Brochures circa 1959 & 1960s: Courtesy of Dan Donahue
Nassau, British West Indies -- Cable Beach

Nassau's Howard Johnson's Lodge and Restaurant had the distinction of being the first Howard Johnson's outside of the United States. Opening in late 1958 or early 1959, it was believed that the Bahamas would become the next playground for America's rich and famous. After the fall of Cuba, and with the end of decadence where else would Americans frolic! After all, it was a part of the Bahamas rich and colorful history to be a destination.

The Islands were once held by the Spanish, but during the American Revolution, Loyalists moved in, ousted the Spanish and made their new home the British West Indies. Siding with the South, the American Civil War brought another influx of activity and migration. However it was American Prohibition that ushered the Bahamas into more recent memory with the infamous business of rum running. Yet even with all of its interesting history, it's likely that Howard D. Johnson's predisposition to vacation in nearby Miami led him to seek a spot in the Bahamas for his first oversees HoJo's!


Although the rendering shows a splash of Orange around the cupola, Nassau had white porcelain enamel roof tiles. The Lodge was not a standardized Howard Johnson's, but was more like a modern resort hotel. While the Restaurant retained the HoJo's name into the 1980s, the Lodge abandoned affiliation in the 1960s.
Howard Johnson's Landmark: August - September, 1962; page 7
The photograph shows the entire staff and management of the Nassau Restaurant.
Brochures ca 1959 & 1960s: Courtesy of Dan Donahue

Operation of the Nassau Howard Johnson's Restaurant was said to be identical to a typical unit stateside. A management team from Florida was responsible for the location. The site was supplied by the Miami Commissary, and food was prepared "under rigid Howard Johnson's specifications."

The outward appearance of the building was identical to a typical Nims-type of the era except that it featured a white roof! However, the interior featured an unusual tiered dining room and cocktail lounge. The Restaurant catered to tourists and locals alike -- reportedly Sundays were the busiest as townsfolk lined up to partake of the famous HoJo's food. The location enjoyed successful operation into the 1980s.




Like the Lamplighter, the Islander was a symbol of Hospitality.

Although Howard D. Johnson was an amazing innovator in the hospitality industry, ideas sometimes originated with others. For example, the Nassau Howard Johnson's had the first HoJo's Rum Keg Lounge. Referring to the Islands' interesting history, owner of the local Howard Johnson's franchise, Frank Crothers, created the Rum Keg concept for his upscale cocktail lounge. Later Howard Johnson's freely named their lounges after the Rum Keg!