Monday, May 16, 2005

". . . twilight time for Howard Johnson's."

The non sequitur Tootsie Pop reference at the tail end of the last post marks a possible return of Novitiate Notes’ long-neglected pop-culture apostolate. Now here’s a more credible sign of the resurgent vitality of the ol’ PCA (not that I ever called it that before). Today’s Globe has an article on the slow but steady demise of Howard Johnson’s restaurants. A legendary chain that once numbered approximately 850 eateries is now down to eight restaurants, mostly in the Northeast. For my own part, I’m not sure if I ever actually ate at a HoJo’s. I might have done so at some point – probably on a family vacation – but I could be thinking of the many IHOP and Denny’s locations I’ve visited. My only concrete HoJo’s memory has to do with the train set I had when I was a kid. One thing I used to like about having a train set was getting new buildings to add to the tiny town that my dad had constructed for the train to go through. Among the many train set buildings available at our local hobby store was a scale model of a Howard Johnson’s restaurant; I never got one, but the fact that such a thing existed suggests the extent of HoJo’s cultural reputation. Even if Howard Johnson’s hasn’t played much of a role in my own history, I’ll miss this American institution after its probable demise. HoJo’s, we hardly knew ye. AMDG.


At May 17, 2005 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Around 1991, in York, PA, at a Studebaker Swap Meet, we stayed at a HoJos Motel with a HoJos Restaurant on site (separate building), we had breakfast on a Sunday morning. The motel is now managed by another chain, and the restaurant seems to be locally run. Ring any bells?

At May 19, 2005 1:47 AM, Blogger Joseph Koczera, S.J. said...

Now that you mention it, Dad, I remember the place you're talking about - the motel up on the hill in York, next to a highway. I also remember driving by on a later visit and noticing that the place had changed hands, but I didn't think of it as a HoJo's until you drew the connection. Thanks for jogging my memory.

At May 24, 2005 8:19 PM, Blogger LilBucner said...

in Northeast Philly - today a neighborhood much like a Waltham without a Brandeis - there was a HoJo's motor inn and separate, detached HoJo restaurant. I have never eaten in a HoJo's, but I always got the impression that it was much like Denny's or IHOP.


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