The Eating Establishment has been exactly that for Hanover and Norwell diners, an established part of the community.
At the end of 2017, as we say hello to a new year, a goodbye will be said to The Eating Establishment, as the restaurant’s lease will not be renewed.
On Saturday, Oct. 28 after the shop closed for the day, the owners posted a sign alerting the public of the news that the last day of operation will be Saturday, Dec. 23.
Stephen and Alice Matheny opened the restaurant, located at 2103 Washington St., Hanover, in 2008 and leased the space from the Tedeschi family, who owned the building and the Tedeschi Food Shops franchise. The family ran a restaurant in that space before Stephen and Alice took it over.
“We had a great relationship with them and never had any problems re-signing,” said Stephen. “We do a good business there and 7-Eleven bought the building and all of Tedeschi’s a couple of years ago and we had talked to the Tedeschi family about giving us a two-year lease with a one-year option and that option is up Dec. 31 of this year. 7-Eleven notified us after months of trying to get them to give us an answer about three weeks ago that they weren’t going to allow us to lease the space again and they had other plans.”
The couple sat down and began weighing their options, with staying on Route 53 seeming to be the best move as they receive a lot of business from that part of town and from Norwell and Hanover High School sports teams after practices and games. Where they go from here is still very much up in the air.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is and has always been a communal feeling, as not only are Stephen and Alice on a first-name basis with all of the regulars and vice versa, the regulars are the same way with each other.
“They are always asking each other how their kids are doing, how their grandkids are doing and are just very welcoming to each other,” said Stephen. “It’s just a really great family neighborhood place to eat. 7-Eleven, in their infinite wisdom, has decided that we don’t need to be there anymore. A lot of our customers are just beside themselves. We have one customer who’s 92, that has been coming here for breakfast for over 40 years. Sits in the same booth everyday and she’s just beside herself.”
The lease ends on Sunday, Dec. 31, but the last day will be Dec. 23 to celebrate the holidays and because they lease much of the equipment and they need to make sure everything is in order.
A chage.org petition was quickly started once word was announced of the closure, with over 3,500 digital signatures between Sunday, Oct. 29 and Monday, Oct. 30, with a goal of 5,000.
“We are hoping that they will change their minds and we can stay there for a few more years,” he said. “We hope there is a reprieve of some kind. We dealt with the Tedeschi family for years and they were honorable people. We could operate on a handshake with no problems. With a building that age, there are a issues with the plumbing and the heating and they made sure things were as right as right could be. 7-Eleven is a whole other ballgame, with the corporate entity. We’re a grain of sand on the beach to them.”
Officials from 7-Eleven could not be reached for comment before going to press Tuesday morning.
Follow Adam Silva on Twitter at @AdamSMariner.