LAKE GEORGE — Lovers of the $3.25 breakfast special, fear not, the Howard Johnson’s restaurant in Lake George is not going anywhere anytime soon, the eatery’s operator said Wednesday.
The posting of a for-sale sign at the property of the last freestanding Howard Johnson’s in the United States may have given a false impression. Business owner John LaRock said Wednesday that the restaurant is open for business.
LaRock said property owner Joe DeSantis has been trying to sell this property for 15 years. DeSantis switched to a new real estate company and that company put up a sign, LaRock said.
“There’s a lot of businesses in Lake George that are for sale and they just don’t have a sign out front,” he said.
LaRock believes the sign was not up for very long. The restaurant is closed on Wednesdays in the winter. The addition of the for-sale sign may have led some people to believe the restaurant might be closing. The Post-Star received a cellphone photo last week showing the for-sale sign and then a reporter visited the property midweek, on a Wednesday.
Neither DeSantis nor real estate agent Andrew Peckage returned two phone messages left over several days seeking comment.
LaRock said he received a dozen calls after The Post-Star story was published Wednesday.
“We’re going to stay open for who knows how many more years,” he said.
LaRock said if someone were to make an offer on the property, he can respond within 90 days with his own intent to purchase offer. He said has been having some discussions with DeSantis about potentially buying the property, but did not want to divulge any details.
The current hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wintertime is slow, according to LaRock.
“We try to stay open pretty much for the local people,” he said.
He said when April 1 comes around, he likely will shift back to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. He is also planning to open a breakfast buffet. After June 1, it likely will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.
LaRock has been running the business for the last few years.
In addition to the daily breakfast special of two eggs, toast and home fries, the restaurant has a lunch special for $7.95.
Business is great in the summer, according to LaRock.
“We’re packed all day long,” he said.
He also has buses from Canada that stop on Fridays during the busy season.
He recently added tables and 75 chairs, so the building can now accommodate 300 people.
“In the summertime, July and August, we have people outside waiting to get in,” he said.
LaRock said having the only Howard Johnson’s carries a nostalgia factor. He said this summer he would like to open a small gift shop where people can buy hats, T-shirts and sunglasses that have the Howard Johnson’s name on them.
“We get a lot of people that come in and want to buy the menus and buy anything that says Howard Johnson’s on it,” he said.