Monessen Valley Independent: December 14, 1963
Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania
 -- Rt. 51 @ I-70

Opened in December of 1963, the Belle Vernon Howard Johnson's Restaurant was a classic Nims-type 1960s ultra-modern unit. With its Orange Roof, Finned Spire Cupola, and Simple Simon and the Pieman weather vane, It featured all of the classic elements that had helped to make Howard Johnson's the second most recognized brand in the United States during the late 1960s (only Coca Cola had better recognition!).

The land and building were owned by Vernon and Virginia Pfile, scions of a prominent local family. The couple may have originally operated the Restaurant as franchisees but by the time of Howard Johnson's middle 1980s demise the building was being leased and operated by the Company. Thus the location became Marriott's responsibility after it purchased HJ. The unit was one of nine in Pa. that were transferred to Franchise Associates Incorporated (FAI) in 1991 as part of Marriott's exit from the restaurant business.

Photographs May 10, 1997

Monessen Valley Independent:
left-9-23-88 above-9-27-89
Above & Lower: A popular landmark for many years, the Restaurant was a frequent advertiser in the local newspaper touting its "all-you-can-eat" specials.
Above: Compilation of television commercials that were aired during the late 1960s advertising HoJo's most famous "all-you-can-eat" meals!
Monessen Valley Independent:
above-3-30-92 right-8-18-98

Monessen Valley Independent: 3-19-99

The Pfiles who had developed then leased the Belle Vernon Restaurant sold it to Don Yoder in 1997. Unfortunately he had little interest in HoJo's and refused to negotiate a new lease with FAI.

FAI quietly shuttered the long-lived Orange Roofed eatery in February of 1999. Yoder seeking a better return on his investment quickly inked a deal with Bruceton Farm Service of West virginia to built a 4,300 sq. ft. Burger King where the Howard Johnson's had been. A convenience store/gas station was also built at the site.