We suspected that our readers would have lots of opinions about our March 7 article on iconic Bangor restaurants of the past. And boy, were we right.
We received more than 50 emails and comments from readers who had strong feelings both positive and negative about restaurants old and new. We love to hear from you, so please keep them coming for future articles about Bangor area history and culture.
Several readers thought no list of classic Bangor restaurants was complete without including Benjamin’s, the bar and grill on Franklin Street that was a downtown mainstay throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Not only was it a popular place to enjoy a steak or a burger, it was also a happening joint for live music and entertainment on busy weekend nights downtown.
Babette Nesin of Howland fondly recalled going to eat at the Bon Ton Hotel on Main Street near where the Main Tavern is today. She and her family would drive from Howland to Bangor for dental appointments and have lunch at the Bon Ton in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Several people remembered eating at the Howard Johnson Restaurant on Odlin Road, and while our article specifically did not include national chain restaurants such as that one, enough folks had happy memories of eating there that it was worth including in this follow-up.
It’s also notable that when Bangor’s Howard Johnson finally closed in 2016 after 50 years in business, it was one of just two remaining locations in the country for the once ubiquitous restaurant chain. The last one, which was in Lake George, New York, closed in 2022.
A few people said that Perry’s on Main Street and Captain Nick’s on Union Street both deserved to be on the list. Perry’s was loved locally for its fried clams, which it served for decades until it closed in the early 1990s and the building was torn down to make way for Shaw’s Supermarket.
Captain Nick’s served up Maine seafood and steaks, and had a TV commercial in the 1980s and 1990s with a jaunty maritime jingle that would easily get in your head. It closed in 2015.
Some asked why we didn’t include the Red Lion Restaurant, but we wanted to be clear: we did include the Red Lion, it was just under the same heading as Miller’s Restaurant. The Red Lion was in the same building and owned by the same family. Miller’s was the buffet restaurant, while the Red Lion offered a fine dining experience.
Hal Wheeler of Bangor pointed out that in the short period of time when Baldacci’s restaurant was open at 193 Broad St., it was known simply as Baldacci’s — the “Momma” wasn’t added until the restaurant moved to Alden Street in 1975.
And, commenter Hillrides shared a story about Momma Baldacci’s that we have to share. The commenter wrote: “Mid-2000s, some friends were driving to church, past Momma Baldacci’s. A few turns up the hill to Essex Street, he looks at her. “Did I just see the governor of Maine sweeping a parking lot?” She replied, “You saw the governor sweeping his MOTHER’S parking lot.”