of me at 5 years old in front of the glass door entrance. As I said above, I'm trying to get a photo of the entire building from the local historical society.I am feeling very sad and nostalgic that all the HoJo's are going the way of the dinosaur. I visited the NYC Times Square branch, but it wasn't really the same. Thanks so much for your very detailed and fun website! I also have friend whose elderly aunt was a upper management admininstrator for HoJo's. I'm looking forward to talking with her and mining her memories! Long live Howard Johnson's!!
Jim Sicking (age 66) Cincinnati, Ohio
My first visit to a Howard Johnson's was in Cincinnati Ohio at one of the "old style" orange roof units on Reading Road U.S. 42. It was probably in 1950. Maybe it was a Christmas Eve.It was here I learned about fried clams and the possibility of having a Banana Ice Cream Milkshake to my mom's amazement. Around 1954 one of the New Style units was built on the Corner of Montgomery Road (U.S. 22)and Kenwood Rd where soon a Shopping Center was built. Eventually an expansion of the Center with a department store and garage required the counter end of the restaurant to be demolished and the whole building to be "re-centered" It stayed that way for many years until it was demolished. The garage of the Department Store still stands. Another unit was built in Kentucky across the Ohio River and a Ho Jo Hotel was built north of Cincinnati with a new style free standing restaurant. This building was still standing when the hotel closed as a Marriott. It was a Chinese Restaurant. I haven't checked the status in the last few months but if the building is there I will take a shot of it. The last Ho Jo in town was with a motel and a Ho Jo restaurant in the eighties but not in the Orange Roof style. Now it is an Irish Pub. When the family went east for vacations in the 1950's, that is when we really discovered Ho Jo's with the Pennsy and NJ turnpikes and the Manhattan Locations: 57th street is one I recall and my last encounter at the Times Square in 1998. It was not like the Ho Jo's I remembered. Another one I encountered was in North Adams MA in 1992. It was there that I saw that many of the familiar items had disappeared from the Menu. I was curious as to when that one closed. It was shown as a post card painting in a book called "Gas Food and Lodging" by Jon Baeder.(Abbeville Press)
I hope you will add these experiences to your archives.
During the 1960’s (while in high school and college) I worked at 3 different HoJo’s on the NJ Turnpike: (1) 7S-BS – 7 south bus stop (Cranbury, NJ), (2) 7S –7 south (Cranbury, NJ), and (3)8N – 8 North in Milltown. The 7S-BS was built to handle bus traffic during the time of the NY World’s Fair. Back then, buses did not have any bathrooms, so a facility was needed on the turnpike to handle buses stopping for both food and facilities. I believe that the 7S-BS broke several single day records for most customers and highest gross, when the NY World’s Fair and the Boy Scouts of America held their jamboree in PA. Apparently, all of the scouts at the jamboree went by bus to the fair, and they needed to stop to eat. I worked during those days, and it was quite a fun time. I worked at these facilities from 1963 to 1968 (high school and college), when I finally decided to finish college in North Carolina and Louisiana. These
restaurants were quite stylish, well maintained and well received by the motoring public. It is quite a shame to see these buildings filled with fast-food places today. Good luck on completing your list. I have wondered manytimes what happened to this great institution, and it’s good to see that someone cares enough to put the story out. Many a friend, lover, mate and acquaintance were made while working at HoJo’s. I’m grateful for the experience and the wonderful times I had there.
