EBAs closes following recent profit losses

by Sunpreet Singh | 5/26/17 2:05am

Following months of financial struggles, local restaurant Everything But Anchovies abruptly closed on May 16. The restaurant was run by EBAs president Maureen Bogosian and her family since 1979, serving pizza, burgers and wings to the Hanover and Dartmouth communities for 38 years.

Hanover town manager Julia Griffin said she was not surprised when she heard about the closure due to the changing face of EBAs’ competition.

Griffin said that EBAs had been suffering from a loss in pizza delivery business ever since a Domino’s Pizza opened in West Lebanon and began offering delivery until 3 a.m. She added that while the arrival of the restaurant franchise hurt business for other local pizza places such as Ramunto’s Brick and Brew Pizzeria and C&A Pizza, they did not suffer losses as much as EBAs did because EBAs specialized in the late-night delivery business, which is Domino’s forte.

Bogosian declined to comment.

A May 5 article in The Dartmouth also reported that EBAs saw a 20 percent decline in late night deliveries following the opening of the Domino’s franchise last fall.

Ramunto’s owner Tim Cullen added that Domino’s has corporate software and advertising resources, while EBAs was a local family business.

“They did a lot of late night pizza delivery and Domino’s offers specials upon specials upon specials and ... that’s not the best thing to do,” he said. “I think that you should stand by your product and not necessarily be discounting it all the time. I think that hurt EBAs a lot.”

Ramunto’s felt the presence of Domino’s with an initial dip in profits but has since recovered, Cullen said. He added that his business has seen a general uptick in sales from Dartmouth students and faculty since the closure of EBAs.

Cullen said that he thinks some of the void left by EBAs will be filled by Ramunto’s and other local restaurants, but he expects Domino’s to continue to get more of the late-night delivery business.

While the arrival of Domino’s played a large role in EBAs’ decision to shut down, Griffin said there were other significant factors. The College’s decision years ago to change its term calendar to include a five- to six-week winter break harmed the profits of many Hanover businesses, she said. Following the calendar change, faculty and students leave campus before Thanksgiving and return at the start of the winter term in early January. This reduced profits for EBAs, which had previously seen high profits during November and December.

Griffin added the arrival of the College’s late-night food truck also affected EBAs’ business.

“The College now has a late-night food truck and on the one hand, trying to meet the needs of students is what Dartmouth Dining Services is all about, but that was also a sucker punch to EBAs, because before Domino’s came in big time and the College added the food truck, a quarter of the late-night food delivery market was EBAs,” Griffin said. “This was a triple whammy that hit the restaurant that resulted in their decision to close.”

Griffin said that while many wondered about the timing of the announcement and decision, it was ultimately the Bogosian family’s collective decision to shut down the restaurant on its own terms and timing.

Griffin said that the loss of EBAs was particularly disappointing for the town of Hanover because the town strongly supports locally-owned businesses.

“We hate to see a big chain stamp out another locally-owned business,” Griffin said. “We just hate to see that happen. No comment on the quality of Domino’s pizza. It’s just that this is a region of the state that really supports locally grown, locally owned and homegrown businesses and we hate to see them lose out to national chains.”

Griffin said that she is curious to see whether another restaurant moves into EBAs’ previously-held restaurant space on Allen Street because of its proximity to the College’s campus. She hopes there will be another restaurant tenant looking to locate there but doubts that any new restaurant will be looking to enter the competitive nighttime delivery corner of the market due to Domino’s presence.

Associate dean for student life Eric Ramsey said that when he found out EBAs had closed, he was shocked and immediately concerned for those who worked at the restaurant. Ramsey had placed an order for a Green Key midnight breakfast event when he was notified that EBAs was closed and that his order could not be fulfilled.

“I have worked at Dartmouth for 13 years, and they were my trusted, go-to caterer — whether it was a large formal event we were having or all of a sudden we needed dinner for 30 people in 45 minutes, they were always the ones to deliver and deliver well,” Ramsey said. “They have always been so flexible and nimble and willing to try anything for us. I have always appreciated the partnership and we could not have done so many of our events without them, so I hope someone steps up and fills the significant void that EBAs has left in Hanover.”

Ramsey said that he thinks most student organizations at the College ordered regularly from EBAs because they were a local caterer that understood students’ needs better than a generic national restaurant chain.

Hanover resident Shelley Gilbert has gotten her lunch everyday for the past 30 years from the salad bar at EBAs and was disappointed when she found out through Facebook that the restaurant had closed down.

“It’s a loss for the town in that EBAs served all the sports teams; it was a great place for young kids to go and be independent and have a meal out, and they were open late so it was great for college students,” Gilbert said. “I think it was just great for the community across the board, and it’s a real loss for the town.”