EVOO Restaurant Closed

Wood Fired

June, 25, 2009, by Christian

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After seven years in business, EVOO has closed its doors. Head Chef and part-owner Jean Paul Fontaine is one of the area’s better culinary talents, and loyal patrons can take some comfort in the fact that a note posted on the EVOO website says that they “are currently looking to open a new restaurant” (see below for full reproduction of the note). No official word yet on whether they plan to convert the same space into something different or if this means an entirely new location, although it appears that a new location is planned. One would venture to guess that another restauranteur would have a go at a new restaurant in the current location, but it’s all speculation at this point.

EVOO will be fondly remembered as a neighborhood bistro serving Mediterranean-style cusine such as fresh whole fish, oven fired pizzas, and some of the best steaks outside of a steakhouse. Unfortunately, many may remember EVOO for the isolated yet highly-publicized incident of food-borne illness that struck several patrons earlier this year. It’s doubtful that the closing is directly related to this event, but the fallout from the negative publicity may have had a lasting effect. EVOO was ultimately cleared of any responsibility for the illnesses (apparently the problem was some bad anchovies which were packaged offsite) and the restaurant re-opened the very next day. I last ate at EVOO just a few weeks ago and everything was spectacular, particularly the service. It’s much more likely that the closing is a result of the struggling economy and the growing number of competing restaurants on nearby Glenwood South.

Here’s the letter which is now posted on the EVOO website.

Dear Loyal Patrons,

As of Tuesday, June 23, 2009, EVOO is closed for business.  We wanted to personally thank everyone for their support over the years.  Without this loyal support, EVOO would not have been able to survive seven memorable years serving the downtown Raleigh community.  We are currently looking to open a new restaurant. The restaurant would incorporate the same great ambiance, service, food, and beverages EVOO has always provided. Please check the website for updates on the possible new location. Once again, thank you to everyone for helping make seven years worth of memories.
EVOO Staff

Best of luck to Chef Jean Paul and the EVOO staff in their future endeavors. EVOO will be truly missed.

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Restaurants, Other posts by Christian.


Glenwood South


  • Rob
    06/26 09:53 AM

    I can’t say I’m surprised. I had one of the worst meals of my life at Evoo in February of this year. Everything we ordered was off in one way or another, some items were simply inedible. The space was beautiful, the service was good, and the menu was impressive, but the food was a complete failure. I’d like to think it was just an off night, but everything was way off. Also, Evoo is an acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but the oil they served with their bread was thin and tasteless - not extra virgin.

    I wish them luck in their next restaurant, I hope they focus as much attention on the quality of it’s food as they do on it’s image.

  • jake
    06/26 10:48 AM

    On the whole I will miss EVOO. While a few of my experiences were just okay, most were great. This ends the era of EVOO and its sister restuarant Bistro 607. I suspect that like the Bistro (now the Globe), EVOO and Paul will find another venue. I can only hope that the baked whole fish will be on the new menu!

  • Kev
    06/26 11:22 AM

    The report about the food poisoning findings
    (bad anchovies and tuna) was just on WRAL yesterday, now they’re closed today? Sounds like it’s directly related.

  • christian
    06/26 11:32 AM

    Actually the food ilnesses were back in April. WRAL probably mentioned it again in their story about the closing, hence the confusion.

  • wg
    06/26 01:44 PM

    i went in there on friday nights for the 1/2 off well drinks, and it was ALWAYS dead.  not only the restaurant, but the bar too…

  • Ron
    06/27 10:37 AM

    It wasn’t a story about the closing, it was a story about the final report on the illnesses which was just released.


  • evoo blows
    06/28 12:32 AM

    yawn. evoo sucked.

  • Matt W
    06/28 06:45 PM

    Never visited the place.  The name reminded me of Rachael Ray, which was quite enough to convince me to not eat there.  Also, “,,,serving the downtown Raleigh community”—guess I wasn’t welcome anyway as another sucker from OTB.

  • Dave B.
    06/29 10:15 AM

    I lived in those apartments across the street for several years. EVOO was the closest restaurant in walking distance and I still never bothered to even go try it. IN YOUR FACE EVOO! HAH!

  • richardfoc
    06/29 12:40 PM

    Actually a quick check of the WRAL site will show that they ran two stories in April, three in May and then a story on the closing last week. Seemed a bit like overkill and I actually was wondering if someone in the news department over there had a beef with the folks at EVOO.

  • malloryhatcher
    06/29 03:16 PM

    EVOO was a wonderful alternative to Hayes Barton, Lily’s and The Point in the Five Points area. I’ll certainly miss EVOO - especially their wood-fired whole fish.

  • blzebub
    06/30 02:23 AM

    dude and whatever- you would complain if the letter said “serving all of Raleigh” on the grounds that you never visited and how could it be for all of Raleigh if you hadn’t been.  Most of their business came from the Five Points and surrounding areas in which it was located.  The letter was simply acknowledging their most common patrons.  How you turn this into some “no other city in the world blah, blah, blah” negative argument is more a testament to your own feelings of isolation and perceived scorn for living OTB.

    Dave B. - I’m glad you never came.  You wouldn’t have fit it.  I’m guessing you knew that and/or couldn’t afford the place.  For whatever reason, you sound a lot like dude and whatever.


  • Dave B.
    06/30 11:00 AM

    Aw, looks like blzebub is a little butt-hurt. Were you a bus boy there or something?

  • BFSac
    06/30 04:11 PM


  • AJustice
    07/05 10:30 PM

    The closing had nothing to do with the illnesses earlier this year.  Those news reports had no long term impacts on their business.  The restaurant closed simply because the landlord chose to raise the rent a considerable amount.  The owners are looking at possible new locations.  The old building will probably be vacant for quite a while.

  • lance
    07/10 03:11 PM

    Regardless of some of the bad press above, the owners are tops.  Thank you for having the guts to start a business in little ol’ Raleigh. 

    Keep it up.


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