Always wanted to take a Don (and Megan) Draper-style road trip to a Howard Johnson’s and eat one of those legendary 28 flavors of ice cream? Your time may be running out.
Currently, there are only two Howard Johnson’s left in the entire United States, with the Northeastern towns of Lake George, NY and Bangor, ME holding on strong to the orange-roofed, motel-restaurant tradition.
It wasn’t always this way, though. The fast casual staple once dominated roadsides across America, outselling McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King combined in 1965 while serving as a status symbol of post-World War II capitalism and road trip freedom.
While some might take the shuttering of a third HoJo just a month ago in Lake Placid, NY as a bad omen, John LaRock—the owner of the Lake George location—still revels in visitors who make a pit stop for the sake of nostalgia. He says,
If you’re planning on hitting the road this summer for one final go at a HoJo, here are some of the menu highlights to get your stomach (uh) rumbling:
1. Pork loin and applesauce arrives with access to an unlimited salad & fruit bar, potato and vegetable of choice, “herb stuffing” and gravy. Come hungry, ask for extra gravy.
2. Chicken chausser is a fanciful creation combining baked boneless chicken breast with a super-sauce made up of wine, mushrooms and tomato sauce. It’s a dish supremely befitting the former Betty Draper.
3. You can order scrod four different ways: baked, fried, on a bun or broiled. This is a Mecca for scrod lovers. #scrod
4. Beef burgundy curiously combines “beef cubes” with mushroom gravy then serves it over rice. Again, arrive famished and be ready not to discriminate.
5. A grilled frank (hot dog) and clam chowder combo is available for those who can’t decide between wintertime and barbecue weather comfort food.
6. Liver and onions is ready and waiting for you, because who doesn’t want to eat that in public?
7. For dessert, though, go with the Don Draper favorite and get the orange sherbert.