Oh, sure, we take this stuff for granted today (except for Howard Johnson’s). Yet every now and then I feel a need to thank the Internet and Google for doing what they do best: finding answers to questions that would otherwise nag me no end.
This morning I read a story about the impending closure of the Howard Johnson’s restaurant in Lake Placid, N.Y. As the story noted, this iconic eatery, owned and operated by the same family for more than 50 years, is one of only three HoJo’s restaurants still in operation in the United States.
Where are the other two?
Well, the story does not tell us, which ticked me off both as a reader and an editor.
However, thanks to the Internet, Google – and the Associated Press -- I was able to find the answer in about 10 seconds:
"Two are still operating. One is attached to a hotel in Bangor, Maine, and the other is in Lake George, a tourist destination 60 miles south of Lake Placid. The Lake George HoJo's reopened in January after being closed for three years."
But wait, there’s more. These stories stoked a memory ember of my own that there had been a Howard Johnson’s restaurant in the town where I grew up, North Attleboro, Mass. I wasn’t sure, though, as it could have been just nearby.
Another 10 seconds with Google, and … not only was I right, but I was rewarded with pictures and a succinct history of the place:
Initially opened as a seasonal stand offering a limited menu, the North Attleboro location grew into a full-service Restaurant by the late 1930s when it received a substantial renovation and addition. Its large addition served as the Restaurant's main dining area and architecturally tied the building into HoJo's style of the day.
The circa 1930s building was destroyed by fire in the 1950s and replaced by a seventy-seven unit Nims-type. Seen at bottom, a thirty-eight seat addition was added in 1960 to increase the Restaurant's capacity.
It may have been the location of my very first restaurant meal. Neither Google nor the Internet can confirm that, however.