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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:52 pm 
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If you grew up in the Massachusetts, RI, CT area, you will especially remember the Howard Johnson's restaurants.

https://www.capecod.com/lifestyle/the-history-of-howard-johnsons-restaurant/

The History Of Howard Johnson’s Restaurant
June 4, 2017


In the 21st century restaurant franchises are commonplace. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, and countless others have become staples when it comes to the country’s eating habits. Cape Cod is no different as one can attest to when driving along Route 28 as familiar logos and colors of these establishments have been ingrained in our culture for decades.

Restaurant franchises are the norm today, but did you know that the very first restaurant franchise ever was located on Cape Cod? In Orleans where Route 28 and Route 6A meet once stood the very first franchised restaurant, a name that became a part of American history throughout much of the 20th century. That name was Howard Johnson’s.

Howard Deering Johnson, the chain’s creator, grew up just outside of Boston in the town of Quincy. Johnson’s first foray into business came when he purchased the drugstore where he had been working in 1925 on Beale Street in Quincy’s Wollaston neighborhood. There he would begin his journey toward nationwide recognition by adding butterfat to his homemade ice cream, coupling that with higher quality ingredients.

The staff of the Howard Johnson’s from Summer 1936, courtesy of http://samsscrapbook.com/

The ice cream became a huge hit. This was followed by grilled hot dogs and fried clams at the store bringing in droves of customers. Johnson then opened an ice cream stand in 1925 on Wollaston Beach next to a home he was leasing for the summer. Legend has it Johnson sold as many as 14,000 cones in a single day at his stand.

In 1929 the first traditional Howard Johnson’s restaurant would open in Quincy Square with business booming initially. However the Stock Market Crash in October curbed any growth of the restaurant and nearly put Johnson out of business. Johnson survived and in the coming years would take a chance on a new idea, that being franchising.

In 1935 Johnson had the desire to open a new restaurant in Orleans on a tract of land owned by Eugene Sprague. Located where Route 28 met Route 6A it was a perfect spot to catch the eye of thousands of motorists daily. Time and money were the sticking points as Johnson did not have the time to run a second location nor the money upfront to lease the land. A compromise was met when Johnson asked Eugene’s son Reginald, a lifelong friend, about his desire to operate the second location. A franchise was born.
Howard Johnson would sell the rights to use his name and logo in addition to shipping the same food products to another site. Thus the new location would essentially be a carbon copy of the original. It was a new concept for the restaurant industry. A half-acre plot of land would be developed into a new Howard Johnson’s which opened in May 1935.

The project left Reginald $17,000 in debt, fortunately it was a success. By the end of the summer of 1935 the restaurant was serving as many as 700 meals per day, not including ice cream. Initially opened seasonally within two years Sprague had paid off his debt. Piggybacking on the success of the first franchise in Orleans Johnson would press on. Within the same year new franchises would open in Dorchester and Dedham. By 1939 there were 107 Howard Johnson’s located in every New England state but Vermont as well as seven other states. These locations would gross annual revenue of $10.5 million or over $183 million in 2017.

Throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s Howard Johnson’s would become a symbol of Americana. Its iconic orange roof and Colonial Revival architecture made these places visible from a great distance. The hot dogs, fried clams, hamburgers, and twenty-eight flavors of ice cream made it a must for any traveler. At its peak during the 1970’s there would be more than 1,000 locations opened across the United States.

On Cape Cod the success of the first Howard Johnson’s led to a subsequent location opening in Hyannis on Main Street where Fresh Ketch operates today. There would also be restaurants at the Bourne Rotary, at 350 Bradford Street in Provincetown, on Route 28 in West Dennis, on Route 28 in Centerville, and briefly on Main Street in Falmouth.

As for the original, it would remain successful. This was in part due to the staff of loyal locals, many of whom would remain members of the Howard Johnson’s family for decades. It gave the first link in a long chain a feeling of a small-time Mom & Pop run diner. These employees became family and would hold reunions long after the restaurant itself had changed hands.

The Lost Dog Pub which sits at the former location of Howard Johnson’s today, courtesy of Chris Setterlund

Howard Johnson’s would add a string of highly successful motor lodges to its repertoire beginning in 1954. A location still resides today in West Yarmouth, though it now falls under the umbrella of Wyndham Hotels. Howard Deering Johnson would go on to also create a pair of other successful franchises familiar to longtime Cape Codders: Red Coach Grill and Ground Round. Johnson would retire in 1959 leaving the operation to his son Howard B. Johnson. The patriarch of the franchise died in 1972 with his chain still flying high.

Howard B. Johnson would sell the company in 1979 for $630 million. Slowly the number of Howard Johnson’s restaurants began to dwindle. The original franchise in Orleans would become Adam’s Rib in 1979 before changing to Fog Cutter. Today it is the Lost Dog Pub. As of June 2017 the last Howard Johnson’s restaurant resides in Lake George, New York and is currently up for sale meaning the end of the chain’s existence could be imminent.

