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Bill Cotter

Lake George Howard Johnson’s to reopen

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Good news for HoJo fans!

http://blog.timesunion.com/business/lake-george-howard-johnsons-to-reopen/61048/

Times Union columnist Marv Cermak is reporting that the Howard Johnson’s restaurant on Route 9 in Lake George will reopen and plans to have the fish specials and multiple flavors of ice cream.

Here’s his report:

Two years ago this month came news about the Lake George Howard Johnson’s Restaurant being closed for the first time ever and word about the place up for sale at $1.2 million.

My Adirondack scouts just told me they heard the building with the bright orange HoJo signature roof, located on the village’s main drag, is being prepped for a reopening.

Joe DeSantis of building owner DeSantis Enterprises confirmed the report, and said the restaurant will reopen Friday. He said since no one bought the landmark property, it was decided to lease the building to John Larock to reopen as Howard Johnson’s.

“John plans on offering a lot of the old HoJo menu items such as the Friday fish fry and the fried clam specials,’’ DeSantis said. His father, Carl DeSantis, opened the restaurant way back in 1954 when Howard Johnson’s had about 1,000 restaurants nationwide.

In my item two years ago, there was mention about Rachael Ray, Emmy Award-winning Food Network chef, starting her kitchen career at DeSantis’ restaurant many years ago. “Rachael, a Lake George High grad, began here as a dishwasher and moved right up the ladder,’’ DeSantis said. “Her mother was food service manager for my father.’’

Back then, Carl DeSantis had six HoJo restaurant franchises in the Northeast. In more recent times, he’s been owner of Carl R’s, a long-popular Glens Falls restaurant.

Lake George Village Mayor Bob Blais helped me track down this information. “It’ll be great having the place open again,’’ Blais said. He said new operator Larock plans on offering the old HoJo ice cream giant selection of 28 flavors.

Just two other Howard Johnson restaurants are still operating — one in Maine and one in Lake Placid — according to a staff member at the Lake Placid restaurant, who was pleased to hear that Lake George would soon rejoin them.

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Glad to hear they're reopening! I had a nice time there when my father and I visited in 2005 (and we'd also a few days prior stayed at the motel next to the Lake Placid Hojo).

Bangor is where the other remaining one is (the only one that is still part of an overall "Motor Lodge" complex).

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AMEN to that, Mike! Here's the shirt I got there the year they closed. I'll bet there are still shirts on the shelf, just inside the door on the left, next to the HoJo saltwater taffy and HoJo gum and the HoJo soda cooler!

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I often stopped at the Lake George HoJo over the years when I travelled the Northway toward Montreal. Eric, I have also stayed at the Comfort Inn next to the Lake Placid HoJo. It used to be a Howard Johnson's motel but was purchased and converted in the late 1990's. It's not a bad place at all and many of the rooms have great views of the High Peaks. It is right on Lake Placid itself (the village is mainly on Mirror Lake). The LP HoJo restaurant really is a wonderful place. There is a dining area in the back and it has large glass windows with a view of a hillside garden. Landscaped with Adirondack native plants it is lighted at night.

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