Brinck-Johnsen: An Homage to EBAs
Mourning the end of a Dartmouth mainstay.
I defended my senior fellowship project, the culminating experience of my undergraduate career, Tuesday morning. I’m taking one class this term and have a few edits to do on my thesis, but I walked out of my defense meeting feeling happy. I was essentially done with Dartmouth, and it had been an incredible time. Not three minutes later I was fighting back tears when I learned that something else was done with Dartmouth: the venerable late-night institution Everything But Anchovies.
Things have changed significantly since I matriculated, but I didn’t cry when Alpha Delta fraternity was shut down. I didn’t cry when Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity was derecognized. I didn’t cry about the hard alcohol ban or the replacement of the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. Although it came close, I didn’t cry when we failed to build a recognizable snow sculpture in 2016 and 2017. When I found out EBAs was shutting down, I cried in the street.
As a townie, I grew up eating EBAs. Its barbeque chicken pizza was the staple food of summer pool parties, and our end-of-season sports celebrations always happened there. When I became a vegetarian and went to college, EBAs’ mozzarella sticks were my late-night study fuel. When I turned 21 and became vegan, I would study there with a black bean burger and a beer. My junior fall, I became close friends with EBAs’ delivery driver who supplied me with food as I struggled through Philosophy 6, “Logic and Language.” My senior year, my two best friends and I were such regulars at “EBAs Live” (the physical location) that we had loyalty stamp cards and an ongoing bit with our two favorite waiters about “Eddie the falafel guy” (he doesn’t exist).
When we first heard the news, we rushed over to EBAs, joking about how “Ebbas” would never close down, how it was too obvious of a sitcom trope to have our college restaurant shut down just as we are about to graduate. The universe doesn’t actually work with such perfect metaphors, we reasoned. We had been at “the boos” just two nights before for a study and beer session. When we got there, however, a locksmith was changing the door, and our favorite waiter came out. “This is it guys,” he said. We just looked at him. “It’s true?” I finally asked, “—you’re closing?” He nodded. “Was it !@#$ Domino’s?” my friend asked. He explained that it was actually a problem from before Domino’s — students would order pizzas and not pay. Fifty or so were coming back a week: uncollected, unloved pizzas. “It’s too bad too,” he said, cracking a smile “Eddie was just about to get back from vacation.” We laugh-cried, and a voice called him back into the darkened restaurant. “I love you,” I said to his disappearing back.
I realized that I had possibly one of the last veggie burger EBAs ever made — a woman who came in 10 minutes after me and asked for one was told that they “were out,” and two days later EBAs was closed. EBAs has existed for so long that I thought it always would.
When I was 8 years old, a businessman I met on a train told me all about his son who went to Dartmouth and had a tab at “that local anchovy pizza place.” He gave me his card and told me to put all my future pizzas on him. I promptly lost the card, but every time I went to EBAs I would remember him. That’s the kind of place EBAs was. It was a local place and a college place and a place where you could become really good friends with a waiter and play Trivial Pursuit from 1985 and study for finals and hang out for hours. Dartmouth students sustained EBAs until they didn’t anymore, and now it’s gone.
Brinck-Johnsen is a member of the Class of 2017.
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