A History of Howard Johnson’s: How a Massachusetts Soda Fountain Became an American Icon (American Palate)

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Learn more about the “Father of the Franchise Industry” in this illuminating history about the Howard Johnson restaurant franchise and the man behind it all.

Howard Johnson created an orange-roofed empire of ice cream stands and restaurants that stretched from Maine to Florida, and all the way to the West Coast. With a reputation for good food at affordable prices, hungry customers would regularly return for more. The attractive white Colonial Revival restaurants, with eye-catching porcelain tile roofs, illuminated cupolas and sea blue shutters, were described in “Reader’s Digest” in 1949 as the epitome of “eating places that look like New England town meeting houses dressed up for Sunday.” Highlighted in television shows such as Mad Men and films Netflix’s 2019 The Irishman, it’s obvious that Howard Johnson’s occupies an indelible and pleasant place popular culture. Boston historian and author Anthony M. Sammarco recounts how Howard Johnson introduced twenty-eight flavors of ice cream, the “Tendersweet” clam strips, grilled frankforts and a menu of delicious and traditional foods that families eagerly enjoyed when they traveled.

A History of Howard Johnson’s: How a Massachusetts Soda Fountain Became an American Icon (American Palate)
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