I am from far away Sri Lanka. I have been to your country but never heard of the restaurants till now. And here is what I am going to say: My first impression of the image is one that is very bland. The looks may have been great then, but not now. Brands are about perceptions and that means people. Over the years the peoples perceptions about food and restaurants have changed. Restaurants are now living things, not just colours. The orange roof no longer matters, in fact it makes the place look so bland. So to the new customer, first impression is, BLAND and who wants to eat bland food. That is how people perceive. Menus must be vigorous, active and make people feel, because if they don't feel, they don't perceive and end of the brand. Likes of KFC, McDonalds, KFC are doing well in USA because they exported it to Europe and Asia. Asian are great adaptors and they adopted these foods and took the experience by millions when they migrated back to USA. In campuses, offices, subways they infected the Americans with the thoughts that the American food is so good. So more Americans ate the KFC and the likes. Brands must be looked, outside in and not inside out. People change and brand must perceive that change or like the dodo that did not change it will get extinct. The name is there but needs rejuvenation. It can be done and still not too late. Miracles don't happen, they have to be made
Dear Sir, I saw your web site , and give you courage for doing it. I am a former employee of HOJO, i worked in the restaurants in Miami area, both the Howard Johnsons, and the Red Coach Grille in Miami, there were so unique, and we had such a loyal following it is to bad that a American icon is dying. I will always remember that great people, politicians, celebrities that i met at the Red Coach Grille in Miami.
Dan Coyle Sr
I worked at the Howard Johnson's restaurant ,which was located on North Main St. in Butler PA, when it opened in 1955. I was also it's youngest cook, I was 16 at the time. The restaurant was owned and managed by a gentleman by the name of Tom Donahue. I don't exactly remember the date this restaurant closed, but I believe it was in the mid 1960's.
What a shame that the HOJOs in Springfield is closed. I spent two weeks at the Holiday Inn there and ate at the restaurant everyday. Why on earth would the motel not want the restaurant anymore. That is not the only memory I have of Howard Johnsons. Growing up in the northeast I spent many a good meal times at one or the other orange roofed establishments. I love their hot dogs and clams and even some of the newer menu items. Golly, I am going to miss them if they all disappear. While I now live and work in Hong Kong, I still like to know that there some things that don't change in America. I guess that is asking too much. Anyway, thanks for the great articles and keep up the good work.
Tom Miles, Jr.
I am 29 years old, my girlfriend's name is Kristina Kucker and she is 21. My "golden era" of enjoying HoJo's regularly with the family was the early 80s into the mid 90s. I too have read a lot about the mismanagement of the Times Square location, including from former employees who said they would be berated in front of customers, and scolded by the extremely cheap manager for things like actually trying to make "thick shakes" thick. I also heard of health violations including a temporary forced closing, and of people who used the bathroom before receiving their meal losing their appetite and nearly leaving in disgust. I believe I saw much of this on the roadsidefood.com forums.I'm glad you enjoyed hearing about my experience and hope others will too. I appreciate your ongoing efforts, and will continue to frequent
your site for the latest news and keep in touch. I also hope to read oreven hear some of your recent interviews.
Thank you for your web-site on Howard Johnson's My first job age 15 was an original HO'JOS in Middletown Ohio in the mid to early 80's I was a prep cook and later a waiter, front desk, night audit and eventually a manager...I hold many great memories of Howard Johnson's In fact when Marriott purchased Howard Johnson's in 1985 I was the first employee in our region to transfer to a Marriott property. Currently I work for Marriott. It is sad was has become of Howard Johnson....; (FYI... the Howard Johnson on Ft. Lauderdale beach recently closed and I just found out today they are going to demolish it for new construction ...Sad !! If you have any questions about Howard Johnson's "I have many memories and stories about my HoJo days. " I remember when we had to start answering the phone HOWARD JOHNSON and I could never get used to it ...because we always answered Howard Johnson's. Anyway thank you so much for your site love it.
Thanks to your website, I have become obsessed with the last 5 HoJo's. I made it a point to drive the 195 miles to the Times Square location last May, shortly before they closed forever. On December 17th, I made it to the Waterbury location. I was very pleased to see how original the exterior of the building seems to be. And now, thanks to Ebay, I'll be collecting HoJo memorablia for my kitchen now. I guarentee I'll make it to the other three sometime this summer. Any hint of which will be the next to fall? None, I hope! Any hint of opening a new place? Is there any way I can find out when these locations closed? For example....what were the last 20 to survive? I can't believe Times Square closed! What is American coming too !
