There's been some scuttlebutt on the streets the last couple days. I heard through a friend that Judy's Restaurant at 121 State Street in Bangor was going to close. Thankfully, that's not quite true. The restaurant, owned by Del Merritt, has been a fixture in Bangor's culinary scene for over 40 years.

But according to an article in the Bangor Daily News, Merritt says simply, the time has come. Between changes in the employment landscape, increased minimum wage, lack of suitable talent, and higher overhead costs, it's just not practical anymore.

I guess there's a time to hold'em, and a time to fold 'em, and this is the time to fold'em. I'm not in a hurry, but it's time.

Merritt once tried to sell the eatery back in 1999 for $450,000 after the state ban on smoking in restaurants took effect. At the time he thought, the ban would put him out of business. Months later, he took it off the market. Maybe, like a lot of businesses, he found the ban wasn't that bad since it affected everybody.

Merritt definitely isn't going to sit idly by after Judy's is off his hands. He owns Speedway 95 in Hermon as well as Cap's in Brewer. So there's plenty to keep him occupied in his "down time." There's no indication at this time of what Merritt hopes to get for the restaurant money-wise.

It'll be a sad day in Bangor when Judy's moves on to a new owner. Merritt brought the spot back from its former days as a bit of a rough and tumble establishment. Back in the '80s a mail carrier was shot after a confrontation with a patron. It remains one of only four unsolved murders in Bangor's history. Today, it's just known for a good breakfast and a stiff drink.

But times change, I guess. But you can bet in the days/weeks/months leading up to a permanent sale, Judy's will likely be packed with people that want to get in there one last time to enjoy it for what it truly is ... a Bangor legend.

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