After operating for two years in the heart of Collegetown, Sammy’s Pizzeria closed Wednesday, according to Sam Chafee, the restaurant’s owner.
Since its opening in 2014, the restaurant has become one of the staple late night eateries for Collegetown students. According to Chafee, the restaurant closed because the building’s lease expired and the landlord decided to transform the space into a real estate office for his properties.
Chafee said the “old good memories we had when we started in Collegetown [in 1997]” prompted the opening of Sammy’s Express again in 2014. However, Chafee noted that business is “not like it used to be.”
“I think everyone eat[s] at dining halls at Cornell — I know the quality of food got much better on campus,” he said.
Chafee reminisced about “old good days” when he said Sammy’s was the first store to open in Collegetown in August 1997.
“We were so busy — at this time Cornell dining halls close[d] early and more people [ate in] Collegetown,” he said.
Chafee added that recently, even with the regular visits from the “late crowds [visiting] after bars — with lines sometimes till the front door,” the restaurant still struggled to find sufficient professional help.
Connor Riser ’16 called that the restaurant’s closing “a huge loss for the Collegetown Community.”
“Sammy’s had become the go-to pizza place for my friend group,” he said. “The quality was high and the pricing was fair.”
Riser emphasized his disappointment with the latest change to Collegetown’s landscape, saying he “truly believe[s] Sammy’s Pizzeria closing really changes the whole vibe of Collegetown.”
“One of my goals for senior year was to make it up on their picture wall and now I’m devastated knowing that dream will never come true,” he said.
Liam Bui ’17 said that the restaurant “was a nice place to go for drunk late night food,” but pointed that hours were inconsistent leading up to the store’s closing.
“I recall a few times coming in at normal hours on a weekday and the pizza was cold and the store was empty, so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that they closed down,” Bui said.
Riser said he was “completely shocked” by the store’s closing.
“Every time I went in there it was fairly packed,” he said. “Considering how everything closes in Collegetown though, I guess I should have seen it coming.”