There was a Howard Johnson's Restaurant that I do not see on the list. I believe it was located at the north east corner of 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue, in Manhattan. I went to the building with my mother a number of times when I was a child. One time I was there it was March of 1961, I was 6 years old and remember going to the building my mother owned at 135 East 53rd Street (also called 617 Lexington Avenue) ; NY NY. The ground floor had a Howard Johnson's Coffee Shop/Restaurant, who was one of my mother's tenants. This Howard Johnson's took up most of the lower portion of the building, had doors that opened to the sidewalk and had a very long counter. The doors opened mostly on the 53rd Street side. I don't recall if there were booths, it was a very long counter with many chairs. The man that worked behind the counter was very nice, he knew my mother and had known my father. He used to tell me stories while I sat and drank soda and ate pickles that were in a bowl on the counter. It was a very busy location and a popular restaurant since there was good food and it was just a few steps from the Lexington subway entrance, a newspaper kiosk Many pedestrians would go by and smell the food (which smelled really good) and stop to eat. I think they had hot dogs, sandwiches, grilled food... but I mostly remember the dill pickles and drinking soda. My mother bought the property in November 1945 and from then until my father's death in 1960 my father had his law practice in offices right above the Howard Johnson's. From the front of the building I could see the window of his office when I stood in front of the Howard Johnson's Restaurant. Also in the building there was a barber shop, a newspaper company, a flower shop, a liquor store, a leather goods shop, penthouses and artists studios and of course my father's law offices. I think that it was 5 stories total. I don't know when the Howard Johnson's first located there. But the property was sold April 1971 which was 5 years after my mother passed away. My mother had a long lease with Howard Johnson, who understandably didn't wish to move from that location. (If I had anything to say about it at the time, they wouldn't have had to move). It's unclear to me what exactly transpired since I moved out of the state in 1968 and haven't returned to New York City since. No documents were given to me. I learned about some of the specifics in 2005 and discovered a website which has the property records. The property was acquired by Yellowstone Realty Corp. (aka Lexman Realty Corp. aka Citibank). On "The Midtown Book" website there is a reference regarding Howard Johnson's at the location which was located in part where Citicorp Center is now located: Two retail tenants on the Lexington Avenue portion of the site, a Howard Johnson's coffee shop and Carroll's Pub wanted to remain for the duration of their leases, so the bank's architect, Hugh Stubbins, was instructed to make provisions for a building to be erected around them, if necessary, that would take into account the eventual demolition of their buildings, which the bank had already acquired."
As a teenager my friends and I used to frequent the first roadside restaurant in the Neponset section of Dorchester, Mass. When I married, Howard Johnson's supported our family for many years and my late husband enjoyed his work for the company. And, of course, we all enjoyed eating there. We couldn't afford to take many trips, but when we did, stopping at HoJo's along the highway was a must. My husband worked in the Architectural Department of Howard Johnson's for 30 years. He started working at the offices in Wollaston on April 1, 1953, 6 months before we got married. The offices at that time were in an old three-decker house just across the road from the original Howard Johnson store. I'm not sure exactly when my husband's last day of work for the company was as we had been separated for many years by then. After the company was bought by the English outfit they soon closed the Architectural Department and my husband was let go. Within weeks he began working for Papa Gino's and was still working for them part-time until he died. So many HoJo memories! When our four kids were young, on Friday evenings we often packed them into the car to drive to nearby Concord for supper at HoJo's - that was the best HoJo's around here. We also used to have lots of frozen food from the HoJo commissary in our freezer and my oldest son still enjoys the macaroni and cheese when he can find it, cholesterol be damned! Last year I gave him an original HoJo Simple Simon table lamp which my husband had saved from being discarded many years ago. My son then took a photo of an original Simple Simon neon sign [temporarily on display at a local museum] and hung the picture on the wall over the lamp in his home office. A constant reminder of his Dad. My kids and I took care of my husband at his home in a nearby town before he died in December 1994 and I found a few old HoJo-related materials when I was cleaning out his house and settling his estate.
