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The new Howard Johnson’s Family Restaurant in Lake George: Very retro & yummy

The new Howard Johnson’s Family Restaurant in Lake George: Very retro & yummy
The perfect buttery diner grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread

The perfect buttery diner grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread

Hojo's classic cheese burger with french fries

Hojo’s classic cheese burger with french fries

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The spacious dining area at the new Howard Johnson's in Lake George

The spacious dining area at the new Howard Johnson’s in Lake George

When I heard that the Howard Johnson’s Family Restaurant in Lake George re-opened on January 11th, and was under new ownership, I knew I had to make a pilgrimage there. I have such warm and fuzzy memories of Howard Johnson’s meals with my parents at the Howard Johnson’s Family restaurant in Riverhead, NY in the late 1970s.  As the airport “limousine” shuttle left from there, the HOJO was the site of my last American meal when we’d leave for an overseas trip. It was my first American meal when we returned to Long Island. Though I loved trying new dishes on our travels to France, India, as a kid I craved good old fashioned American dishes that HOJO made so well.

Well, in 2015 now there are only two Howard Johnson’s left in the United States, this new one in Lake George, and one in Lake Placid. (I reviewed that one a few years ago during my family vacation in Lake Placid).

When we arrived there on a freezing Saturday there were only about a dozen people there.  The restaurant is very spacious. It looks like the original counter and stools are in tact. We were greeted warmly by the waitress, who sat us at a larger circular booth in the corner. The salad bar is not in operation, but will come back to life on Valentine’s Day dinner. My 55 year old husband was very excited about the “55 plus” $7 specials on the menu, but decided on a veggie omelet with cheddar cheese as we are attempting to be mostly vegetarian in 2015. I also ordered a spinach, mushroom and cheddar cheese omelet, which was very good in a greasy spoon kind of way.  They didn’t butter the toast, but I can forgive them for that. For the kids we ordered a classic cheeseburger, and a grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat. I had a bite of the grilled cheese and it was buttery perfection. The kids cheeseburger and french fries was devoured and it looked delicious.

They serve breakfast all day, and offer a $3.25 breakfast special (2 eggs, toast, and homefries) Monday through Friday until noon. On the lunch menu: famous clam fry, homemade style meatloaf, Spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese with half a sandwich, seafood platter, fried clams, and grilled liver and onions. Check out the menu they posted on the HOJO Facebook Page to see more and salivate!

Our server, Laura Lynn, was over the top friendly and attentive, refilling our coffee mugs continuously. I was very wired by the end of our breakfast, but I need my caffeine on Saturdays so that is a good thing. The omelets were good in a greasy spoon kind of way. They only have four flavors of ice cream, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and coffee. I was told that by summer time, this HOJO’s will have 24 flavors. We would definitely return to the new Howard Johnson’s in Lake George as we enjoyed our lazy Saturday lunch, and I hope more HOJO amenities will be added as the restaurant grows into its first year under new management. They are offering a Prime Rib dinner on Valentine’s Day from 12 noon-4pm, and are taking reservations. Good luck HOJO’s! Howard Johnson’s Family Restaurant, 2143 Route 9, Lake George, NY (518) 685-3022

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