A more recent TV show about Howard Johnson's featured "Mad Men's" Donald Draper and his wife at one.
A young Jacques Pepin, who is now well-know as a chef and cookbook writer worked as an apprentice to Howard Johnson. Pepin said, "He was always going forward, taking chances. He was always enthusiastic and as generous with his spirit as his money."
The Howard Johnson restaurants offered travelers and locals a familiar setting and menu, convenience and even cocktails. These are still the things the more expensive chain restaurants like TGIF, Applebees, Chili's and Olive Garden offer.
Noted Road Food Guy, Michael Stern, said, "The whole concept of Howard Johnson's and its formulas is antithetical to the concept of road food." But, he has fond memories of HoJo's. "They did it with a certain amount of style" and that no one would ever say the food was junk food.
Quite the Man, That HoJo. --RoadDog