When I went to college in Binghamton (1972-1976) my (then future) husband and I frequented the HoJo's on Vestal Parkway (Rt. 434) in Vestal NY (just outside of Binghamton, NY). We both worked summer jobs until about 1:00 AM and it was the best place for late-night breakfast or ice cream. They would happily let us linger over endless cups of coffee, sometimes until near dawn, as our relationship developed. We miss this place terribly.
I worked at a HoJo's in Hasbrouck Heights New Jersey - There was a HoJo restaurant ( on route 17 south / bottom of Henry Street that we ate at when I was a kid.- late 60's early 70's
Later it became a Ground Round, where I worked for several years. Currently the building is shared by a Qdoba (Mexican chain restaurant) and a Maggie Moo's (chain ice cream shop)
I also worked at the HoJo restaurant in Seacaucus, NJ on Rt..3.East. My favorite saying from those days was "If a girl looks good in a HOJO uniform [bright orange polyester with an orange plaid apron) she will look good in anything! " Brings back a lot of good memories from working there. Thanks for the great website!
I really enjoyed looking at your site, I have alot of fond memories of the location on Bruckner Blvd in the Bronx. Me and my grandmother used to walk to it from our house a couple of blocks away for ice cream. I would really like to know what year this location opened. FYI the building was torn down after it closed and was replaced by a Roy Rodgers then that was also shut down, the property was then used as a impound yard. It was recently cleared and a Home Depot is now on the spot (the spot where HoJo stood is in the middle of the parking lot).
The Howard Johnson's on Woodward Avenue and Coolidge in Royal Oak Michigan was a major part of the life of my Family. My Mother Evelyn Soehren was a waitress at that location for 35 years as were 2 of my sisters Marie and Nancy, my brother Joe and myself. I feel like I grew up in that store and remember Scooping those 28 flavors with a line out the door. Hand Breading those clams and sitting at home at night Hand printing Placemats to put on the tables. I started working there when I was 14 and stayed with Howard Johnson's for 7 years working at locations such as Ann Arbor, Belleville, Jackson and Redford. I remember standing in the parking lot watching the flames of Detroit during the race riots of Detroit. I remember going out with my best friends, My fellow employees after work to visit another restaurant for a soft drink after we got off or in later years for a beer at the pasquales down the road. I remember the day I got the call that My Mother had been sent home sick later to learn that she had a terminal disease and was never again to know her name or family. She loved that company and gave it everything she had. It was more than an American tradition, it holds memories of some of the best times of my life.
I am thrilled that this archive exists for those of us for whom Howard Johnson restaurants and/or motor lodges played a big role in our lives. My experience with HoJos started in the mid-1960s in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The building is still standing at 3549 West Broadway and has housed a couple of Italian restaurants before being “converted” into a Loan Max Payday Loans branch (see the HoJo Ghosts link for photos…the orange roof still remains, but the stonework has been painted DayGlo yellow). Every Sunday, my Dad and I would attend 6:00am mass at Queen of Apostles Church and afterwards would head to HoJos only a few blocks away for a little pre-breakfast treat and some father-son bonding. We always sat at the soda fountain and I loved spinning around on those tall stools. In the summer, my Dad would let me order ice cream (I usually got lemon or lime sherbet…what the heck was I thinking?) and in the winter, it was always hot chocolate with piles of that amazing HoJo whipped cream. Every once in a while, Dad would spring for a couple of those HoJo chocolate lollipops which I would (usually) take home to share with my younger sister, Jennie.
