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Posted on Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 8:49 a.m.

Eve Aronoff announces she'll close Kerrytown's 'eve the restaurant' on Jan. 16

By Paula Gardner


'eve the restaurant' will close on Sunday.

File photo

This story has been updated with comments from Kerrytown's manager.

'eve the restaurant,' a Kerrytown landmark with national recognition after owner/chef Eve Aronoff appeared on Bravo's “Top Chef,” will close Jan. 16.

The announcement, made Sunday night on Facebook, follows a week in which rumors started to circulate in Ann Arbor about the future of the restaurant at 415 N. Fifth Ave. next to Kerrytown Market and Shops.

Aronoff wrote that she was unable to “come to agreeable terms” on re-signing her lease for the space.

“It is super sad,” Aronoff said in a comment Sunday night on Facebook. “But it may be the best for now.”

Thumbnail image for frita.jpg

Eve Aronoff opened Frita Batidos in early December and now announces she'll close her eponymous Kerrytown restaurant.

Janet Miller | For

Aronoff has a back injury from a trip to Honduras, she wrote, and also is busy with her new venture, Frita Batidos, which opened recently on West Washington. was unable to immediately reach Aronoff for further comment this morning.

eve the restaurant has been one of Ann Arbor's favorite restaurants for some time, known for its frequently changing menu based on local ingredients and Aronoff's unique touch. While it has been open for lunch in the past, it more recently only served dinner.

Aronoff gained national prominence in summer 2009 with her appearance on "Top Chef." She was voted off early in the season but attracted attention to her restaurant, which was described as "intimate" by network officials.

At eve the restaurant, gift certificates may be reimbursed this week or refunded for 60 days, according to the Facebook posts. Aronoff also writes she'll accept them at Frita Batidos.

On Jan. 16 before dinner, Aronoff will host a food and wine sale from 1-4 p.m., with proceeds going toward severance pay for her staff, she wrote.

The restaurant is about 2,000 square feet. It formerly housed the Kerrytown Bistro.

Karen Farmer, manager of Kerrytown, said that she and Aronoff had worked on the restaurant's lease renewal over the past year. The effort focused on coming up with a longer-term renewal, Farmer said.

"We extended the current lease to give us more time to discuss what was going to happen," Farmer said this morning. The extension was to occur in September, but Aronoff asked for more time then.

In December, Farmer said, "We let her know that we were going to begin marketing the space, although we would love to work out something with her."

The space will remain a restaurant, Farmer said, and at least two potential new tenants are interested in it.

However, Farmer said, she recognizes the loss of eve the restaurant will have an impact on the city.

"It was definitely a treasure for Ann Arbor and the surrounding community, she said. "... We're very sad that she's not going to be a part of Kerrytown."

Paula Gardner is Business News Director of Contact her at 734-623-2586 or by email. Sign up for the weekly Business Review newsletter, distributed every Thursday, here.



Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

whatever folks it's gone and probably will never be back in the SAME form at the SAME place. high rent increase,high utility bills,taxes,and many other things were probably factors. the sun though will still rise in the east and set in the west.

Atticus F.

Fri, Jan 14, 2011 : 11:23 a.m.

ST, the problem with a place dedicated to Localy grown food; limited selection. You are excluding so many wonderful foods by way of turning your nose up at anything that isn't locally grown.


Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 7:12 p.m.

I heard either an Olgas, Olive Garden or Panera. Yum & Bon Appetit! Also the Quarter Bistro has really gotten lost in the past few years and not sure what happened to Rush Street (no food anymore). What a shame as it was rather decent & swanky. "The first thing we do, let's kill all the landlords" - Shakespeare's Henry The VI


Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 12:49 p.m.

@Rusty Shackelford: Grange is a restaurant that's bringing something new to Ann Arbor by actually being dedicated to using truly local food rather than just jumping on the locavore bandwagon by putting one product on your menu and calling yourself "local". Additionally, from my experience the menu there has always been innovative and delicious, not to mention always changing depending on the season, so maybe try it again before you hate on a new restaurant that's actually trying to make a difference?


Wed, Jan 12, 2011 : 8:49 a.m.

