Forget MoJo, Let's Get It On at the HoJo like FloJo.
March 6, 2003 12:59 AM   Subscribe

Species on the brink of Extinction: The Forgotten HoJo. Once numbering in the thousands during the 1970s, the recent death of the Times Square HoJo nyt leaves the world with only 10 of these endangered habitats. Check out this extensive gallery of the tragic empty carcasses that was once as abundant on the American landscape as the noble buffalo. Here is a good retrospective of the history from the earliest to its glory years. If you fancy a pilgrimage, eschew your crappy SXSWs and festivals this summer and embark on HOJOPALOOZA. I'll see you there with a single tear running down my cheek.
posted by Stan Chin (13 comments total)
Really and truly, if you have the time be sure to check out the History link (the first link has some interesting ideas about saving HoJo in the stories section, but sparse). The story of Howard Johnson Restaurants and Motels is the legacy of the American traveler on the Interstate system, and how through the apathy of Howard Johnson's son faded into history. There is a very excellent article from the New Haven Advocate in the Google Cache if you're interested:

We had made an important discovery: The spirit of Howard B., Howard the cost-cutter, no longer hovers over HoJo's. Monday through Friday mornings, breakfast can be had for a bargain $2.99. On Wednesday and Friday, an all-you-can-eat fish fry or fried clam dinner is an astonishingly cheap $6.25. So we returned on a Friday two weeks later for another fried clam dinner and also to gauge whether the restaurant was going to survive as a Howard Johnson's. If it couldn't fill the dining room on a Friday evening with all-you-can-eat for a rock-bottom price, I figured that Simple Simon and the Pie Man would soon be retiring.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:32 AM on March 6, 2003

Actually use this link from the Wayback Machine for that Article. That one has pictures.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:37 AM on March 6, 2003

Say it ain't so, Joe!

(I was scattering bad puns through the MeFi way back when Stan wasn't old enough to have a chin... dang hippersnapper)
posted by wendell at 5:00 AM on March 6, 2003

Thanks for the links, Stan. Obviously, now that we're all soaring around in hydrogen-powered hover-vehicles, a roadside restaurant chain doesn't have much chance of survival.

One thing about living way out here in the woods -- they haven't heard yet in Bangor, Maine, that all the others have closed. I'll have to take my kid there to get ice cream, so that he can see the 'dinosaur.' (For me, the HoJos of my youth always meant a chance to pick up some peppermint stick ice cream.)
posted by LeLiLo at 5:37 AM on March 6, 2003

As a kid, when we'd go visit my grandparents in Central Vermont, we'd always stop at the Hojo's in Brattleboro. I loved the burgers and the Sherbert Freezes. I also seem to remember it as one of the few restaurants where smoking was not only permitted but encouraged. I also remember that it was cool in that it wasn't McDonald's or Burger King, but it wasn't some "fancy" place where I had to feel all stifled and on my best behavior.

Well, get yer HoJo workin'...
posted by jonmc at 6:15 AM on March 6, 2003

Just so everyone doesn't get too teary-eyed, Howard Johnson Hotels and Inns still number in the hundreds, and perhaps thousands. There's 5 in Boston alone. They usually have restaurants in 'em, too. So you can still get your fill of swill.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:53 AM on March 6, 2003

When I clicked the link, I expected a whorehouse/coffeehouse.
posted by agregoli at 6:54 AM on March 6, 2003

Umm...the Times Square HoJo's is alive and well.

There was an article about the owners thinking about closing it, but in order to do so they must file their plans with Franchise Associates (parent company of what's left od HoJo's), and they haven't done it.

So go there. Often. If they have a lot of business there will be no reason to close.

I recommend the bar in the back. Also, the sign out front that says "may we suggest a decanter of Manhattan?"
posted by notclosed at 6:55 AM on March 6, 2003

"Howard Johnson got his Ho-Jo workin'...Ho-jo workin' on me..."
posted by stifford at 7:06 AM on March 6, 2003

There was a Howard Johnson's in Nashville a few years ago, but I'm not sure if it's still there. The HoJo's that I remember going to as a kid is now a strip club called "The Mouse Trap."

At least Howard Johnson will have his World Series ring to remember the good times.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:52 AM on March 6, 2003

yes, notclosed, the bar at the Times Square HoJo is great. It's like stepping into a '50s timewarp.
posted by Vidiot at 9:57 AM on March 6, 2003

When I was a tyke, there was a HoJo's just a few blocks from our house. But then it closed (this was back in the 1960s), and it was reported in the newspaper that the reason they'd closed was that they wouldn't let the city health inspector into their kitchen.

After that story, my folks would never take us to HoJo's.

Looking back, we used to pass about a zillion Stuckey's on the free way while vacationing as well, and my folks never took us there, either. Maybe they were just cheap.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:05 AM on March 6, 2003

The HoJo's in Asbury Park is amazing -- great round building, with an upstairs that is "open for receptions", and it is right on the boardwalk.

Of course, much of Asbury Park around it is falling down. I really hope that the HoJo's survives whatever "revival" that they keep trying to make happen there..
posted by armacy at 11:04 AM on March 6, 2003

« Older Saying goodbye to a mentor   |   Ah, good times. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments