Restaurateur: The Last Howard Johnson’s Is Doing Just Fine, Thanks

Image courtesy of Jennifer Juniper mom

Yesterday, the news spread across the country that the last still-operating Howard Johnson’s restaurant was not long for this world, with a great big “AVAILABLE” sign posted outside the eatery in the tourist town of Lake George, NY. However, the restaurant’s owner says things are just fine, and claims that this HoJo’s is not closing.

Compounding the problem was that an Associated Press report about the potential sale came out on a Wednesday, which happens to be the day that the restaurant closes every week. Concerned customers and Howard Johnson’s fans called the restaurant in dismay.

Things are slow in the winter because of that whole resort town thing, business owner John LaRock told the Glens Falls Post-Star, but the restaurant is very busy in the summer. It holds about 300 people.

What’s with the sign, then? LaRock claims that the owner has actually been trying to sell the property for at least 15 years, and a new real estate agent put up the sign. The idea, though, is to let the HoJo stay until at least the end of its lease if a new owner wanted to re-develop the site.

The owner of the restaurant told the Post-Star that he would like to buy the property, and he will have the right to make his own offer if and when an outside buyer makes an offer. After the fuss over the news story, the sign is now gone, according to the paper. The fuss shows that it may have been bad for business.

“We get a lot of people that come in and want to buy the menus and buy anything that says Howard Johnson’s on it,” the business owner said, which could be a lucrative side business in addition to those $4 breakfast specials and plates of fried clams.