The small but ambitious eVe on University Avenue in Berkeley is closing in the new year, and owners Chris and Veronica Laramie will be changing things up with a more casual concept called Brasa (1960 University Avenue), a Peruvian rotisserie (something along the lines of Limon Rotisserie, it sounds like). Veronica has a Peruvian background, and in addition to rotisserie chicken and several Peruvian dishes, they'll be doing fresh-squeezed juices, and serving beer and wine on tap. Meanwhile, the couple has been approached by investors to work on a larger concept elsewhere, the details of which are still hush-hush.
The Laramies relocated to the Bay Area from Chicago two years ago to open eVe, and they were met with a fair amount of critical praise for their food and for Veronica's incredible potato-bread dinner rolls. The concept was somewhere between a bistro and a fine dining restaurant, with a prix fixe option and a number of complex, composed dishes.
Update: Grub Street caught up with Chris by phone, and he puts to rest any idea that eVe is closing for any lack of success this year. "This year's been fantastic," he tells us. "Thankfully someone came along who recognized what a little gem in the rough eVe is. You know we never had a front-of-house manager, no host stand. We never quite got where we wanted service-wise. But I think the cooking was always really solid and it's gotten others interested in us and opened up the door to a bigger project."
Brasa, he explains, is the perfect way for he and wife Veronica to take a step back and put the restaurant in the hands of sous chefs and line cooks. "Over the last few years we've just been working like dogs," he says. "We needed to do something a little less personal and dependent on us being there every day."
As for details about the new, larger project, he can't tell us where it will be. But he says "it will be in the same tradition of eVe, the kind of cooking that really turns us on, but reconceptualized and in a different location."
They say they're looking forward to this "exciting new opportunity" to open something bigger than their current 28-seater. Stay tuned for further details, but in the meantime you may still make reservations at eVe through New Year's Eve.
Brasa is scheduled to open sometime in February.