Clipping: Nate Coggeshall-Beyea
Salem, NH  -- 374 South Broadway
The following commentary is provided by Nate Coggeshall-Beyea who has extensively studied and documented the history and development of Howard Johnson's in New England.

The Salem store opened its doors for business in 1962, and in that era HJ often located these free-standing restaurants in high-traffic business districts where an adjoining motor lodge was not always feasible or practical. Such sites still fostered enough business activity and commerce to support a restaurant unit, even though a full-service complex was not an option. Thus, these potential locations could not be overlooked by the Howard Johnson Company.

1998: Nate Coggeshall-Beyea

The Salem restaurant was constructed as a classic Nims Two, with a Nims Two type cupola and a trapezoid sign featuring Simple Simon and the Pieman. Its builder was an impetus behind the dramatic business expansion taking place on Route 28, having already developed and amassed numerous roadside properties along the stretch. Salem appears to have been a viable operation for its first several years, due predominantly to its excellent location. Ultimately though, the store began to struggle as a result of unrelenting competition from other nearby restaurants and establishments. The HJ franchise simply could not hold on in this saturated market. The last known directory listing for Salem was 1971. Thus, Salem can be paired with West Thornton as one of the shortest-lived HJs in New Hampshire, at just about 9 years.

Salem was no exception to this, and the HJ unit that was built there proved to be a fine example of a restaurant-only deployment. Ideally located on Route 28 (374 South Broadway), the Salem franchise joined an ever-growing wave of retail development along this major roadway. As the main route through Salem, Route 28 provided motorists with direct passage between Salem and the bordering town of Methuen, Massachusetts.

May 2007: Phil Edwards
October 2015: Nate Coggeshall-Beyea

Immediately after HJ left, the Lancer Steak House moved in. However, its tenure was short, and by 1972, it had become Bob Loo’s, Salem’s first Chinese restaurant. In typical fashion, the top portion of the store’s cupola was removed. Likewise, the orange tile roof was replaced with a standard asphalt roof, and the trapezoid sign was taken down. Aside from these surface changes though, Salem retained most of its visual lines and remained largely recognizable as a former HJ. Bob Loo’s continued a successful operation here until late 1998, when the owners decided to retire and close the business for good.

Repurposed in 1999, the building was substantially modified and renovated, and in early 2000, it re-opened as Polari’s of Salem, an Italian-American eatery. Alas, it is virtually unidentifiable as an HJ.

By the mid 2010s the former Howard Johnson's reverted back into an Asian themed eaterie as Tomo Steakhouse.

May 2007: Phil Edwards
1998: Nate Coggeshall-Beyea

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