When it was announced last year the iconic Howard Johnson Restaurant in Lake George was reopening, residents and tourists alike welcomed its return. At the time, the Lake George HoJo was only one of three left on the planet. Soon, it will be the only one.
The HoJo in Bangor, Maine, will be closing its doors after September 6th. Stephen King, who lives in Bangor, frequented the establishment often to enjoy the patty melts and milkshakes, but even having a celebrity visitor couldn’t save the restaurant.
“It’s not worth it to keep it open. We tried for four years,” Sally Patel told the Associated Press. Patel explained that as business slowed over the years they tried scaling back their hours to just breakfast and lunch, but it wasn’t enough. “We felt bad to close it.”
HoJo was once the largest restaurant chain in the US during the 1960s and 1970s, and at one point had over 800 locations. Howard Deering Johnson started the restaurant just outside of Boston in 1925 when he inherited a soda fountain.
The restaurant grew into a successful chain from there, featuring family-friendly comfort food like fried haddock, clams, and root beer floats. Baby boomers in particular have a fondness for this wholesome restaurant with the orange roof, taking them back to a time when the family could go out together for ice cream and have it served to them in retro glass ice cream dishes.
Although the second to last restaurant in the chain is closing its doors – the one remaining HoJo location in Lake George is forging on.
“We’re doing great,” owner John LaRock told the Associated Press. “We’re going to do some renovations this winter. Spruce it up, keep it going. Knowing I have the only one left makes it special.”
The Lake George HoJo is also open year round, allowing locals, skiers, and Winter Carnival visitors a chance to visit this classic restaurant throughout the winter months.
- Associated Press: Howard Johnon’s restaurant to close, leaving only 1 more