The owners of Flatbread, a gourmet brick-oven pizza restaurant and entertainment venue located off the entrance road to the Martha’s Vineyard Airport in Edgartown, have called it quits after six years.
“Financially we could not make it work,” Flatbread co-owner Jay Gould told The Times in an email Monday. “The short season is our excuse. We did very well during July and August; the shoulder months were not as strong as we thought they would be. When it came to food, MV was the perfect storm for us. As we use mostly organic, we always had a great supply from the Island farms. Many of us fell in love with the Island … We were always treated well. Hard to believe with America so close to the Island that the local people have a kindness and spirit I seldom find off-Island.”
The owners have sold their share of the building that once housed the storied Hot Tin Roof at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport to Brion McGroarty, co-owner with his son of MV Wine and Spirits, located in a recent addition to the same building.
Mr. McGroarty told The Times that True North Holdings LLC, already a partner in the real estate, has bought out the Flatbread Co.’s interest in the property. Mr. McGroarty said the partners have signed a sale agreement, and he expects the deal to be finalized over the next few months, which will include a trip to the Edgartown selectmen for a transfer of the liquor license.
“We’re going to open a much smaller restaurant at the location, probably less than half the size it is now,” Mr. McGroarty told The Times. He estimated the new restaurant will be about 1,400 square feet. The remainder of the space in the building will be leased out.
Mr. McGroarty, the former owner of the Wharf in Edgartown, said the new restaurant will be named Tin Hangar. “The building is made of tin, and it’s at the airport, so we thought we’d stay with that theme,” he said. “Islanders will know it’s also a nod to the Hot Tin Roof.” Mr. McGroarty said that the restaurant won’t be open until late summer at the earliest.
“We’re not chasing the summer crowd,” he said. “The restaurant is going to be geared much more to the year-round population. We’ll stay small and try to stick to the things we already do well. Our goal is to make it less expensive and more Vineyard family-friendly. We see mostly year-round Islanders at our [liquor] store, and that’s who we’re primarily looking to serve.”
Mr. McGroarty said the new restaurant will still have pizza on the menu, and that takeout will be an important component of the new venture.
Years ago, the building was a legendary Island nightspot, the Hot Tin Roof, owned by singer and songwriter Carly Simon. In 2006, Barry Rosenthal of West Tisbury and his brother Arthur purchased the club, and renamed it Outerland.
In 2009 a Vermont nightclub known as Nectars took over the well-known venue in partnership with Flatbread Co., a wood-fired pizza restaurant chain with locations in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Hawaii. In 2012, Nectars departed and Flatbread stayed.
In January 2015, the owners of Flatbread, headquartered in New Hampshire, put their part of the building up for sale, telling The Times that it was difficult to survive on only the summer months and that they found the shoulder seasons especially difficult to manage.
However, with no buyer in sight, Flatbread decided to give the Vineyard another shot and reopened for the summer of 2015.