Many of you probably don't remember Ascona Brothers in Kerrytown? Or how Zingerman's bought them out and tried to establish a Produce Station-like environment until it became clear that it wasn't enough of a cash cow and they withdrew. I think this foray is along the same lines; tons of money to invest yet not a very good idea? Hand it to Zingerman's though for being to sell ordinary deli food at a premium! That is genius! Best item at Zingerman's? The egg-salad sandwich with bacon at $3.85 available at the Roadhouse.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

I'm guessing the simple explanation to this is, judging by the crowds and the obviously super-low overhead I've seen there so far...that "Fritas Batidos" is simply far more profitable and less work to run than Eve the Restaurant.

4 Fingers

Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 10:59 a.m.

I think the Landlord is making a big mistake not keeping Eve in that space. She's a good tenant, and has an established business. Should have signed her to a 3 year with a few extensions. Now they'll probably end up spending money revamping the space on a Tenant that has no track record at that location.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 10:02 a.m.

Very, very overrated and overpriced. Have never had a good experience here so I'm not really sure how this goes down as the best restaurant in town. Food is consistently mediocre and the staff very arrogant and slow. Pac Rim, WEG, GD, Logan, Earle, all put out a better product which is why they've been around for years while paying high downtown rent. Kerrytown rent is a steal compared to the rest of ann arbor so I don't believe for a minute that Eve and landlord couldn't come to terms. Its nice to lay the blame on the landlord but like someone else posted on here, if bills and rent were current why would the landlord not want to resign a lease? Word on the street is investors haven't seen a return in years and are fed up.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 8:38 a.m.

Y'all know what an excuse is, right? Eve's restaurant failed to meet the necessary annual operating revenue goals and now she is blaming the landlord. Get over it. Restaurants close and open all the time. In fact, the very idea that she lasted as long as she did is a testament to her skills.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 8:25 a.m.

I was sad to see Kerrytown Bistro go when it was previously in that space. That was always one of my favorites and eve had tough shoes to fill. Seems that the landlord of the that space has a pattern of expecting to increase the rent so that even successful high-end restaurants have difficulty staying there for more than a few years. Too bad.


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 12:05 a.m.

I stopped going to Eve because they discriminated based on age. I would make reservations weeks in advance for the main dining room and when I arrived they would try and sit my party by the door with all the other 30 and under crowd. On my third time visiting I insisted they fulfill my reservation and they did. Shocking, the main dining room was filled with older people while the front was all younger. Sorry Eve!


Tue, Jan 11, 2011 : 12:04 a.m.

Eve is a dear friend of mine and she is one of the most open and straight forward people that i know. I've been through each stage of the evolution of the restaurant with her and I can say that there is no "disagreement" with the landlord as some have speculated. While the Kerrytown space is charming, practically speaking, the space is less than ideal (i.e. not enough seats during the busy times and not enough foot traffic in the off peak; also no prep space in the kitchen, etc.). Eve was hoping to sign a lease extension (one to two years), but having already done this a few years in a row, the landlord was now fixed on a five year term this time around. The rent was always paid on time, the restaurant made Kerrytown a destination place in the evening, and I certainly would not have made the same call as the landlord. I join many others in feeling sad that this world class restaurant is closing (at least for the time being) leaving a void in the Ann Arbor restaurant scene. I hope this information puts some speculation to rest.

Will Warner

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

@mittengirl: You're right, my comment was insensitive. I'm sorry I was so flippant. I hope all the employees land on their feet.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 9:53 p.m.

@wwarner..eating out does not constitute being a foodie,,If you were a true foodie, one thinks that you would have been one a first name basis with eve. Further, trying to obtain a premier growth medoc at a 'cheap' price pours salt in the wounds of the employees the sale is trying to help. jeez//


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

Maybe the numbers just didn't add-up any more. Rising costs and fewer fine diners can easily wipe-out a small restaurant's profit margin. Not to mention the headaches associated with running a place like that. She was probably smart to move down the food-chain for now. Frito Bandito should have a broader appeal, and be less aggravating to run. Mere mortals can actually aspire to eat there!


