Sure, you aren't going to get gourmet food here. But then again, times were much different in the 1950s ... things were simple and that is the way they stay at this Howard Johnson's. This is one of the only two Howard Johnson restaurants left in the United States. This is pretty amazing considering there were orange roofed Howard Johnsons at almost every rest area or exit on the Northeast. The orange roofs today are pretty much gone ... as are the 1950s architecture. In fact, anyone who recently watched the episode of Mad Men where Don Draper brings his fiance to a Hojo restaurant will notice that it was mostly CGI graphics that made up the recreation of the Howard Johnson's in the episode.
And it looked so amazing and fun, I knew I had to take a road trip to try the original before it too becomes an extinct part of nostalgia. The first thing that hits you about this is that it doesn't look like a Howard Johnson's as far as one would expect from a google search. There is no bright orange peaked roof, sky blue interior or atomic 50's style architecture with giant glass windows. This looks like a beat up, little roadside restaurant in any mill town.
However, the menu has kept pretty much the same throughout the years and you can find the 'classics' such as the clam roll, burgers and fries, etc. Nobody is going to call this food amazing ... it is simple, hearty American comfort food. There are no frills but it's done right. Tasty and deep fried and grilled perfect. All the reasons why American waistlines have grown over the years as we became complaicent with the TV dinner and fried or grilled foods.
However, here it seems alright to eat this stuff because it is simply ... American. Classic.
So for those who came here and think that the service is terrible or that the food isn't up to the standards of other hash houses and burger joints ... you might be right. But hopefully people will still keep going here because this is one of the last in a long line of dinosaur roadside restaurants from the 1950s that hasn't changed much. This is no Johnny Rockets. This is the real deal, blast from the past. If I am ever in the area, I will go back for sure if nothing else as a way to experience a simpler time without having to go through 'theme park cheese' recreations to do it.
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