Superior’s Elbo Room switches to takeout and delivery onlyThe phones were ringing for reservations at Superior’s Sammy’s Pizza/Elbo Room on Friday with callers vying to be among the restaurant’s last sit-down customers.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The phones were ringing for reservations at Superior’s Sammy’s Pizza/Elbo Room on Friday with callers vying to be among the restaurant’s last sit-down customers.
Jeff Giansanti created the stir when he and his wife announced last week that they would be closing the restaurant that has been a mainstay in Superior for 56 years to reinvent it under a new business model.
The sit-down Elbo Room restaurant and bar will close Dec. 31, with the business running as a takeout restaurant beginning Jan. 3, and for the first time offering delivery. In addition, the business will open five hours earlier each day, at 11 a.m., in time for lunch.
Giansanti and his wife, Diane, say they’re streamlining Sammy’s based on what they say they’ve heard customers ask for over the years.
“We’re customer dictated,” Jeff Giansanti said.
“You have to see what people are asking for,” Diane added.
Kevin Mikel, a local dentist and longtime customer, called the change a smart move.
“If you live in town where delivery is now possible,” Mikel said, “the news is one of the best Christmas presents you can have.”
The change comes at a price — jobs. Last week, the Giansantis announced they would be cutting staff from 27 to nine. Most of those employees were part time, according to the Giansantis and their bookkeeper, Swan Dawson. After they got the news, Diane Giansanti said, they shared stories and tears; it was bittersweet.
While patrons used to stand in line for a sit-down supper at the Elbo Room, the Giansantis say more than 60 percent of today’s customers stop by the takeout window instead. The biggest seller remains pizza, which accounts for about 70 percent of orders.
“I haven’t had this much enthusiasm since we opened this place in 1978,” Jeff Giansanti said. “At 64 years old, I feel like I’ve been regenerated.”
That may mean more free time for the couple. Jeff works day and night, Dawson said, adding she can’t remember the last time he took a vacation.
Jeff Giansanti said he hopes the future will involve some fishing and the ability to travel with his wife. Diane Giansanti would like to spend more time with family.
“We’re proud and grateful for what this town has meant to us,” Jeff Giansanti said. “We’ve always appreciated that and (have) never taken it for granted.”
Mikel said he’s going to miss the restaurant’s steaks and the ability to sit down at the Elbo Room for an anniversary dinner.
“It’s sad,” he said, “but I’m loving it that they’re going to be open in some capacity.”