For nearly a decade, Au Bon Pain’s yellow sign greeted students at the corner of York and Broadway with the promise of hot coffee and a sandwich. But on Monday, the store shut its doors for the last time.
Yale’s University Properties chose not to renew the bakery’s lease, citing the need to make “necessary upgrades” to the One Broadway location in a statement released to the News, and the store closed after lunchtime on Monday. Six employees at Au Bon Pain said that they were informed on Thursday of the restaurant’s impending closure, which left many employees suddenly on the verge of unemployment. While Maison Mathis, a restaurant boasting similar dining options as Au Bon Pain, will soon open nearby, the replacement for the One Broadway site has not yet been revealed.
Au Bon Pain, which employed 20 to 25 people, will leave many of them scrambling after its closure, said Richard Gattison, a shift manager who had worked at Au Bon Pain for nine years.
“It’s out of the blue,” Gattison said, “It’s a lot of people who are just going to be collecting unemployment for a while, including myself.” Gattison added that he was not given any explanation for the store’s closure.
The manager at Au Bon Pain in New Haven declined to comment, and Director of University Properties Abigail Rider and Au Bon Pain’s corporate headquarters could not be reached for comment.
In its statement to the News, Yale confirmed that University Properties is working on a “similarly priced and locally-owned” alternative to Au Bon Pain, Maison Mathis, which is expected to open within 60 days at 304 Elm St. Omer Ipek and Skel Islamaj, the proprietors of Maison Mathis who also own Rudy’s on Chapel, released a statement encouraging former Au Bon Pain employees to apply for jobs at Maison Mathis and Rudy’s.
The replacement for Au Bon Pain has yet to be announced. Daniel O’Neill, the deputy building inspector for the City of New Haven, said that the One Broadway location has not yet obtained a building permit from the City of New Haven Building Department, which is necessary if a new establishment plans to do any type of construction.
While those in New Haven speculate about the change, James Hart, an employee at Denali, another store on Broadway, noted that it is difficult to know what the summer will bring.
“Broadway’s changing all the time,” Hart said.
Au Bon Pain has more than 200 locations worldwide.