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

Sorry to hear the news! Never good stuff! But, alas, we still have Knights, truly an Ann Arbor institution--what a success story!!

Will Warner

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

@sigdiamond: LOL. You've noticed how threads can get off the thread, haven't you. I'm a foodie (eat out 6 times a week) and I only went to Eve's a couple times. It seemded that every dish contained coconut. I may go to the sale and try to score some Haut Medoc for cheap.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 7:37 p.m.

I agree that there is way more to this story. It is a shame that the restaurant is closing. It was a beautiful, unique restaurant. But I have to say, for Aronoff to close so suddenly is not very respectful to her staff and loyal customers. I know several people that had planned special events, even a WEDDING, there for this summer and they did not even receive a phone call. They learned of the closing from like everyone else. Clearly, she is not being upfront with what is really going on and I believe Kerrytown on this one. It is sad because this isn't the way that a great restaurant should have went out.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 7:22 p.m.

Anyone with a palate knows that 'Eve' is unquestionably the best restaurant in Ann Arbor. What a sad day for all denizens of this fair city. Ann Arbor just became a little less generally... and a LOT less tasty.

Brian Kuehn

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 7:08 p.m.

@Atticus F. - Back in December there was a discussion about the business climate in Ann Arbor. You may have missed my earlier inquiry as to the source which provided you with the following: "John Q, the truth of the matter is that Ann Arbor has the highest failure rate for business of any city in Michigan." Is there a link to a report or study?

A2 N8ive

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! I have lived in the DC area for years. We have FANTASTIC restaurants here, but few in Ann Arbor have the same feel- Earle, Gandy Dancer (on a good night)...the newby's on Main St. are a little full of themselves- generally unmerited. My long favorite everytime I come home is Eve's!

Barn Help

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 5:04 p.m.

If you are not a ZING ER MAN you get no free ads The place has HAD no help from or Mlive They got the kiss of death from the local rags


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

Eve can cook and knows good food. Maybe this is an opportunity in disguise for her.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 4:48 p.m.

40 posts and no one's blamed unions or increased speed limits yet? You people are slipping.

Mark Evans

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

One of my favorite restaurants in town. Really sad to learn about this. Had some really great meals at Eve and it was a nice spot to spend a special occasion.

John B.

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

Gun-guy wrote: "Alot of the businesses that are sucessful in A2, are so because the shop owners owned the building as well(zingermans, pizza house, Diag party store, ect.). So I dont think there are these wonderful success story about businesses in A2, other than the fact that Shop owners made a smart decision to be their own landlords." In my opinion, any small-business owner should own his/her building as soon as possible. Why make your landlord wealthy when you can be building equity in something that you can sell free and clear for hundreds of thousands of Dollars when you wish to retire, instead? Unfortunately, it's not always an option for many years after starting up a business, if ever. Would that it were.... As others have said, businesses come, and businesses go (and we are in a very bad economic situation right now, don't forget, so more may be closing than is 'typical'), but Ann Arbor is still quite a desireable location for business to locate, especially compared to many areas surrounding A2.

Atticus F.

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.

And my point jonnya2, was that I've seen some wonderful, well run businesses go under due to the tough business environment. I'm sorry if that thought disturbs your narrow view. Also, you should note That if you look at the people living in Barton Hills and Arbor Hills, you'll see very few people who own small businesses. However, you will see alot of property owners who rent to the small business owners... In otherwords, it's a small group of people getting rich off of other people's life savings. People blow their lives savings because they foolishly take the advice of others (like you) who tell them that A2 is a wonderful business environment.

Kris Palmer

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

I'm so sorry to hear about the closing of this wonderful restaurant. We loved "Eve!"

