Those of us who grew up in Maine in the 1980s and 1990s were fortunate to have so many great local restaurants and regional chains, like the Elm Tree Diner in Houlton, Dysart's Truck Stop in Hermon,  DeMillo's Floating Restaurant in Portland, and the Friendly's restaurant chain.

While some of these restaurants are still around, many are long gone.

Miller's Restaurant in Bangor is one of the ones that shut down years ago.


The Miller's Salad Bar & Buffet

One of my first memories of eating at a restaurant with my family was at Millers in Bangor.  Years later, when I was in high school, it was always our go-to dinner stop when we were on music and sports trips.  It was never planned, either.  The teachers and chaperones would ask where we wanted to eat, and we would all demand that it be Miller's Restaurant.

Why was it so popular?

The restaurant had a massive salad bar.  Well, that's how the marketing frequently referred to it, but it was more than just a salad bar.

What the restaurant really had was an all-you-can-eat buffet that contained more than 200 items.  If I remember correctly, the buffet had everything from chicken tenders to pizza and roast beef that had to be sliced up by one of the cooks.  And assuming you still had room after your meal, there was an entire dessert buffet!

The price was always very affordable.

What Happened to Miller's Restaurant?

Time happened.

The restaurant, which had been located on Main Street in Bangor, was in operation for over half a century.  It was owned and operated by Sonny Miller.  In 1987, Sonny's son, John, stepped in to run it.

Over the years, the City of Bangor changed immensely.  The area around the mall got really developed.  That development attracted more chain restaurants.  Also, the high school basketball tourneys, which had been just down the street from the restaurant, changed locations.  Finally, in 2008, the country entered a recession.

According to a Bangor Daily News article, the restaurant was purchased by Penn National.  Their plan was to use it as a temporary casino while they were constructing Hollywood Slots.  The restaurant closed for the last time on mid-May of 2010.

These days, the space is home to Seasons Restaurant.  Even though we are sad that we lost Miller's, we are happy that a successful business replaced it.

It kind of makes you wonder what would have happened if the Miller family had toughed it out for another few years.  Had they been able to hold on until the opening of the waterfront pavilion, Miller's Restaurant would probably still be around.

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Gallery Credit: Chris Sedenka

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