A Welcome Heat Revives Eva’s Kitchen

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By Ben Bodart, Special to the Independent


“It smells like Eva’s again,” said chef owner Eva Madray, stirring a base on the stove readying to reopen this week.

They did in three weeks what was supposed to be done in six months.


After a fire in the storage area of Eva’s Caribbean kitchen closed the south Laguna restaurant late in February, owner Eva Madray returned to her kitchen this week in preparation for reopening, albeit with a limited menu.


Madray turned to locals such as Gregg Abel Construction to rebuild the back of the restaurant destroyed by an accidental late night fire. With Abel and his son Tristan, friends and employees who normally cook, prep and serve her Guyana-spiced dishes, Madray hustled to reopen as soon as possible.


This week, barring any hitches by a final health department inspection, Madray expects to again greet customers with her 100-watt smile and welcoming hug. “I would like to thank all the people that helped me during these three weeks,” she said. “And a special thanks to all my customers that supported me. We love living in Laguna,” she said.


Besides rebuilding shelves and a heating system, Madray had to restock her unusual liquor collection. “We have 365 kinds of rum, one for each day of the year and we are ready to have 60 more different kinds soon. Even if we saved some bottles, buying the new ones was expensive,” she said.


Because of the fire, Madray was also unable to take part in the A la Carte Food and Wine Festival earlier this month, where she was to hold a rum tasting.


Ben Bodart is an Indy intern from Belgium.

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