Howard Johnson's, New England, 1940s/1950s
Howard Johnson’s was once America’s biggest restaurant chain and still evokes memories in many people of road trips and family meals of fried clam strips and ice cream.
HoJos, as it was known, began life as a pharmacy and soda fountain in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1925. Businessman Howard Johnson saw that customers were queuing up for his ice-cream and milk shakes - rather than the items on sale in the drugstore – and soon had his first sit-down restaurant. By the time America entered the Second World War, there were more than 200 franchised or company-owned Ho Jos.
HoJo’s 28 flavors of ice cream, containing double the butterfat of most of its competitors, were particularly popular. In 1948, Johnson told LIFE magazine that the company had sold over 5 billion ice cream cones.
The flavors were: chocolate chip, chocolate, mint chip, cocoanut, coffee, fudge ripple, ginger, banana, black raspberry, frozen pudding, butter pecan, buttercrunch, butterscotch, caramel fudge, burgundy cherry, grape nut, lemon stick, macaroon, maple walnut, peanut brittle, mocha chip, orange pineapple, peach, pecan brittle, strawberry ripple, peppermint stick, pineapple, pistachio and strawberry.
The company reached its peak of 1,000 restaurants located alongside America’s sprawling highway system – all with the familiar orange roofs with pops of turquoise, weather vanes and fiberglass Simple Simon and the Pieman logos - in the 1970s.
But the proliferation of other fast-food outlets like McDonalds, and changing tastes, sparked the beginning of the end of the restaurant chain.
In 1979 Marriott bought the company and shut down the company-owned restaurants, either demolishing them or converting them into other restaurant chains.
Though the Howard Johnson hotel chain still operates – now owned by the Wyndham Hotel Group - the last Howard Johnson’s restaurant closed in 2017 in Lake George, NY.
This menu is from the late 40 or early 50s.
Courtesy Lou Greenstein
Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks. Custom printed with border for matting and framing.
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Each product is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu where available.