Bulletin: Ovio reportedly closing

E-mail just forwarded to us. Working to confirm (8:30 PM UPDATE: it’s now posted on the Ovio website).

Dear Friends & Fans of Ovio Bistro,

They say all good things must come to an end, and so it is with sadness that we must tell you that after nearly 5 years in West Seattle, Ovio Bistro will be closing at the end of June.

It was a very difficult decision to make, but one that we feel will be best for our family at this time.

As you know, we have worked very hard and put a lot into this restaurant…we have no managers and one of us is here all the time, but our sons are older and involved in school and sports, and it is heartbreaking to not be there for them.

We have been fortunate to work with amazing people – our staff has been incredible from the beginning. The original Ovio would never have been so successful without Chef Eddie Montoya, Tony LaVelle, Michael Tinsley, Janae Hawkins, EBO Ottens and Lisa Lovering.

Others joined us at the old location – Darcey Wijsenbeek, Emily Garner, Ben Adlin, Rickey Story, Mike Bond, Bubba Schultz – and quickly became part of the Ovio family. When we decided to expand and relocate, our old staff found our new staff by inviting their friends to join the party – and Dennis McMahon, Will Green, Julie Johnson, Evan Beilke, Michael Nelson, and Will Waterstraat came to stay. The new Ovio was built on the hard work of everyone, literally! We demolished, we rebuilt and we opened with a bang! It was an incredible experience to be a part of. We have been lucky to add talented people along the way – Chef Brenda Rodriguez has been invaluable in putting Ovio back on the culinary map. Alongside her in the kitchen, we have been fortunate to have Angela Emery and Ben Pickett, and Michelle Manning. They have all done amazing things for Ovio.

We were also blessed to have so many wonderful regular customers – and you know who you are! You have been through the highs and lows of Ovio and you still come back, week after week. You have gotten to know all of us and introduced us to your families and friends. You have shared special occasions and private moments with us. You dealt with the devastation of Eddie’s death alongside us. We can never thank you enough.

We know that this is sad and shocking news to everyone, but hope that you will be supportive of us through the end. We would love to see EVERYONE in the next two weeks, and we especially look forward to a big party on Saturday, June 30th. Please join us. We will miss you all very much and can never thank you enough for being part of our Ovio family these past 5 years.

Much love,

Shing and Ellie Chin

35 Replies to "Bulletin: Ovio <strike>reportedly</strike> closing"

  • Christopher Boffoli June 18, 2007 (12:52 pm)

    Somehow this doesn’t surprise me. I’ve had a bunch of fellow West Seattlelites tell me that they love this place. But whenever I walk by it seems always nearly empty.

  • westwood June 18, 2007 (1:06 pm)

    It is always sad when a restaurant closes. As the email expressed, there is an extended family of employees and regulars that bond together. Ovio was an important part of West Seattle over the last five years and proved that quality good food has a place in West Seattle. I will be eternally grateful for that. Thanks, Ellie and Shing.

    PS–When the kids get a little older, consider opening something again. Just something small…

  • Huindekmi June 18, 2007 (1:13 pm)

    My wife and I used to love Ovio. But since Eddie’s passing, the menu seemed to stagnate and the service kept going downhill. The last two times we went, we were dissappointed. A couple of weeks back, we found ourselves at the junction thinking about dinner. Since we hadn’t been to Ovio in a while, we wandered by to look at their menu, hopefull that their new chef will have had time to establish herself and bring some life back into the offerings. Nope. The same old stuff as usual with a few minor tweaks – and nothing that caught our eyes. And as the previous poster states, the restaurant was nearly empty.

    It’s a sad fate for what was once an innovative and wonderful establishment.

  • Westseattlite June 18, 2007 (1:29 pm)

    It’s a shame to hear. Ovio was a great option for us all. The curse of Godfathers Pizza lives on. It doesn’t seem like that spot can sustain anything for very long.

    Hopefully something good will take it’s place.

  • Agen June 18, 2007 (3:31 pm)


  • Magic 8 Ball June 18, 2007 (3:48 pm)

    The newer restaurants in West Seattle should be grateful to Ellie and Shing for jump starting the shift 5 years ago from diners of questionable quality (save for La Rustica) to something greater.

    I appreciated Ovio and will miss it.

  • Ari June 18, 2007 (4:18 pm)

    When a restaraunt closes, it could be for a host of reasons. Just guessing, but other than what they said about kids getting older, burn out is the main reason owners quit, but also the passing of Chef Eddie certianly couldn’t have made it any easier to maintain the quality of dishes they created. The Restaraunt business is not easy and most of the time very unrewarding labor of love. The Chin’s have certainly raised the bar in WS for diners and will be missed for the hard work they’ve put into the community in that aspect.

    Good luck Shing and Ellie….

  • WSeattle Girl June 18, 2007 (5:17 pm)

    I am not surprised. When asked by others for restaurant choices in WSeattle, I always hesitated telling them Ovio. The food never was a winner. It was so off and on there was no consistency. Hopefully another restaurant will go in and rock that end of the Junction.

  • Keith June 18, 2007 (5:40 pm)

    I only had great experiences at Ovio, so I’m sorry to see it go. Hopefully something as unique & original will go in there and not some boring chain/franchise. Bring back Guppy’s!

  • Ms_F June 18, 2007 (6:16 pm)

    I always enjoyed Ovio (and O2), although I must admit it’s been awhile since I’ve been there. I wish them luck, and thank them too!

  • Ari June 18, 2007 (7:52 pm)

    No Guppy’s please…

  • Pam June 18, 2007 (7:58 pm)

    Ovio was the beginning. It changed West Seattle’s restaurant culture – meaning: it gave us one. Michael and Janae always made you feel like family. The food was good – the wine was better. I preferred the smaller locale…but I will surely miss the memories. Good luck and thank you.

