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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.


                  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.


                        1. Wow, really sad. I had been a few times and was looking forward to going back after Thanksgiving. From my previous discussions with the owners of Zax they stated that they did quite well during the Cal football season so I am a little surprised that things weren't picking up this time of year.

                          1. My wife and I really enjoyed our meal at Locanda da Eva. My hat is off to Robert for giving it a shot.

                            Locanda da Eva
                            2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: steve h.

                              This is too bad. I enjoyed my couple of visits. I thought it would end up in the "every few months) repertoire, but alas, it won't have the chance. I liked that there was easy parking and no hassle of downtown, but that ultimately is what did it in. Thanks for the good bites, the creative wine selections, and the effort.

                            2. Just came back from the Friday night 10:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. happy hour. I'm so bummed it's closing. I know this will sound like.... too little too late, but i have to say, the pizza was one of the best I've had .... ever. Dirty Girl kale, with lardo, and i forget what the cheese was, but it was fantastic. juicy - i think not only from the kale which was crispy, but from the melting lardo, with a bubbled and charred crisp crust. it was wonderful. we also had fried chicken wings with a calabrian chili oil. I did ask for more chili oil, but the chicken was ultra crunchy and delicious and satisfying. We each had two glasses of wine - i believe a vinho verde - off the happy hour menu. Our total bill for two was $30. I am so sorry to lose this place, the idea of it, the execution of food, the wine list, etc. If you can, go this weekend. I'm going to try to go again Sunday night. thanks for your effort Mr. Lauriston, and again, really sorry it didn't work out. I know it's easy to say for an outsider, but don't feel chagrined. You really did create a good thing.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                That Vinho Verde-ish wine is Tintero Grangia, a Piemontese blend of 80% Moscato, 10% Chardonnay, and 10% Favorita. Kermit brings it in. I know they have had it at Farmstead.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  oh yes, the bartendress told us it was KL! Interesting, never would have thought it was Italian. Good to know, thanks.

                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                    Wine selection was very good. This shop will be missed.

                                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    80% Favorita (aka Vermentino), 10% Chardonnay and 10% Moscato.
                                    and it is at #farmstead

                                  3. re: mariacarmen

                                    Ditto. Finally made it over there. We put them through their paces by ordering one from every section (appetizer, pasta, pizza, meat, veggie, dessert) plus wine, cocktails, coffee and tea. Way too much food, but everything was delicious (okay, I thought the ravioli was kind of weak -- unfortunately they had run out of the pasta special of papparadelle with oxtail sugo). The stars were the porchetta, the kale pizza and somewhat surprisingly, the dessert (pumpkin and sage gelati with caramel, which were taken to the next level by the addition of small cubes of crisp fried polenta). Service was sort of scattered (we came in at the peak Saturday night rush, though), with a long gap between the appetizer and the pizza and some long waits for things like cream for my tea (good tea, even if it was bagged instead of loose). But we were enjoying sitting there, and aside from the pacing the service was excellent -- our waitress even insisted on bringing me something else when she asked how I liked my specialty cocktail and I told her I didn't (since it was a featured cocktail I thought I must be wrong about limoncello and amaretto being terrible together, but I wasn't).

                                    Our waitress said that for the last night tomorrow they're featuring happy hour prices all night. I'm going to see if I can round up a couple of people and go back for more pizza and porchetta!

                                  4. went again tonight. place was packed, which was nice to see - again, most certainly too little, too late, and unfortunately it meant a lot of items were sold out by the time we were served. glad i went, tho, and still wish there was some way to save it - some investor swooping in at the last minute, willing to bet on a venue that really creates exceptionally good food!

                                    1. So sad, that I got back to late to go again. Been there once and was planning to go again soon it was a trip for since I am in the West Bay. But at least the one time I was there it was outstanding.

                                      Hope Robert can give it another try sometime soon.

                                      1. Very late to this thread and news of closing. We're sad.