A long-standing restaurant building on U.S. 31-W By-Pass damaged by the Dec. 11 tornado may soon make way for a new commercial development.
Demolition of the Judy’s Castle building at the bypass and East 13th Avenue began Wednesday, and the property’s owner said he plans to build a BP gas station and convenience store on the site.
“Part of the building was damaged, and the city declared it unsafe,” said Satish Patel, owner of the Radha Krishna BG corporation that purchased the Judy’s Castle property last July. “We decided to demolish it.”
Patel purchased from local real estate investor Jim “Ebo” Brown the former restaurant building and an adjacent building that had been used as office space.
Brown bought the property at auction in 2018 with a bid of $267,500 ($286,225 with the buyers’ fee). It had been operated as the homestyle Judy’s Castle restaurant for 24 years by Paul and Felecia Durbin.
The Durbins bought the restaurant from Herb and Maxine Lowe, who first opened it in 1968.
The restaurant developed a following over the years, with locals coming out for the breakfast specials, “meat and three” lunch and dinner meals, and desserts.
But when Brown bought Judy’s Castle at auction, it was nearly certain that it signaled the end of any type of eatery on the property.
“I’m not in the restaurant business,” Brown said at the time of the auction.
As the building was being knocked down Wednesday, even its new owner expressed some nostalgia for the restaurant.
“A lot of people have memories of the restaurant,” said Patel, who also owns the Grease Monkey oil change business at 1200 Broadway Ave. “It was there for 50 years.”
That history, though, hasn’t changed Patel’s plans for the property.
Warren County clerk records show Patel’s corporation purchased the property for $375,000.
He said after the purchase that he intended to build a gas station on the corner lot.
Those plans still haven’t fully taken shape, but Patel said Wednesday that he has hired an engineer and will soon be hiring a contractor to build the store and BP-branded gas station.
“It’s a process that will take several months,” he said.