Route 29 exits: Calypso, Olivaté close shop
July saw the closing of two restaurants on 29 North, including one that opened less than four months ago.
Over at Albemarle Square, Olivaté, the family-owned Italian restaurant that opened in the old Fat Daddy's space in late December 2007, closed its doors July 14. The owners, Dick and Linda Oliva, who own the Ceramico Tile Company, had wanted to fulfill a dream of opening a restaurant and using old family recipes.
"If there's a better Italian restaurant in Charlottesville, I haven't been there," wrote blogger Waldo Jaquith a few years ago.
Indeed, Dish had heard mostly positive things about the place over the years, which makes its demise all the more sad. Calls to the Oliva family were returned, but they weren't ready to comment publicly. According to a recent listing with Roy Wheeler Realty, the fully equipped restaurant is currently for sale for $95,000.
"That's terrible news," says Jaquith today. "Olivaté was a wonderful restaurant that suffered from a terrible location in a dying shopping center. My wife and I became evangelical Olivaté customers, fearful that it was just too good to last."
In March, Calypso, a new Caribbean restaurant, café, and bakery opened in an elaborately renovated former bank building at 1709 Emmet Street, right next to Raising Cane's.
Owners Ghizlaine Taft and Dawn Gonsalves tried to bring authentic food from the region. They creatively turned the bank drive-thru into a coffee and bakery drive-thru, and they converted one of the bank's old vaults into a wine cellar.
However, according to one real estate expert we spoke to, the space leading up to an oft-crowded ramp to U.S. 250 West poses a "tough" location for a restaurant. Taft declined to comment on the closure, but a real estate listing shows the 5,222 square-foot space for lease as a restaurant for a little under $7,000 a month.