Susan Cybulski

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

eve was a wonderful restaurant, and I will miss it.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

eve was one of my favorite restaurants in town. As the landlord for a similar restaurant for the past several years (not in Ann Arbor), I do not intend to let my gem of a tenant ever leave.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

@atticus So I guess Real Seafood, Gratzi, The Ark, Palio, Mediterano, The Broken Egg are business failures in your eyes since they don't own their buildings? By the way, want to know a decently successful business in town that does not own their building? Google. Businesses come and go all the time. Your idea is that a town is unsuccessful if leases change is really quite disturbing. My post was to point out that Ann Arbor IS such a desirable place that places like Kerrytown can demand a higher lease payment. In fact it is so desirable that 5 guys, 7/11 and CVS have invested money just to have a presence here. I do not know the inner working of Eves finances, but I do know the restaurant industry. Eves style of dining is not growing currently. It has not been since before she opened. The industry has down-scaled considerably to burgers, and pizza even in the most affluent communities. Even the most greatest and most famous of chefs has restaurants that close.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

Ms. Aronoff is "super sad". Ms. Farmer is "very sad". I agree with bunnyabbot & Honest Abe, something is not right about this story... A landlord does not let the "Best restaurant in town" move out just because they can't quickly reach an agreement. And the owner does not close her namesake restaurant just because of extended lease negotiations. Did press the parties hard enough for the true story??


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

@ mittengirl, I respectfully disagree with you. Eve is/was not the best restaurant in Ann Arbor. The Earl, Vinology, Shalimar, and others are far superior in delivery outstanding food at a fraction of Eve's costs. Ta.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

The closing of Eve is such a shame-- a chef/owner who truly cares about her food, the atmosphere, final product. What is even more of a shame are the posters who feel the need to make mean-spirited comments about the restaurant. Even though it wasn't your cup of tea, is it really necessary? Obviously, closing a business is a difficult thing to do and must be extremely sad for Eve Aronoff. Way to kick them when they are down.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

Wasn't there some controversy when the former business there...Kerrytown Bistro...was overruled and overtaken by Eve the Restaurant? Maybe all of this is karma...

Atticus F.

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Johhnya2, you seem to have a very selective memory, since you seem to remember all of the businesses that do well, and at the same time ignore the endless list of shops that have closed. I'm not saying A2 is a terrible place. It is in fact my home, which I love dearly. I'm simply saying it's a tough business environment. Alot of the businesses that are sucessful in A2, are so because the shop owners owned the building as well(zingermans, pizza house, Diag party store, ect.). So I dont think there are these wonderful success story about businesses in A2, other than the fact that Shop owners made a smart decision to be their own landlords.

John B.

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

My guess is that the landlord wanted a very large increase in rent as part of a new lease. After all, Eve is "famous" now, so might as well up the rent a bunch....

free form

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

Ugghhh... this sucks. I won't theorize why eve is closing, as I don't pretend to know the details of the lease dispute. I just know that a lovely, intimate and delicious dinner destination will be sorely missed by my circle of friends. We have had nothing but great experiences at the restaurant. So sad to see it go. I certainly HOPE another venture fills the space, but I certainly don't expect it could match what Eve did there. Honestly, I fear it will sit empty for years like that other Kerrytown restaurant space has...


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

Let's keep with the recent trend and hope that a chain gourmet burger place, a CVS, or a 7-11 goes in that spot.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

I only heard mixed things about Eve so I never got around to trying it myself. Too bad. And although I hate to see anyone lose their job like this, A2 will be fine. There's hardly a shortage of restaurants in this town.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

this is a loss -- i hope that other top notch restaurants in A2 (Logan, Pacific Rim, Vinology, West End grill) are able to survive

Jim Osborn

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

A similar dispute led to Leopold's closing down and the space is still vacant after 2-1/2 years. Foolish landlord. All customers pay higher prices when businesses pay a higher rent, and others cannot justify the cost and close.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

I hope this space is filled quickly. Sounds like the rent wasn't paid. Won't miss the snarky waitstaff. Found the food here completely overrated. Only bright spot was the cocktails.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

I had one of the best fish dishes ever. Very authentic from Greece. Yet the person I was with had one of the worst dishes. Couldn't tell what it was was or the thought process behind it. Also, why choose a name for a new restaurant that sounds like Frito Bandito? maybe a mistake since the real name seems to be hard to remember.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

