I'm worried about Merrill's. It's been an institution in my perception of the downtown scene for as long as I can remember. Since getting a job basically across the street from it, I've been there for lunch a number of times and I've brought nearly all of my pub crawls there. But recently it's changed hands. New owner, new chef, new menu, new name: the "new" Merrill's.
Since this change took place, I've been noticing a disturbing trend, fewer and fewer people are gracing the doors of this fine establishment. In my opinion, the menu is better than it ever was (except for the lack of nachos, but don't get me started on that), the chef is a nice guy (I was talking to him when I was there soon after the opening), and the atmosphere is pretty much identical. Because of those reason, I can't understand what is the deal with the declining patronage.
After J.J.'s closed, I started to get paranoid about losing the bars that were my old favourites. Everybody go down to Merrill's and have a drink. Show your support.