Vineyard Haven couple look for new restaurant location

After a successful start, the business operator said, he was unable to negotiate a workable lease agreement.

Bob's Pizza, on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, is closing. — Photo by Michael Cummo

James Goff and Tanya Chipperfield, who began operating Bob’s Pizza on Main Street in Vineyard Haven in midsummer, closed the popular eatery this week. Mr. Goff said he was unable to come to a lease agreement with the building owner, Chris Sze LLC.

Soon after Mr. Goff and Ms. Chipperfield began serving pizza and sandwiches, word spread through word of mouth and social media that the fare was much improved.

“The response from the Island and Main Street was incredible,” Mr. Goff said. “That showed me how desperate the town is for quality. It was like wildfire; we were popular right away.”

Mr. Goff said the building owner asked for rent that began at $60,000, with incremental increases to $78,000 over an eight-year period. Mr. Goff said the owner also wanted a $25,000 lease fee for each of the first two years of the lease.

“The more we crunched the numbers, the more out of whack the reality seemed to me,” Mr. Goff said. “When I plugged them into a model for running a responsible business, they didn’t match up. Call me crazy, but those numbers don’t match up to me.”

Mr. Goff said he is actively looking for a new location, and hopes to be back in business soon.

“We have an army of Islanders ready to follow us to our next location,” he said. “I’ve got a storage unit full of stuff. The company is formed — we need a roof.”

Contacted by phone Wednesday, Mr. Sze said said he is working with other potential tenants for next season.

“We can’t get a deal, so we’re waiting for next year,” Mr. Sze said. He declined to confirm the terms of the proposed lease with Mr. Goff.

“That’s between me and him, I don’t have any comment on that,” Mr. Sze said. But he added, “$60,000 a year is not a lot, with taxes and everything included, it’s not much.”

The original online version of this article incorrectly reported that Bob’s Pizza is looking for a new location. The restaurant will not move, the most recent operators, James Goff and Tanya Chipperfield, are looking for another location to open a new restaurant.