Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen Closes

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After nearly two decades of serving up Caribbean and West Indian cuisine—and plenty of rum—in Laguna Beach, Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen is closed and in search of a new location to call home. Photo by Jody Tiongco.

After nearly two decades of serving up Caribbean and West Indian cuisine—and plenty of rum—in Laguna Beach, restaurant owner and chef Eva Madray confirmed that as of Dec. 15, Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen is closed and in search of a new location to call home.

Madray said Thursday that the main reason for the closure is the sale of their building and a lease that was not renewed by the current landlord, David Cox. Madray said Cox purchased the building three years ago for $1.7 million and listed the property for sale in October.

The mixed-use commercial property at 31732 Coast Highway and 31731 Virginia Way is listed for sale on Loopnet for $2,629,500 by Berkshire Hathaway.

“My lease expired as of August 2018 and [I] was not granted another lease,” Madray said. “Considering the current situation, my rent would certainly increase.”

Madray said Thursday that a new location for the restaurant has not yet been determined. She plans on meeting with investors in January and is considering options like a fast-casual jerk shack.

“The season of change is now; I feel that the best is yet to come,” Madray said.

Madray, who has been living in Laguna for 30 years, opened Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen just over 19 years ago. The restaurant business seemed to come naturally to Madray, who said she never really liked cooking and never went to cooking school. In addition to her popular cuisine, which quickly became a staple in Laguna, Madray offered her guests more than 480 different kinds of rum—a collection she’s been told is one of the best in the world.

Madray said she’s thankful for the wave of supportive messages from friends and loyal patrons, but she doesn’t have the heart to read them just yet. A Dec. 16 post on the restaurant’s Facebook page announcing the closure has garnered more than 120 comments from locals who were disappointed by the news but hopeful for a new location in town.

“It has been a true joy and pleasure to share with you our love of Caribbean and West Indian food for the past 19 years in which we have called Laguna Beach home,” Madray said in a statement to the community. “We’ve hosted some amazing events featuring many of the world’s finest rums paired with our cuisine. You welcomed us into your lives by celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and more special occasions than we can count with us. We’ve loved each and every minute of it and we are blessed that you chose to share these special moments with us.”

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13 COMMENTS

  1. EVA

    YOUR ARTISTRY in cooking
    has made a wonderful contribution to the fabric of Laguna.
    Hurry and get a new place…and bigger.

    Fondly and with appreciation.,
    Paul Merritt

  2. Eva – please keep us updated about your new venture. Your are truly a wonderful artist in both designing your restaurant and the delicious food and drink on your menu. My son Malik introduced us.

  3. Hi Eva! It’s bisnca from the old Forrest Ave. MEPHISTO shoes!
    Looking forward to your new spot!

  4. Eva, I’m so glad we had the chance to have one last meal just before you closed. Your food was/is amazing (yes, your jerk salmon is the best salmon we’ve ever had) but it really is the environment that you, Melanie and all your staff created. You always made us feel like friends not just customers and yet the customer service you offered was beyond anything we’ve experienced almost anywhere. Of course, we’re going to miss our favourites, but mostly we’ll miss you, Melanie and the feeling of going to somewhere very special.

    Your Vancouver fans, Heather, Alan, Ethan and Leah

  5. Hi Eva, Shawn & Josette Wyatt are looking forward to your new restaurant. Please notify us when you get a new location. We hate we missed coming before you closed. Please email us at [email protected]

    Best

  6. Eva, We have been eating there for 20 years. Its a drive but have made it at least two times a year. If you find a new location and need an Electrician call me. Manny 714-6550037

  7. Eva,
    I drove by today to find the location closed. I am so very sorry. I certainly hope that another location locally is obtainable. If I can help, let me know , please.

  8. Eva, we will miss your restaurant in Laguna, but look forward to your next adventure. Come to San Juan Capistrano, we would love your restaurant there!!!
    Sam and Rich

  9. Eva, Please let us know when you have a new location . If you need an electrician contact me. Manny & Lisa Moledo

  10. HEY MS. EVA…HOW ABOUT GRACING OUR PRESENCE IN THE SOUTH BAY AREA…i.e. LONG BEACH,BIXBY KNOLLS…WE WOULD LOVE TO PATRON YOUR RESTAURANT IN OUR NECK OF THE WOODS!!!

  11. Eva – Your cooking was my favorite thing about Laguna Beach, California. It did not matter the distance; it was worth driving to your restaurant 2+ times a year and having a delicious meal with what felt-like long time friends – regarding both food and people. Our special occasions were all the more special because they were at your restaurant specifically throughout my time of living in the greater Los Angeles region. As people prior to me have said, the environment was created by your presence and your amazing staff – and I never felt like a customer, but a friend visiting home. Cheers to your future success as you decide the next steps, and location. Selfishly, I am hopeful it is near me but at the very least southern California. I am sad to see you go but I know you have a bright, flavorful future ahead. Laguna Beach suffers a great loss because it is no longer graced by your business.

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