Brighton Avenue Denny’s closes quietly in Portland

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PORTLAND — What may have been the first Denny’s restaurant in Maine closed July 15.

Owners and managers have been unavailable to comment, but a note posted on the door at the restaurant at 1220 Brighton Ave. by general manager Mark Plourde announced the shutdown and invited customers to visit the Denny’s at 1091 Congress St.

Plourde noted the Brighton Avenue restaurant had been open since 1973, and said staff would be shifting to the Congress Street restaurant.

City business licenses list Krystall Webber of Realty Resources Group in Auburn as a representative for owners of both restaurants. Efforts to reach her by phone and email were unsuccessful.

The closing surprised Kamlesh Patel, who owns the restaurant property and adjoining land. Patel is in the midst of building a new Hampton Inn on the site of a former Travelodge at 1210 Brighton Ave., and said he had expected to keep Denny’s.

“I had no desire to kick them out,” Patel said July 19. “I was trying to extend the lease.”

To his knowledge, Patel said, all the Denny’s in Maine have been sold to a group based in California. City records show four principal officers as owners of the Denny’s on Congress Street, with a corporate mailing address of 211 Court St. in Auburn.

That is also the site of the Denny’s in that city, and the principal officers list addresses in California, New York and Wisconsin on city records.

Patel said he had contact with the restaurant’s new owners once after the restaurants were sold, but had not heard back from them before the Brighton Avenue restaurant closed.

According to the corporate website, there are also Denny’s restaurants in Bangor, Augusta and Ellsworth. The chain itself is more than 60 years old, and the restaurant building on Congress Street was built in 1979, according to tax records.

Tax records also list the 1220 Brighton Ave. restaurant as being built in 1972. Patel noted the building is aging, but said he is not yet certain what he will do with it, or how he might develop another lot next door.

The Brighton Avenue Denny’s parking lot was also the scene of a stabbing on April 28, 2016, that led to the death of 31-year-old Anthony Best.

On May 16, city police announced Best’s death was the result of self-defense by another person. They said he was the aggressor in a dispute that started at PT’s Showclub on Riverside Street.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

The Denny’s at 1220 Brighton Ave. in Portland closed July 15. The property owner said he is unsure what he will do with the building.

Customers were greeted by this note at the Denny’s at 1220 Brighton Ave. in Portland. The restaurant may have been the first of the chain to open in Maine.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.