BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- There were once more than 800 Howard Johnson's restaurants spread across the country.
Up until today, only two remained in business. Tuesday afternoon, the last Howard Johnson's Restaurant is New England closed its doors for good -- leaving behind five decades of service to the Bangor area.
For Kathe Jewett it’s the end of an era. “Seen the building at its best, and now it’s what it is, it’s sad that it's coming to an end but everything has to come to an end” said Jewett.
Jewett's been working as a waitress at the Howard Johnson Restaurant in Bangor for five decades serving up countless cups of coffee, and an endless amount of pancakes.
When the Howard Johnson restaurant opened back in 1966 in Bangor, she applied for the job and the rest is history. Jewett's brother said the key to his sister's long career -- was her customers.
“I think just the bond that she has with all of her customers and as a kids cause I'm younger than her I can remember coming up here which used to be a long ride it seemed like to visit her and we always came here first...she just wouldn't retire because of her customers she just loved coming here so much” said Les Thomas Jewett’s brother.
Jewett said she's seen change since 1966 with tough competition in the food business which has slowed things down. But for a customer whose been coming in the doors since 1975, one thing hasn't changed.
“I mean they're hard workers they're professional beyond you just don't see it anymore that’s why i come here there work ethics unbelievable” said Gary Greenleaf a frequent customer.
And as the second to last Howard Johnson restaurant serves up its last meal, Jewett had a message for the last 50 years.
“I just want to thank all my loyal customers, I’m gonna start crying, thank you for coming and being with us all these years thank you” said Jewett.
And so do the people she’s served.
The Howard Johnson's Motel in Bangor will remain open. The only Howard Johnson restaurant in the country is now in Lake George, New York.
Copyright 2016 WCSH