BEVERLY — Tastebuds, the neighborhood sandwich shop with an everybody-knows-your name atmosphere, is closing today after 27 years.
Owner Jan Pellegrini said she has sold the business to a woman from North Carolina who will continue to run it as a sandwich shop under a new name, Sweet Seed.
Pellegrini wrote the news of the closing in white chalk on a blackboard in the window of the Hale Street store on Wednesday, and word spread through her legion of loyal customers like the aroma from one of her gourmet wraps.
“One of our employees came back from here yesterday and said, ‘Jan’s selling the business. You got to go down there,’” said Kevin Kavanaugh, who’s been a customer for six years. “It’s kind of like the end of an era.”
Pellegrini said she had been trying to sell the business for about a year. She has worked six days a week without a vacation for years and felt that now was the time.
“Every day that you open the doors when you own your own business, it’s a miracle,” she said. “The last few years, it’s harder and harder to stay afloat.”
Pellegrini, a 60-year-old Peabody native, opened the shop in 1986 as a second career after working for a decade at GTE Sylvania. She graduated from culinary school at Essex Aggie and worked three jobs to buy what had been a cheese shop at 151 Hale St. in the Cove neighborhood.
Tastebuds was one of the first sandwich shops around to start making wraps. Pellegrini named them after Beverly landmarks like Lynch Park, West Beach and Prides Crossing.
Retired teacher Betsy Desmond said she and other teachers would set aside Friday as the day they would all order sandwiches from Tastebuds. She said Pellegrini and her staff have a way of folding the wrap that makes it easy to eat.