The Last Howard Johnson’s in the Universe

February 14, 2017

America’s first great restaurant chain comes to the end of the road

A few months ago, on a chilly Thursday afternoon in late October, Jon LaRock rubbed his hands together and looked out over the empty parking lot in front of his restaurant. As a blanket of thick, wet snow began to settle on top of it, LaRock started pacing. Snow signals the start of the slow season in the sleepy resort town of Lake George, New York, and it had arrived earlier than usual. The battered sign outside, ringed in burnt orange, seemed to beckon through the flurries to