In search of “a fresh start,” the creator of The Evening Star Café plans to close the Del Ray restaurant after dinner service Nov. 5 for a much-needed makeover and reopen the business later in the month with a new chef to replace Will Artley, whose last shift was Oct. 22.
The building that houses Evening Star, which opened in 1997, “was never intended to be a restaurant,” says Michael Babin, co-owner of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group. Babin has hired the restaurant’s original designer, Rick Singleton, to lead the renovation, which is expected to look “familiar but all new” to regulars. Part of Evening Star’s appeal is its playful lighting fashioned from construction toys. “More Erector sets will give up their lives,” to become sconces, jokes Babin.
Not all the changes will be visible to customers. When NRG purchased the building several months ago, they put on a new roof. Babin hopes to add a 2,000-square-foot garden there for the next chef’s use.
No word yet on who will take over the kitchen.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do,” says Artley of his former employer. After six years at Evening Star, four years as its head chef, he is leaving the restaurant without another job but with plenty to occupy his time: four dogs, a 3,000-square-foot garden, volunteer work and, most intriguingly for his followers, a TV project.
“I’m going to be on the Food Network very soon,” says Artley. Oh, yeah? The only clue he can contractually dish out for now: “Not Top Chef.”