@Atticus F Of course you are so right. Restaurants only close in Ann Arbor. It must be because of taxes, or regulation or any number of other fake issues. Sounds like the landlord has two prospective tenants lined up in this horrible city to open a new business. I know Five Guys, CVS, and 7/11 are all stupid to come to Ann Arbor. How about they go to the lower taxed and regulated Manchester. Maybe some cows will come in for dinner. Businesses come and go for a multitude of reasons. If Kerrytown feels they can get a larger rent, and EVE does not feel it is justified, a business decision is made by both parties.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

there is always the spin, the restaurant owner points the finger at the landlord and the landlord points the finger at the restaurant. Bottom line is if you originally sign a lease and let it run out and the landlord wants you to RESIGN the same lease and the tennant doesn't want to you go to a month to month arrangment. This is like squatting in the commerical lease world. so people are not losing jobs b.c of a landlord dispute. They are losing them b/c the tenant (the restaurant) doesn't want to SIGN A LEASE. Those out of work now should look to their boss and not the landlord.

Atticus F.

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:58 a.m.

Where are all of the posters, who only last week were talking of what a great business environment Ann Abor was? I think I mentioned what a tough business environment A2 was in a posting a few weeks ago, only to be bombarded by posters telling me how wrong I was.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

The food here was awful, so I'm not too disappointed in that regard. However, it's still upsetting to know that some are losing their jobs over a landlord dispute.

Honest Abe

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

Something is "off" about this whole deal. I cannot put my finger on it yet, but there is more to this deal. Either of luck to you Eve Aronoff.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:26 a.m.

restaurants don't close because they are being asked to sign a lease extention (with no rent increase) they close because the restaurant cannot pay thier bills or have cash flow problems. If you want to go month to month it's probably because you have to go month to month.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 11:14 a.m.

eve will be missed, but this is a tough climate for a special-occasion restaurant. Thank goodness we'll have Frita Batidos, the food is excellent and it's a fun place. But nothing can recreate the experience of sitting in that elegant Kerrytown space and enjoying top-notch cuisine.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 10:42 a.m.

Really a shame. Her restaurant is not only a treasure in itself, it is an anchor business in the Kerrytown area.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 10:20 a.m.

It's sad to see any business close. But on a lighter note, maybe she will have more time to try to meet Barack Obama now. I seem to recall a puff-piece on a while back and she said she he was someone she would want to meet.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 10:17 a.m.

At its best, one of the best in town.... The 'top chef' debacle was less about workaday culinary skills and more about stress management and gamesmanship. Even one of the judges, anthony bourdain, in a recent writing, says that at the top of his game he'd never have made it beyond 4 challenges,and that mostly through guile. Good luck to eve, and looking forward to trying her new venture.

rusty shackelford

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 10:15 a.m.

Eve...definitely not the best restaurant in Mich as some claim, but sad to see it go. First Bella Ciao reopens as the inferior Grange, and now this? Oy. What's next? Pacific Rim going to become a Red Lobster?


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 10:12 a.m.

Boo, landlord! Although I don't go to eve often, it is lovely for a special occasion, and I'm sorry to see it close. Frita Badito's is lovely, but very different, of course!


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 9:49 a.m.

Oh my, what a shame. Best restaurant in Michigan. Amazing Food, Drinks, Staff, Atmosphere etc. If anything, it was underrated. Will be missed!!!


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 9:45 a.m.

Very sad; eve was a lovely restaurant. Darn. I loved that lamb-mint-appetizer patty. And eating in that elegant space.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 9:27 a.m.

I loved that place and thought the food was fabulous and the drinks, still drinking that version of the lime/ginger martini. really sad. Glad to know she will still be in town.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 9:27 a.m.

Far and away the best restaurant in Ann Arbor. It will be missed And Frita Batidos is superb

Phil Dokas

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 9:24 a.m.

Super depressing news. Eve was a longtime favorite and it will be sorely missed. Here's hoping the Facebook's mention of reopening at some point follow through and she can find a place to return to.


Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 9:21 a.m.

Truly a shame for the workers. Gastronomically, no great loss: way overrated and overpriced, though she did know more than the "nothing" she was accused of by the judges when she was quickly dismissed from top chef. Hopefully the burgers at the new joint are more her thing.