Howard Johnson’s Restaurants and Motels

Howard Johnson's Postcard, sometime around 1945
Howard Johnson’s “Dairy Bar” was part of the attraction in 1959. Photo – LogoSubcheck

Howard Johnson’s or affectionately known as HoJo, is a line of motor lodges and restaurants that started as the brainchild of Howard Deering Johnson. Howard Johnson’s was founded in 1925 with its “dairy bar” in Mr. Johnson’s Quincy, Massachusetts pharmacy. Howard Johnson’s restaurants  sprung up along most of American highways. The HoJo restaurant hype was at its peak in the 1970s, being the biggest and most successful food chain in the USA.

It was believed that HoJo opened a restaurant every nine days during its heyday in the 70s.


As the American economy improved through the 1960s and more highways were being developed for the US infrastructure, families were beginning to pour into the diners in droves.

Unfortunately, the business changed ownership in 1979 and although the motor lodges have remained largely successful in operation, its restaurants soon fell in favor due to failing marketing techniques and increasing competition from rival food chains.

A collaboration set out by the former franchise owners of the restaurants attempted to preserve the F&B chain but failed to accrue to necessary funds and were forced to dissolve in 2005.

Since 2018, the outlet at Lake George, New York, remains the sole operating unit of the once illustrious chain of eateries but its fate remains uncertain while some critics refuse to accept its legitimacy due to inconsistencies based on the original menu.

Howard Johnson’s Restaurant TV commercial, early 1960s

Howard Johnson’s Frozen Foods TV Commercial, 1960s

The Last Howard Johnson’s Restaurant

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