Why I Decided to Close Evenfall

It has been nearly a week since I closed Evenfall and I have been asked many times why I did. Truth is there is no way I could explain it all verbally when I see you at Sauce or around town so I figured I would write it out here.

Evenfall was a passion of mine for 8 years and closing it was a difficult decision, I loved the fact that we didn’t give in to the suburban dining doldrums and catered to the people that loved us, not those who didn’t understand us.

So why close?

It was a combination of a lot of things but the most crucial were the following:

  1. We signed our lease in 2004, in the midst of an economic upturn, when the economy faltered in 2008 the lease started to become less attractive financially, in the four years that followed the economy is much the same but the lease was getting more and more expensive. I was unable to renegotiate the terms and that was a factor in deciding to pack it up. As time went on the cost to be in that building was eating more and more of the cash flow, and I was unable to change that.
  2. The Haverhill Licence Commision made it very difficult to continue to invest in Haverhill. In 8 years we had just two liquor violations, both were as a result of police stings where they sent in a minor. We failed two of the many they operated. The first one resulted in a three year probation during which time we could have no violations, and we did not. The second one was four years later and at the Hearing commissioner Gerald A. Sewell told me that if Evenfall ever failed again they would make us close early for a month. I told him that would put us out of business and he said that I should consider another line of work then. — That was enough for me to seriously consider leaving Haverhill alone. Evenfall was not a dis-functional bar like so many in Haverhill have been, and the treatment and threats from Sewel were unfair. His words and the commission’s actions did far more to hurt the 25 employees who work paycheck to paycheck than they hurt me.
  3. My father passed away in March, and left a void at our Andover restaurant Andolini’s, that I was eager to address in my home town.
  4. I opened Sauce in Andover to a great response and ethusiasm. With plans to roll out the concept into new locations on my mind it was hard to convince myself to re-invest time and money at Evenfall and in a city that would talk to a business like Gerald A. Sewel does.

Thank You

I want to take a moment to thank all the loyal regular customers, and the amazing staff members who worked at Evenfall over the years. I will never forget the countless good times we shared together and I wish you all the best.

I would also like to thank the Haverhill Police Department for the way they handled themselves with regards to the stings, they were doing their job and they did it with compassion. Our bartenders never wanted to serve a minor, they made mistakes, and the police showed great understanding with the shaken and crying bartenders when they failed the sting.

Why Be So Blunt?

It may seem uncouth to mention Mr. Sewel’s name, but I honestly think he is a detriment to the city, and as a member of government he is open to criticism. The trouble is that those who would typically complain (like me until now) are under his thumb. Imagine having hundreds of thousands of dollars invested, tens of thousands in monthly overhead, and dozens of employees relying on your business for their livelihood, and having an out of touch bureaucrat tell you: “We are closing you early because you can’t appeal it like if we shut you down for a whole day.” All the while instituting an unwritten rule that if you ever have an alcohol violation again, even half a decade later… you are subject to unknown and nearly unlimited early closings. It’s insane that nobody sees how destructive that is to the culture and economy of the city. It is bad enough that people have been stabbed, shot, and killed in Haverhill… we don’t need out of touch backhanded government too.

So that’s it, Evenfall is closed for good and those are the major reasons why. Hope to see you all soon at one of the other restaurants!






10 responses to “Why I Decided to Close Evenfall”

  1. Caterina0611 Avatar

    Sad to see Evenfall go, but I’m looking forward to seeing you in Andover!
    Best of everything to you always!

  2. Andrew Arbo Avatar

    Evenfall was our “go-to” date-night restaurant. We didn’t care about trying anything else because we knew what to expect and we knew it would be great. 

    i dont blame you , but am sad to see Evenfall go. I’m certain it’s not easy, but in business, these decisions never are. Personal service, great food, and perfect atmosphere every visit made us excited to return. We will always support the creative and personal style of the owners as they focus on Andolini’s, Sauce, and “who knows what’s next!” 

    Thank You.

  3. Rthomas Avatar

    miss you guys tanya and i will see you soo in andover

  4. Robert LeBlanc Avatar
    Robert LeBlanc

    I own several restaurants in New Orleans (Capdeville, Sylvain, Ste. Marie) and applaud your courage and your honesty.  I am a big fan of your writings and your outlook on our industry, that I love very much.  Wishing you all the best and continued success. 

  5. Cherylkozlowski Avatar

    As a frequent customer at Evenfall I was shocked to find it closed for good today, but even more shocked to read your explanation as to why.  If you wanted your explanation to have any credibility, you should have left the Haverhill bashing out of it.  When you served minors, Haverhill had every right to threaten whatever punitive sanctions they thought fit.  You need to take responsibility for your restaurant serving minors.  That is NEVER a minor violation as you put it.  I am an educator in Haverhill and have a gift certificate to Evenfall that was purchased for me by some lovely and hardworking families.   ???

    1. Spiro Pappadopoulos Avatar

      Hi Cheryl, 

      I wrote minor violations because it was serving a minor, as opposed to a DUI, Fight, Over Serving, or other types of liquor violations. Those were the two violations we had in 8 years. I did not and do not take them lightly and will alter the text to make that clear. I was the only one of dozens of establishments that provided a plan to prevent future violations, paid for two types of training for my staff, and I was the only owner who had two violations spread out by four years. Most had multiple in the month they did the stings. Some were allowed to elude punishment by selling between husband and wife to change ‘ownership’. The way the hearing went was a joke. 

      I want you to know that the liquor commission went around rules, and dispensed punishment as much based on who you knew as what happened. It was made clear to me at the meeting that I should leave town in spoken words from a commissioner. 

      I do not think that speaking out about it is a bad thing for the city, I think that in order for the Corruption (http://www.eagletribune.com/haverhill/x1876341261/Corruption-conviction-could-cost-Flaherty-his-pension), Heroin and Cocaine problems (http://www.eagletribune.com/local/x1704534714/Police-Street-drug-sale-seen-by-Haverhill-detectives-nets-3-arrests), and poor School Performance (http://www.greatschools.org/massachusetts/haverhill/) that mar Haverhill’s image in the eyes of Home Buyers and customers to be rectified the city needs more people to care enough to point out what is wrong with the people who are running it. 

      Being critical of government is allowed, just as you are allowed to be critical of me.

  6. wckeogh719 Avatar

    You have no one to blame for your failure but yourself.  Horrible management, terrible food, useless servers… the fact that you are making light of TWO abcc violations for SERVING MINORS shows you have no respect for your industry or your community.  you are a complete joke and i look forward to watching your journey to the bottom.

    1. Spiro Pappadopoulos Avatar

      Tell Matt I said Hi… been in this game a lot longer than you my friend. I went to High School with your Boss. I am sure you are a great server, I am sure you have a reason to be mad at me, but I forgot more about the restaurant business than you ever knew. 

      Someday if you open a place of your own show me how to do it, until then keep doing what you are doing. 

  7. Kara Sotirakopoulos Avatar
    Kara Sotirakopoulos

    We are so sad to hear about this. My husband and I have enjoyed Evenfall for years. We especially enjoyed your focus on locally sourced, quality food. Unfortunately, you are not alone in your struggles with city bureaucracy and red tape 🙁 We will be sure to support Sauce, good luck and thank you for your honestly, as a tax payer in Haverhill, I appreciate it. 
    Kara and Adam Sotirakopoulos

  8. Billman1964 Avatar

    Good luck in your endeavors and I will miss the “Crispy Baby Back Ribs”.