Years later, at age 13, I landed my first job at HoJos as a dishwasher. Mrs. Meister was the manager and Mr. Goode was her assistant manager. I remember him telling me that I had to clean the restrooms during my shift and that he would come in to inspect them…”and they’d better be clean, kid!” Having earned my allowance for years by cleaning our bathroom at home, I knew how to handle a can of Comet and a scrub brush; I thought Mr. Goode was going to weep when he came in and saw the restrooms gleaming. I worked at HoJos for four years (1973-1977)…full-time during the summers and part-time during the school year. I moved from dishwasher to prep cook to line cook. I also served as soda jerk and waiter and bounced back and forth between roles. I was even asked to forego college and assume the role as assistant manager, but made the decision not to pursue that opportunity. My last day on the job was August 10, 1977…my 18th birthday. A flood of memories come back to me when I think of my time there. All the folks with whom I worked (Mrs. Meister, Mr. Goode, Netha, Mark, Robin, Gloria, Lois, Mary, Nora, Wanda…), all the calories I consumed, all the ice cream and other HoJo food items I unloaded from that huge semi that arrived every 2 weeks, and especially those “secret” Sunday morning treats with my Dad…great times.
In the summer of 1974, the Council Bluffs HoJos was selected to serve breakfast (in the parking lot) to 2,000 RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) participants. Since then, the event has grown to 10,000 riders. I can still smell the pounds and pounds of bacon cooking. My biggest (well, only) brush with fame was waiting on Chuck Roberts of CNN Headline News fame. In the mid-70s, Chuck was a lead TV anchor just across the river in Omaha and after his broadcast would often head east over the bridge for breakfast. As I recall he usually ordered blueberry hotcakes. I can’t recall if he was a good tipper or not.
I could go on, but will close with something that still brings a smile to my face. I’ll never forget the greeting we were required to use each time we answered the phone…”Good morning (afternoon), Howard Johnson Restaurant, Flavor of America, now open 24 hours to serve you…may I help you?” By the time I spit out that mouthful, half of the callers had hung up…the other half were always laughing.
Thanks for the memories, Howard Johnson. We miss you already.
I guess the Hojo corn and blueberry toastees are gone. Because they are not carrying them in my Publix anymore. I have asked, but nobody knows anything. You know this is happening so much lately. There are a lot of items that just disappear from the shelves, and as usual, they always seem to be your favorite. There never were a lot in the freezer and I was always happy to get the few I got. Now there a least 5 huge freezer doors full of waffle and pancake junk. I’m happy I am a senior citizen because I won’t have to miss my toastees for as long as the young kids, who will never know what they missed.
Hi-Great site with great info.
There were Hojo restaurants on Route I-95 northbound and southbound in Rowley, MA. They were on the Georgetown, Boxford and Rowley townline so in other words in the middle of nowhere. There are still rest areas/weigh stations there to this day. They went out of
business when I-95 was widened in 1972-1974. Going there was a special treat for most local people but the great thing was you had your choice of either going to the northbound or
southbound one. I can remember walking through through the woods to the southbound one from a friends house in Boxford in 1970/71. The older high school girls who worked there were called "hojo honeys".
In 1981 I knew nothing of HoJo's, being a Midwestern boy from Iowa, but that was soon to change. My first real job out of college was as an Assistant Manager for Howard Johnson's Restaurants. I told the man who interviewed me that I would dedicate at least 5 years to the job and do my best, uncertain of what I was getting myself into. My service to HoJo's and eventually to Marriott lasted for 17 years.
My first assignment was in Iowa City, Iowa. Training there consisted of the usual management training, but the best part was learning about the food and products! I love ice cream, and this was a dream! The fried flounder and tendersweet clams (as they were called) were outstanding. Other favorites of mine soon became the home-made onion rings and the liver and onions. The commissary provided consistency, and my well-trained staff provided efficient and friendly service, good food, and a comfortable and clean atmosphere.
I also was an assistant in LaSalle/Peru, IL; Urbandale, IA; Rochester, MN; and Bloomington, MN. I became a GM and enjoyed stints in Eau Claire, WI; Kenosha, WI and Indianapolis DT, IN. My last move involved going to the Claremont/Pomona, CA location and converting the HoJo's to a Bob's Big Boy, also owned by Marriott.
