It's 2022 and incredibly it is only this year that we see the closure of the final location of Howard Johnson's restaurants. Once sporting a thousand locations, "HoJo's" as many called it, is really gone for good.
The final location resided in Lake George, NY which is a popular summer destination. Many visit the area to camp, fish, and boat along the massive lake. With a captive group of vacationers, it makes sense that this location was able to stay open well past the years of all the other HoJo's. Ed Mazza at HuffPo has more on this and how the restaurant wasn't exactly providing a stellar experience.
The second-to-last HoJo restaurant [in Bangor, Maine] shut its doors in 2016. The Yelp reviews of the Lake George location suggested that the restaurant hadn’t exactly been at the top of its game in recent years.HuffPo
One called it “a shell of its former self,” while another said the “place has been going downhill for years.”
“If you come here expecting those nostalgic memories to come back, you will be disappointed,” wrote one reviewer.
I remember when I was younger having meals at various HoJo's during vacations. They were as much a staple as McDonald's when traveling, but you knew you were getting a good sitdown experience there. Combined with the hotels (which are still around), seeing the signs and logos was a welcome place to stop.
Mazza goes into more detail about what may have been the ultimate catalyst for the closure. The location's operator was arrested in 2017 for harassment and then sentenced to six months in prison. This, combined with fluctuating operating hours and being closed for long periods of time, didn't bode well for the location.
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