Photograph courtesy of Kevin Carroll August, 2002
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts -- 225 Boston Tpke

 A Howard Johnson's Restaurant for 46 years and a Ground Round for 20, Shrewsbury closed its doors forever at 12:30 on October 1, 2004.

Owned by Robert O. "Bob" Bonin, and started by his father James, the Restaurant was always a family business. Bob Bonin reported to the Worcester Telegram that after earning a degree in 1956 he went to work in the Restaurant full time and never left. He added, "My whole life's here."

Not any more Mr. Bonin.

The Richmond Company Inc. purchased the Ground Round last June from Mr. Bonin. The firm will demolish the 66 year old Restaurant and build a Walgreens.

Although the Restaurant had been greatly altered over the years, especially when it was converted into a Ground Round in 1984, its HoJo's heritage was clear. Thanks to Kevin Carroll who first told me about Shrewsbury a couple of years ago, and that the property had been "cashed in" and would soon close, I was able to make a quick trip from Florida to Massachusetts with little time to spare. Kevin had told me about the many artifacts inside the Restaurant that I should see. Among them were the weather vanes and a copy of the local newspaper celebrating the Howard Johnson's opening back in 1938.

According to the Worcester telegram, Mr. Bonin and his wife will decorate their basement with many of the items that were in the Restaurant. My meal on August 30, 2004 was excellent and I marveled at the changes that the place had seen over the years, and was amused to discover that I was sitting in a circa 1978 Howard Johnson's chair and that even older vintage HJ furniture was still being used!

While seeking out the memorabilia in the Restaurant, a helpful busboy showed me many of the items. However, the Restaurant's hostess tersely informed me that photography was prohibited and that I was under video surveillance--I ignored her--she's out of a job now.

Photographs August 30, 2004