Skip to content

A sad scoop about our historic HoJos

09/22/2014

 

One of the last remain Howard Johnson restaurants in the United States plans to close in Bangor.

One of the last remaining Howard Johnson restaurants in the United States plans to close in Bangor soon.

I don’t post many scoops here at Mark in Maine, but I uncovered some sad news during a recent breakfast outing at a Bangor landmark.

The historic Howard Johnson restaurant just off I-95 plans to close its doors soon, ending table and counter service at one of the last remaining restaurants in the once-mighty national hotel chain. Hotel ownership will replace the full-service restaurant with a continental breakfast bar for its guests only.

Jen and I brought friends from out-of-town to eat at the iconic 60’s cafe when we learned of the planned change.

“There’s no date on the closing yet,” a waitress told us. “But it’s going to happen. They already gave us a date and postponed it once.”

A staff of six serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week at the site.

HoJos was busy with the coffee and pancake crowd last Sunday, mostly local senior citizens or hurried travelers. A veteran’s group in matching vests was gathered in one of the restaurant meeting rooms.

“You wonder where all these people are going to go.” said the waitress. “It’s always busy on the weekends.”

I posted glowing review about the Bangor Howard Johnson restaurant last year . I love it. While the place has undergone a few face-lift over the years, its original 1960s bones remain in place. It has a gleaming counter lined with swivel chairs, red and white striped floors, a vintage greeting sign, naughahyde booths, even an old phone booth. It’s like eating on the set of “Mad Men.”

And the food is fantastic. The blueberry pancakes are the best in town. They’re so good, I never order anything else. One of our guest rated the HoJo cakes over a more popular truck stop located just down the freeway.

While Howard Johnson motels remain numerous, the website HoJoLand.com lists just three remaining Howard Johnson restaurants in the United States. In the 1970s, there were more than 1,000 Howard Johnson motels and restaurants operating from coast to coast.

And soon there will only be two.

A sad scoop for a place that used to serve up 28 flavors of ice cream.

 

 

Jen pays our bill at the Howard Johnson restaurant in Bangor. Notice the vintage greeting sign in the background (covered by the specials board).

Jen pays our bill at the Howard Johnson restaurant in Bangor. Notice the vintage greeting sign in the background (covered by the specials board).

Advertisements
3 Comments
  1. Such a bummer! I had hoped to get to all 3 (Bangor,Lake Placid, Lake George) this summer but time escaped me. If you hear when the official closing day is please let me know!

  2. Kris permalink

    HoJo’s was a post-movie/bowling/shopping destination while I was growing up in Wausau. The end of an institution (and era) is sad for all of us with good HoJo memories. Ice cream and onion rings will never be the same.

  3. Tell Geoff Ballotti, president of Wyndham Hotel Group, and John Valletta, the brand president of Howard Johnson that you want Howard Johnson’s restaurants to be an integral part of their upcoming brand revitalization.

    geoff.ballotti@wyn.com

    john.valletta@wyn.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Revisiting Montana's Historic Landscape

30 Years in the Big Sky Country

RoadsideArchitecture.com -- the companion blog

roadtrips & posts documenting vintage signs, statues, buildings, and more

Outside In Duluth

Outdoor. Kid. Fun.

Digital Storytelling | University of Minnesota Duluth

Featuring student work from the University of Minnesota Duluth Journalism program.

Laura's Birding Blog

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

Outdoors with Sam Cook

Exploring the North Woods

365 Days of Birds

Duluth, Minnesota based birder / photographer. Sax-Zim Bog naturalist.

Mark in Maine

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

Ed's Big Adventure

He farms! He writes! He paints!

Zenith City Online

Celebrating Historic Duluth, Western Lake Superior & Minnesota's Arrowhead

Perfect Duluth Day

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

Time to play b-sides

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

Digital Nomad

Travel Dispatches from Robert Reid

SUBSTREET

history under ground

Czechesotans

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

Little Brown Mushroom

Little Brown Mushroom

Penobscot Marine Museum

What happens when a Twin Cities townie follows his wife into the woods?

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: