Popular culture

Howard Johnson’s last surviving restaurant closes – FOX13 News Memphis

LAKE GEORGE, NY – The iconic restaurant with its iconic orange roof has closed its last location.

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Howard Johnson’s last restaurant, located in Lake George, New York, has closed and the property is up for rent, WTEN-TV reported.

The Lake George location was opened in 1953 by the DeSantis family and operated in the popular summer vacation area near the Adirondack Mountains, according to CNN. The rental listing mentions a price of $10 for the 7,500 square foot property, The Times-Union of Albany reported. Low rental prices are often used in real estate to stimulate interest in difficult properties, according to the newspaper.

The DeSantis family still owns the property.

A representative from Exit Realty Empire Associates told WTEN on Tuesday that the property has been listed since December 2021.

The restaurant chain, known for its fried clams and sundaes, was part of popular culture. Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick included it in a scene from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” The Times-Union of Albany reported. He also received a nod in Mel Brooks’ 1974 comedy classic “Blazing Saddles,” with actor John Hillerman playing the “original” Howard Johnson in the fictional Rock Ridge.

The longtime roadside oasis had about 1,000 restaurants in the 1960s and 1970s and was once America’s largest restaurant chain, according to CNN.

It became a victim of fast food culture as consumers chose restaurants such as McDonald’s and Burger King over “HoJo’s”. The Lake George closure follows restaurant closures in Lake Placid, New York, in 2015, and Bangor, Maine, in 2016, the Times-Union reported.

“Lake George is officially dead,” wrote a Howard Johnson fan in a Facebook post, adding several photos of the abandoned restaurant. “Cobwebs on the door. Just before Memorial Day, rush here.

Jonathan LaRock, a former vending machine salesman, bought the Lake George restaurant in 2015, the Times-Union reported. It closed when he was arrested and later convicted of harassing at least 15 staff members, according to the newspaper. It reopened under Bill Sullivan in 2018, WTEN reported. He kept it open, stopping occasionally when the COVID-19 pandemic forced another temporary closure.

Howard Johnson’s brand of hotels, motels and RVs, which are separate from restaurants, is owned by the Wyndham Hotel Group, the Times-Union reported.