J.D.'s Restaurant was crowded Tuesday morning.

"It's the biggest crowd I've seen in months," owner Steve Ash said. "I think, 'Where were you six months ago?' "

The crowd came to say goodbye.

Ash announced on Facebook on Monday that the doors to the Owensboro landmark at 1420 Breckenridge St. will close at noon on Saturday for the final time after nearly 22 years.

Prolonged sewer repairs on Breckenridge Street in the fall of 2018, which saw the street closed for weeks, and the summer of 2019, when traffic was reduced to one lane, did him in, Ash said.

Back in October, he said, "We're still down about 25% from that. You could get in off 15th Street, but a lot of our older customers saw the barrels and didn't come in. We're still trying to get that business back."

It never came back, Ash said Tuesday.

"We had been putting money back into the business to try to keep it open," he said. "But we reached the point where we just couldn't do that anymore."

J.D.'s is the second long-time Breckenridge Street business to close as a result of lost business from the sewer repairs.

Gordy Wilcher announced in September that he was closing Gordy's Owensboro Music Centers, 1303 Breckenridge St. after nearly 46 years.

He said he lost 40 percent of his business the previous fall because the street was closed in front of his store during the holidays.

"I lost tens of thousands of dollars," he said. "And I never recovered the business."

Ash said he's had "tremendous support" since he announced the restaurant's closing.

"It was important for us to say goodbye to our customers," he said. "That's why we announced the closing ahead of time."

Last fall he told a Messenger-Inquirer reporter, "We've become something of an institution. We're on our third generation of customers, and this is an ultra-competitive business."

The 65-seat diner began life in 1983 as Price's Restaurant -- built by Larry and Esther Price.

They ran it until 1987 and then sold it to J.D. and Martha Greer.

And then, Ash bought it 10 years later.

Roast beef was the most popular item on the menu.

Well, that and coconut pie.

J.D.'s has been around so long that many people who had moved away liked to drop by when they were back in town, Ash said.

"A lot of people tell us they come in every time they're in town to see the doctor or whatever," he said.

Now, they'll have to find another place.

Another landmark is gone.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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