Truckers, college students, third-shift workers and night owls mourned one of the Bangor area’s greatest nighttime haunts on Wednesday, as Dysart’s Restaurant in Hermon announced the end of its 24/7 service.
Starting Oct. 1, the restaurant will be cutting back its hours to 5 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week, for the first time in its 52 years.
As Mainers lament the loss, we asked our readers for their favorite late-night Dysart’s memories. Here are some of our favorite responses, edited lightly for clarity.
dmacleo: “[It] was a decent place to get a quick bite when out plowing at 3 a.m.”
runner81: “This is so upsetting!!!! We live in Hampden, just a mile down the road from Dysart’s and we ALWAYS make late night trips for take out! We are night owls. I work from home and work very late and my husband gets out of work at 11:30 pm and he stops there at least once a week to get us a late dinner on his way home from work, but I guess that won’t be happening anymore. I don’t understand why they are doing this. They have been open 24/7 for decades. I feel bad for the truckers who stop there in the middle of the night hoping to get something to eat and now won’t be able to. I guess now the only place in the Bangor area that is open 24 hours is Denny’s, but that is clear across town from us and, frankly, their food isn’t nearly as good. So, so sad.”
Joshua Reidy, Facebook: “Drunken Egg McRuths.”
@billtrotter, Twitter: “On 9/11/01, my dad’s flight was grounded in Boston as he was flying back to Maine. He eventually caught a bus to Bangor, arriving at an ungodly hour, & we went to Dysart’s to eat because it was the only place open. We were really grateful for the food that night, on many levels.”
Ryan Waning, Facebook: “Much like the demise of the Oronoka, a little bit of UMaine nightlife lore withered away with this announcement. I’ll pour out some brown gravy for the ones we’ve lost.”
@SwedishCar850, Twitter: “I live in NYC and whenever I come home, my wife and I often drive overnight to avoid traffic. We would get to Dysart’s sometimes between 4:30 and 5:00 am…the coffee in the thick mug with a Maine license plate and cinnamon rolls are the perfect welcome home”
Hussar: “Despite the claim by one commentator that politics is the reason why business has dropped off, I suggest that is just nonsense. What the demise of a 24hr restaurant portends is the loss of a vibrant 24 hour economy in the area. Years ago you used to routinely have manufacturing, trucking, and warehouse operating 24 hrs a day with workers making excellent wages (often time union wages). Now the economy is based on minimum wage McService jobs which operate on banker hours. Bangor and the rest of Maine hasn’t come to terms that what happens in northern and western Maine, and Downeast has more of an impact in the Bangor area than they realize. While no one denies the internet is killing the Bangor Mall, the closing of mills and the well paying jobs they provided has equally devastated retail and other businesses I in the Bangor area.
“Finally, a question. With Dysart’s no longer serving meals 24/7 is Denny’s the only place to buy a meal after midnight now? I would think an entrepreneur could make a tidy sum if they opened a restaurant near the interstate that was open 24/7 or at least overnight.”
Doug Brockway, Facebook: “I used to cook during the bar rush years ago! I saw and experienced some crazy things! Those were the days!”
@SSU_Egg, Twitter: “I’ve had a lot of late-night meals at Dysarts but I don’t remember any of them.”
watchdog1: “While I can understand the connection between receipts and business hours I think there is more to it than that. A place like Dysart’s had a reputation for always being there and always serving great food for a reasonable price. Didn’t matter what time of day, what kind of weather, how you looked or how tired you were. The place was a haven where one could find food, fuel, a clean bathroom and for many years a room too if you needed one. That kind of service fosters a loyal clientele and I believe such loyalty to a company has to be a net positive. So even if you lose a few bucks overnight you’re still building that loyal group of customers who will always come back, assuming the place is still what it was, and there shouldn’t really be a net [loss] in receipts.”
Steve Nickless, Facebook: “French fries with a side of gravy to dip them in.”
@mshook, Twitter: “Going to Dysart’s with classmates for snacks after evening classes at Bangor Theological Seminary.”
Jake Harvey, Facebook: “Being a driver and away from home a lot stopping into Dysart’s for a hot shower and meal before heading home to The County no matter the time of day or night is a sense of comfort for a lot of us. Linda, the late night waitresses is like having your mom bring you dinner and I believe she feels the same for a lot of us, more than once she has made sure I’ve eaten my veggies, or at least ordered them and on quite a few occasions I’ve told her just bring me something good and was never disappointed. Angel is like an aunt to my kids she’s seen them grow up over the years as they always come with me in school vacations and she treated them like royalty, they can’t go into Dysart’s now for any reason without searching for Angel to get their hug!! Over the years eve focus on the driver changed to a focus on tourists, the restaurant prices kept creeping up to where they are now, and the food though still good just isn’t what it was back ‘in the day.’ There are a lot of us that wish it was still what it used to be, but that being said there are a lot of us that look at this as an end of an era, a little piece of the Maine trucking history that is passing away.”
Shawn M Kelley, Facebook: “Too many to have a specific one.This is sad to hear. Hope in time they go back to 24 hour.”
Bobbi Leach, Facebook: “Sitting at the ‘Truckers’ table on bar nights!”
@Space_Bandito, Twitter: “Getting my license and spending harness racing winnings with friends on pancakes.”
Diane Cupps, Facebook: “I worked there for 30+ years and for the last 5 years I worked from 2 a.m. til noon. I met a lot of interesting people during that shift. Many many memories.”