Howard Johnson’s Restaurant Chain Approaches End of Era

    While the Howard Johnson hotel chain continues to grow under the Wyndham Hotel Group umbrella, with approximately 500 locations worldwide, America’s iconic restaurant chain is approaching the end of an era. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, one of the three last surviving Howard Johnson’s eateries closed its doors in Lake Placid, N.Y., on March 31, after 57 years in business. The new owners will convert the restaurant into a high-end roadside diner, the article states.

    Howard Johnson’s roots trace back to a small, bright orange-roofed soda fountain in Massachusetts in the mid-1920s. Johnson created a new ice cream recipe that became so popular with customers, he opened additional storefronts to meet the growing demand. From there, his concession stand concept evolved into a sit-down restaurant chain with more than 1,000 locations during its heyday in the 1960s. Mad Men fans may recall an episode where Don and Megan Draper sample the menu at Howard Johnson’s flagship location in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

    The two remaining Howard Johnson’s restaurants are located in Bangor, Maine, and Lake George, N.Y. For more nostalgia, head over to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library/Flickr.

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