It doesn't take much to get our COLLECTIVE pulse a-racin'. Friendly folks, dashing digs, and tasty tapas simply top the list of a few of our favorite things. We can appreciate gettin' down and dirty on some home cooking just as much as the next guy, but in a city that seemingly has more restaurants than residents, a straight-up staple is hard to come by. Enter: Eva [and cue, "Dreamweaver"]. Locally owned, operated, and one-of-a-kind, this gem is cookin' up all the faves we didn't even know we had and quickly joining the ranks of Salt Lake's tried and true eateries. We sat down with founder, Charlie Perry, to find out just what it is that makes everything he touches turn to gold [#Midas]. Oh, Eva. We don't even wish we knew how to quit you. Take in the photos below [courtesy our talent-laden clients, Jess Downer and Renata Stone], then go grab a bite. We recommend the Shrimp 'n' Grits or the Slow Roasted Tri-tip Bruschetta with some bread pudding for dessert. Srsly.
Eva - Small Plates and Drinks | 317 S Main | 801.359.8447
Can you explain to us a little bit of your background [food and otherwise]? What has led you to where you are today? I worked in San Francisco for Pasal Rigo in his boulangerie and restaurants. After that I was sous chef at Ame in SF until I opened a greek restaurant in Seattle.
You've described your menu as "comfort food" and "slightly Mediterranean" [on the website]. Where do you draw your palate inspiration from? Eva's cuisine is simply the food I like to cook and eat. I suppose I'd describe it as my own personal cuisine.
I've heard the name "Eva" comes from your grandmother. Are any of your recipes hand-me-downs? I tried using some of Grandma Eva's recipes at Eva, but none of them worked or sold for one reason or another. Regardless, my cooking style definitely comes from her.
How do you decide which recipes make "the cut", and who contributes to the decision making? We do lots of tastings and often run things as specials to see how they fare with our customers. Jonathan Richins and Ramiro Solano help create new recipes and come up with ideas for menu items.
The atmosphere at Eva--from the communal tables to the shared plates--promotes a familial dining experience. Where did this inspiration come from? Or was it something that occurred organically? I wanted Eva to be comfortable, fun and casual. Much of it was organic--the personalities of our staff and customers have helped to shape much of its ambiance.
The space at Eva is pretty intimate, and is generally pretty packed (especially on the weekends). Have you ever considered expanding? Why or why not? We have expanded by covering our patio to be used in the winter. We are happy with the way things are now, but are always looking for ways to make Eva better.
The restaurant is always poppin' with Salt Lakers of all ages. Do you aim for any specific demographic? Why do you think Eva is so appealing to so many different types of people? It's fun, good food in a comfortable atmosphere. I think people of all demographics can appreciate that.
You seem to have found your business among some of SLC's tried and truest. What do you attribute to being ranked so highly in such a short amount of time? I'm not sure--we just do the best we can do. Eva has been lucky enough to have a consistently great staff and I have them to thank for our success.
Is Eva as it is today how you always imagined it'd be, or has it evolved in any way? It is how I imagined it, only more enjoyable.
What is Eva's Boulangerie to Eva? Baby sister? Sassy foreign cousin? Friend with benefits? The Boulangerie is definitely Eva's expensive girlfriend.