It will still live on thanks to HoJoLand.com, a book on the history of Howard Johnson’s by Osterville author Anthony Mitchell Sammarco, and the plaque designating the site of the first franchise where Route 28 meets Route 6A in Orleans.

By Christopher Setterlund

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:19 pm 
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Thanks Linda!! Pistachio ice cream in a sugar cone please :wink: :D

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:23 pm 
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Linda, what great memories you just brought me! We grew up in Pawtucket, RI and always went to HJ's. When we moved to Johnston we went to one there also. All you can eat fish fry! Also where I probably started loving pistachio ice cream. We drive by the Lost Dog Pub all the time and never knew that's where it all started.
While driving thru Warwick last month, I looked over at a restaurant on Jefferson Blvd and couldn't remember what it used to be when I was a kid, but now I remember it was Red Coach Grill. They served us kids ice cream sundae "clowns" when it was your birthday...a scoop of ice cream with a sugar cone upside down on top like a clown hat, with whipped cream as the clown hair. :lol: Thanks!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:37 pm 
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I was a waitress at a Howard Johnson's in Clearwater Florida, fall of 1969.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:51 pm 
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My Aunt Ann worked at the Howard Johnson’s headquarters as a secretary for a Vice President. They always had loads of ice cream in their freezer! I loved the fried clams- they had the absolute best tartar sauce! My dad and aunt grew up in Wollaston. Good memories!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:58 pm 
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beachgirl612 wrote:
Linda, what great memories you just brought me! We grew up in Pawtucket, RI and always went to HJ's. When we moved to Johnston we went to one there also. All you can eat fish fry! Also where I probably started loving pistachio ice cream. We drive by the Lost Dog Pub all the time and never knew that's where it all started.
While driving thru Warwick last month, I looked over at a restaurant on Jefferson Blvd and couldn't remember what it used to be when I was a kid, but now I remember it was Red Coach Grill. They served us kids ice cream sundae "clowns" when it was your birthday...a scoop of ice cream with a sugar cone upside down on top like a clown hat, with whipped cream as the clown hair. :lol: Thanks!



You grew up in "the Bucket"!!?? David is from CF. RI is a small world. :D

Ann, I love pistachio ice cream. With jimmies. I never think to buy them in the grocery store but when we go out for a cone, no matter what flavor, it has to have jimmies on it.

Ardy, I'll bet you were the cutest HoJo's waitress ever.

And mdzone - I forgot about the fried clams (and tartar sauce)! Yum!!



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:13 pm 
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I remember one in Lynbrook, LI.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:04 pm 
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I remember going to HoJo's as a kid.
Kristen.....we should go to Newport Creamery for a clown sundae. :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:44 pm 
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Linda, I lived in Pawtucket until I was 9 and went to James C Potter Elem School next to a certain toy company. :wink: Moved to Johnston when I was 9, but attended high school back in Pawt at St Raphael Academy near McCoy Stadium. FIL just sold his house in Taunton, SIL just moved from E Taunton to farmhouse on 8 acres in Rehoboth. Very small world, huh?

MLL I'd love to! Although I used to get the cowlick cone... pistachio ice cream in a waffle cone, dipped in hot chocolate sauce then rolled in walnuts. OMG I'm so full just thinking about it!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:03 am 
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I remember the HoJos and the ice cream. I stayed at a few of the HoJos when I traveled over the years. But what I remember most is a "not for here" joke...

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:19 am 
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There is a Howard Johnson motel on Hancock Street in Quincy. Opened in 2017.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:29 am 
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Quote:
In the 21st century restaurant franchises are commonplace. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, and countless others have become staples when it comes to the country’s eating habits. Cape Cod is no different as one can attest to when driving along Route 28 as familiar logos and colors of these establishments have been ingrained in our culture for decades.


It's a statement on our society that even when we travel somewhere else, we expect to find the same things we do at home.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:01 am 
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Neat story. We had a Ho Jo's (as we called it) in our home town / county seat. I don't ever remember stepping foot in the motor lodge or the restaurant. It seems I missed out on some good ice cream!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:37 pm 
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Karen worked at Ho - Jo for a very short time (senior year high school) customer ordered liver & onions she very politely asked with the cirrhosis or without? That abruptly ended her Ho-jo career

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:24 pm 
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confused1 wrote:
Karen worked at Ho - Jo for a very short time (senior year high school) customer ordered liver & onions she very politely asked with the cirrhosis or without? That abruptly ended her Ho-jo career

:lol: :lol: :lol:
I’m almost peeing myself!

I thought rt 138 in canton was the first one. Right down the road from the HJ mansion in Milton.

Grew up in Dedham so it was way before my time that one was there but did eat at RCG and Ground Round ( walpole) many times.


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