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Locanda da Eva closing?!

From facebook:

Locanda da Eva--I'm sad to announce that Sunday will be our last day. Please come by for a last meal or two. It's been great, thank you fans.

Damn, I really enjoyed my meals there. Will the location's curse never end?

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    1. Damn! For various reasons I never made it over there. Too bad, I was hoping to take some friends to dinner there next month.

      It's hard to understand how a restaurant can open and close in just four months -- I would have thought that the business plan would have allowed for at least six months to build some clientele, especially with the holidays coming up.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        It does seem like a shame but it is a killer business and so few make it a year. Putting out good food is only a part. I feel for the employees, but I have to applaud Robert Lauriston for giving it a shot.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Our business plan looked great, we just didn't get the revenues. The economy didn't pick up much, and Giants fever was really tough on places without TVs. Did Zax have a TV in the bar?

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            No Zax did not have a TV. My understanding was Zax was a go to spot for Cal alumni after home games. I could see that many people were drawn to places with televisions during the Giants WS run. The times I went you seemed to be doing a decent business. There were some empty tables but it looked 75-80% full.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I meant that IMHO it's a poor business plan not to have enough operating capital to guarantee you'll stay in business at least six months. To bad you couldn't find another investor to give the place a fighting chance.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                I have thoroughly enjoyed my meals at Locanda da Eva. The food is delicious, creative but also comforting. I thought that the place just needed time and perhaps more aggressive/creative marketing to become a neighborhood favorite.

                I have been in the restaurant every night since the word got out about the closing, and will also be in tonight. I agree with fellow chowhounders that, Mr. Lauriston, you did set out to create a beautiful thing. More importantly, the wonderful staff that were drawn to that vision, both FOH and BOH, all put their hearts and souls into the place and really made the memories of the food, wine and good times that everyone else has been lamenting about possible.

                So if you are stopping by tonight to enjoy the last night at the restaurant, thank Mr. Lauriston for his vision and giving it a 4-month attempt, but more importantly, tip your hats to the servers and the kitchen crew, who continue to rock the show, putting out good food and creating a great ambiance despite being stripped fo their dreams of building a great restaurant and facing the uncertainty lying ahead in their lives.

                Yet even with a solid crew and beautiful food, Loconda da Eva is being denied a chance to simmer and grow. Mr. Lauriston, I certainly applaud you for taking that big first step to owning a restaurant (and as a former entrepreneur, am sorry for your financial losses), but I wish you had the foresight and appetite to stick with it for just a bit further. You opened knowing that it was still a lousy economy, a good business plan should have been able to weather the week of slow business brought on by the World Series, and anticipate the typically slower holiday season. What was your marketing plan? Did you have an exit strategy? Perhaps appealing to more investors? A good business plan would have forecasted and provided such possibilities, and not resulted in a hasty closing. Good luck to you, Mr. Lauriston. And finally, thank you, Chef Huw & crew and GM Matt & staff. I am looking forward to my one last meal at a great restaurant.

                -----
                Locanda da Eva
                2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

                1. re: sylv_wu827

                  In a perfect world, the good folk at Locanda da Eva would have had another six-months or so to noodle the details and come up with a formula that met backers' expectations. Things didn't work out that way. Robert, others had to call it like they saw it.

                  I enjoyed my one visit. I was impressed by the brevity of the menu, the wonderful execution and the friendly staff. The wine list was exemplary.

                  My modest take is that I hope the participants in the initiative build on the knowledge they gained. It would be a pity to consign hard-earned lessons to the dust bin.

                  just my $0.02.

                  --sth

                  -----
                  Locanda da Eva
                  2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                  The formula is at least a year or more of working capital in reserve.

                  1. re: monku

                    I don't have a business background, but it was obvious even to me that four months was not enough time to build a business.

                    sylv_wu827 -- you said almost word for word what I was thinking after my meal at Locanda de Eva last night. I didn't want to get into a "blame the victim"/second guessing kind of discussion -- obviously Robert put a lot of time, energy, thought and money into this venture and has to be disappointed that it has failed -- but I was really touched when our waitress said that closing was "heartbreaking."

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      You are absolutely correct. This is a huge disappointment, and Robert must feel it the most deeply. Thank you for your vision and I truly applaud you for your efforts.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        There's a million things that can go right and wrong. Sometimes you take a shot even without the backing you know you need, or you have the backing but it goes soft, there's a million possibilities. Sorry to see LdE close before I got up there - just not visiting that part of town much.

              2. what a bummer! I liked the food, the very little i had.... was looking forward to going again!
                I know you can't blame it all on this, but it really is a crummy location. It just feels so isolated. then again, location location location.... truly bummed out for Lauriston.

                1. They are taking reservations for these last few nights. To those who liked (or would have liked if they'd gotten there in time [that means you, Ruth]), the everything-well-executed menu, the remodeled space with whimsical teacup-and-saucer fixtures, the blister on the wood-oven pizza crust, the stylish cocktails, the Sunday hours: please go by and enjoy this final week-end and thank Robert for a great effort.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: dordogne

                    I wish I could. Leaving for Chicago tomorrow. Definitely would have gone this weekend if I were in town.

                    1. re: dordogne

                      waiting to hear from a friend, if she says yes, we're hitting the 10 p.m. happy hour at the bar. i really liked that pizza.

                      1. re: dordogne

                        The minute (last night) that I read of Locanda's closing I made a dinner reservation for tonight via Open Table. There were virtually unlimited times available for all three nights. So . . . you should all go not only to vote for the food with your feet but to thank and support Robert Lauriston.

                        And I totally disagree with the "cursed location" BS. Casa de Eva was a great success in that location for decades. And a couple of the successors did quite well.

                      2. Oh, drats. I've not been there, but wanted to try it at my first opportunity.

                        ~TDQ