Empire Grill In Skowhegan Closes Doors 

A landmark restaurant in skowhegan served it’s last meal Sunday afternoon. The Empire Grill closed it’s doors for good today. The news has hit this town hard. Kerry Pomelow and Tom Miller, owners of the Empire Grill in Skowhegan say they made the final decision to close about a week ago. “It’s emotional, it’s bittersweet,” says Miller.”I’m sure the economy played a part in it,” says Pomelow, “there’s an awful lot of unemployed people in this town. “Our expenses are really what killed us. Our propane, our electricity, everythings gone up but our profits.”Sunday was the last day of business and the mood of the customers was expectedly somber. Jen Stockford and her daughter had one final lunch at the Empire Grill. “Sad,” said Stockford, “we’re getting a lot of businesses that are closing down in the area we don’t need anymore closing.” Folks here say the restaurants famous roots are just a part of this place, but regulars, like Betty Austin, say it’s meant much more to them “Actually my favorite part, there was a group of us ladies that used to come down on Friday nights,” says Austin, “just being able to see the people, visit with people, seeing the traffic go by, those kinds of things.”Paula Berry, a Skowhegan resident, sat playing cards with her son in a booth there for the last time. She and the owner, Kerry Pomelow, are best friends. “It feels very much to home to me and to a lot of people,” says Berry.The people who work here are saddened but they realize it’s time to move on. Server Michelle Nook says she knows what she has to do. “Go out an look for a job tomorrow,” she says, “start job hunting so that’s what’s on the agenda. I’m a single parent, on my way i’ll go.””In show business the old adage is always leave them wanting more,” says owner Tom Miller, “it would have been really sad to stay open for another two months or three months and not be able to put flowers on the table and run out of ketchup and not have whatever sweetener everybody has to have and so I feel like we’re leaving people wanting more.”