In late September 2014, James Goff and partner Tanya Chipperfield, began a new chapter at Bob’s Pizza & Subs on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. After cleaning and rearranging the kitchen to suit their needs, Bob’s relaunched on October 9th.
Things started slowly, but soon, from word-of-mouth, Bob’s was packing them in, especially at lunch! James brought a new feel and menu to the centrally located pizza place — it was one of fresh, tasty, and fast good food.
Everything served at Bob’s now was fresh and housemade. From the pizza dough, which people loved, to the popular chicken parm sandwiches, to the amazing baked goods that Tanya made, this place was happening.
The concept, simple, fresh good Italian-American food was working and working well.
Imagine my surprise when I heard last week that James and Tanya decided to close Bob’s. How could this be?
Bob’s was now the place to go in Vineyard Haven, and I hadn’t even had a chance to try it yet. I was scheduled to eat there and meet the new owners to write an On Point blog about it!
James and I decided to meet anyway because there is still a story here with a happy ending — I might add. Tanya wasn’t able to join us, she was with their new son, Wolfgang, who is three months old, and cute as can be.
What Happened With Bob’s
When James and Tanya took it over, they and the original owner, Chris Sze, had an agreement. However, once in the restaurant, making good, fresh food, it was realized that the agreement weighed heavily in favor with the owner.
So, Tanya and James tried to restructure it, to be able to run Bob’s and offer good, quality, affordable food year round in Vineyard Haven.
Sadly, things did not work out. It was a tough pill to swallow at first for James and Tanya, but they had a lot of support from people.
More than 100 Islanders commented on their Facebook post that said they were closing. People said they would follow them anywhere they went because the food was so good.
When I met with James, he had just looked at another space in Vineyard Haven that was a possibility. The place is move-in ready, has parking, is more affordable, and just darn near perfect.
So, where once there was a little sadness because James and Tanya worked so hard to grow Bob’s, there was now joy. The couple has established themselves in the community, and know that they can make it work anywhere.
Stay tuned for their new location, which I think will open early this Spring. It certainly won’t be called Bob’s, and my guess is there might be “wolf” in the name, since they’re creating this legacy for their son, Wolfgang.
A Little History – Tanya & James
James, a native Cape Codder, has quite the history as a cook. He washed his first dish at a restaurant in 1985 and he was hooked on the restaurant world. When he was 21 years old, he started cooking. Though he did not go to culinary school, James studied under some high caliber chefs.
Before he got a “spark” when cooking, he was a kitchen manager. One day the chef at the restaurant had a breakdown and left. So, James started cooking. Then another door opened for him at a different restaurant, then another, and he found himself working at the popular Ocean Edge Resort in Brewster. He even worked in the kitchen of Venus De Milo where the famous Emeril Lagasse once worked.
What brought James to Martha’s Vineyard? The Mansion House’s restaurant Zephyrus, where he was hired to become the new chef. This did not work out, and after the experience, James decided he needed a break from the kitchen.
When James came to the island, he immediately fell in love with the place. He had grown up on the Cape and there was a sense of community where he lived back then. He felt that same sense of community here. He knew it was special here and that he was meant to stay.
After a hiatus from the kitchen, he started dabbling with food again. When working a catering gig, someone saw how good he was and called Jackie and Doug Korell, the owners of the Katama General Store, who were looking for a chef.
Martha’s Vineyard always offers a little magic when it comes to fate. Turns out, Jackie, Doug, and James all knew each other. They had worked at the Ocean Edge Resort together.
James had never done prepared food before. You know those delicious salads and sandwiches that you grab for the beach or for a quick, healthy bite, James was making them. Also, it was a great way for James to become involved with food again.
He could have fun with it and learned to cook healthy. James and food were friends again, and he was ready to cook again, in his own kitchen.
Also, he had met Tanya Chipperfield, who was a baker at Mocha Motts. He saw her, thought she was beautiful, he asked her on a date, and now they have a sweet baby boy together and even started a business together.
They could not be happier, well maybe, once they open their new restaurant, they’ll be even happier.
Many of you are probably familiar with Tanya’s work. She was the baker at Mocha Motts, and then the Scottish Bakehouse. There she introduced some delicious treats, including her baked doughnuts and the popular Goodness Bars. Now she is baking for her own restaurant.
Tanya was born on Martha’s Vineyard. She and James are so excited about having their own restaurant here. They both want to work hard and create something wonderful for their son, create a future for him, here in this community they love so much.
I am looking forward to the new James and Tanya’s location. I think you’ll be pleased — if they get the space they hope to. I promise to write about it soon as it opens. Things happen for a reason, and I’m glad to see this story has a happy ending.