One of the last Howard Johnsons restaurants is closing its doors in Waterbury, Connecticut. That will leave only 3 of the original concept restaurants left. One of the first national chains, Howard Johnsons is a fixture in many of our childhood memories. Anyone remember their fried clams and the chocolate shake where if you were nice the waitress left the mixing cup with the extra. Now there are only 3 of the restaurants left, Bangor, Maine, and Lake Placid and Lake George, N.Y.
“Our company … is moving in a new direction for the Howard Johnson’s brand, and we felt the proprietors of the Waterbury property are not what we feel are good franchisees,” said David Kushner, president of La Mancha Group in New York, which owns the Howard Johnson’s brand for restaurants and food products. “Rather than have substandard operators, we decided to start fresh.”
From over 1,000 restaurants to 3. Amazing and sad.
But all is not lost. The new owners of the brand are planning a rebirth.
The company plans to debut a new Howard Johnson’s ice cream in April in the New York metropolitan area and Puerto Rico, then start selling it elsewhere. Once the ice cream is established, the company will start opening restaurants again, probably in mid-2008, Kushner said.
“What we wanted to do is make the brand stronger, getting into people’s minds, and then create the restaurant and ice cream shop concept and move forward that way,” Kushner said. via the Sun Journal
So, keep your fingers crossed and someday you might look at the new construction across town and try to explain to the kids what a HoJo’s is.