Over the years I spent with the company it changed hands 3 times, and different concepts were enacted several times. (HJ Today, PJ Brennan's, Ground Round, Bob's Big Boy) but the support was the same. I later went to Marriott Hotels and Resorts division, but I "grew up" in HoJo's. If any of my former employees or employers read this, know that I enjoyed every minute of it and was proud of the teams we developed and the food and service we provided.
Harold "Bud" Mulqueeney
Came across this site a short time ago and had a lot of long past and now sadly missed
memories of HoJo's with their famous sign of "Simple Simon and the little boy" and their
"28 flavors of ice cream.
Howard Johnson open his first ice cream stand, about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile from where I
currently live in a section of Quincy, Massachusetts called Wollaston. That stand has long
since disappeared and in its place is a plaque commemorating it's original location.
Several years (?) after his first opening, a new and larger ice cream store was opened
along the shores of Wollaston Beach, Ma. and was a few minutes walking distance from
my childhood home. During our summer months it was a favorite place to go with our
parents to have a great-tasting ice cream, "loaded" with chocolate "jimmies" on top on a
warm to hot summer night.
My favorite flavors were cherry and banana, then strawberry and each scoop had lots
of cherries or strawberries mixed in. Oooh, I'm salivating already "tasting those ice cream
cones" in my mind :) !
During our many summer days of swimming and playing on the beach across from the
"open" designed HoJo's, we would build-up a huge appetite for the "greatest-tasting hot
dogs" in America......grilled dogs on grilled buns, with access to mustard, relish, ketchup
and all the onions one could put on the bun!
Their fried clams, with or without the belly, were excellent, along with their fried onion rings,
having the perfect coating of frying batter and spices!
For many years, the local walk-in, sit down restaurants would have an "all you can eat"
fish/seafood fry dinner on a Wednesday, that would satisfy the biggest of appetites anyone would have.
Sadly, HoJo's has gone the way of many past and memorable delights such as the trolley
cars, 3-cent postage stamps, A&P Supermarkets and more.......
As the late comedian Bob Hope would say, "thanks for the memories.....!" : > ( (
Wollaston, MA. 02170
My wife and I live in what used to be a HoJo located along the PA Turnpike. The original building location was at New Baltimore, PA. The popularity of the Midway at Bedford forced the New Baltimore location out of business. The original owner of the "house" bought the HoJo via bid, numbered all the brick/stone, took the building apart, and relocated it in Hyndman, PA. The building has been a residential home since 1947.
We are currently replacing the ORIGINAL windows in the house. Energy costs are just too high for us to keep them. I was wondering if you knew of anyone who collected HoJo memorabilia or would be interested in the original windows. Any suggestions? We would hate to see them go to waste.
Thank you for your time!
My memory of Hojo was when our family traveled. I can recall staying in Motor Lodges and eating "next door" at the restaurants. My favorites were the Tendersweet Clams and Chicken. Of course, the chocolate ice cream for desert. I always had to have something from the gift shop too. I think they marketed about anything they could think of. I am from Zanesville Ohio originally and we had a restaurant at the Airport Road exit off I-70. It has been long gone. A few years ago I researched and found that a Hojo Restaurant was still open in Belle Vernon Pa. I got to eat there once before after driving by that area again to find it had closed.
I used to have a large collection of Hojo items and recently trying to collect again. It would be nice if someone would open up restaurants again and serve the foods we all grew up to enjoy.
Hi my name is Ken Thomas. Iwas born and lived in Wollaston Ma for 22 years. My mother was one of Howard Johnson’s original “paperboys” . Her uncle owned a roofing company Norman W. Pemberton, Roofing,and he had the contract to put on the orange roofs on all the restaurants andhotels. In fct when I was in college one of my duties in my part-time job was to clean the orange tiles.
I just wanted to let anyone in charge know I remember Howard Johnson Restaurants when I was a kid growing up and traveling with my parents. I miss the toastees that were served. The hotdog, and all of the food that was served. It’s a shame that no more restaurants are planned to be opened. If they were I would take my family and enjoy your food again.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Cordially, John Di Carlo