  • Hainsworth June 18, 2007 (9:10 pm)

    Bring back Godfather’s! Dooooooo it!

  • Jiggers June 18, 2007 (11:35 pm)

    No more donut,coffee,pizza or pet store joints ok. Something different…..

  • Sandy June 19, 2007 (7:45 am)

    I can’t say this really suprises me. Ovio was too pricey for a neighborhood place and (in my opinion) no quite good enough for a destination dining spot. In the few times I went I never felt like my $100 was well spent. I actually preferred O2, but unfortunately that is gone also.

    I hope the space doesn’t sit empty forever. I think a neighborhood place like a Geraldine’s Counter could do well.

  • dw June 19, 2007 (9:48 am)

    Amazing. 3 years ago they were on the cover on Bon Appetite…

  • JT June 19, 2007 (12:22 pm)

    Sorry to see Ovio go. A perfect opportunity for something that is sorely lacking in WestSea, somewhere to get a decent hamburger and fries, (like Zak’s in Ballard)
    We have plenty of places to get pizza and dog food thank you..

  • Lou June 19, 2007 (3:14 pm)

    Ovio was overrated. I went several times and while some dishes were decent, others were not, and the decent ones weren’t good enough to make me come back and pay what was being asked. Service was weak, too. The last time we went I told my wife we’d never go back. I guess no one’s going back now.

    My big question is how long can the stupid cupcake place last selling their wares for that kind of money?! It’s freaking cupcakes!!

  • eric June 19, 2007 (3:25 pm)

    Only went to Ovio once – about 6 months ago. We loved it. I thought it would be horribly overpriced, but unlike some posters here, I think it was really reasonable for the level of food you received. While the service wasn’t stellar, it was fine (really good service is pretty much impossible to find anymore).

    Sad to see it go.
    Let’s hope something decent takes its spot.

  • roddy June 19, 2007 (4:20 pm)

    regarding the peceived lack of good burger and fries in WS, ever try the Elliott Bay Brewery? Some of the best of both in Seattle, period.

    New Luck Toy should move in….

  • Janet June 20, 2007 (5:09 am)

    Idea- how about an affordable wine bar (with an extensive by the glass) that served small plates – or a cooking school that served lunch and/dinner. It is such a big place. Whoever moves in I hope they fix the acoustics!

    Please, please…. no Guppy’s or New Luck Toy.

  • JT June 20, 2007 (7:58 am)

    Thank for the idea roddy, and yes both EBB and Jak’s have great burgers, the problem is getting a table at either one of those places.

  • eric June 20, 2007 (8:27 am)

    burgers? bring back The Shack! bring back Grouchos!

    I drive to Smokey’s Char-Broil on 1st Ave in Burien. Yummy!

  • Keith June 20, 2007 (10:04 am)

    The Times is reporting that the space has been sold and another restaurant will occupy the spot, so all the (homophobic ?) Guppy’s haters can relax.

    Janet – there are two wine bars in the works for WS: one at West Seattle Cellars and another one about two blocks north of the Junction.

  • Janet June 20, 2007 (11:14 am)

    The preference for no Guppy’s was not homophobic (at least not on my part). A GLBT bar/club/restaurant would be great in that location. Guppy’s was a dive!

  • Flowerpetal June 20, 2007 (1:36 pm)

    It does feel homophobic to rant about Guppy’s which has been gone for some time now; and elitist to call a place like Guppy’s a “dive.” It was never a place that attracted lots of criminal activity; not a place that needed lots of police presence; nor was it a place that was surrounded by litter. So I am not sure where the “dive” comment is coming from.
    I look forward to whatever is next for that space and I too am crossing my fingers for no more cupcakes.

  • Tinkerbell June 20, 2007 (4:11 pm)

    Actually, I have always liked “dive bars.” Quoting Wikpedia ” a dive bar, or simply a dive, is a drinking establishment (or sometimes a restaurant) with a dated or ramshackle appearance and atmosphere. In a dive bar, the drinks tend to be cheap and of low quality.” I would have to agree with Janet…. Guppy’s felt like a trip back into the 70’s and the drinks were pretty cheap (no comment on quality). I would put Guppy’s, Poogie’s and New Luck Toy in the “dive” category…. Sorry, no offense intended :)

  • Ms_F June 20, 2007 (4:58 pm)

    Guppy’s closed just before I moved to West Seattle, but from their web site I sensed it was a fun place. There is a club in San Francisco called El Rio, and their motto is “it’s your dive.” It attracts every age, ethnicity and persons of any sexual preference. It is an awesome place, and we’d be lucky to get such a dive in West Seattle! I’m not counting it though. But a good, neighborhood type of restaurant is always welcome.

  • Keith June 20, 2007 (5:50 pm)

    Dive or not, I liked that Guppy’s added to & reflected West Seattle’s unique character.

    But the WS dive bar I miss the most is the Admiral Benbow. That place was amazing.

  • Chet June 21, 2007 (9:11 am)

    Hey Keith, do you have any more info on the wine bar? I thought it was going in at the old flower shop at Oregon/California but in other topics on this board the owners/workers have stated it is going to be a restaurant, focusing on sports. Maybe a wine bar is going in at another location?

  • Keith June 21, 2007 (12:53 pm)

    Chet, the only info I ever had about it came from right here on WSB! If I recall correctly, it was supposed to be an Argentinian wine bar/restaurant opening up on Genessee at Cali.

  • Chet June 21, 2007 (2:11 pm)


  • WSB June 21, 2007 (2:31 pm)

    that was what originally was going to be “Divina Cantina” – then the proprietress just decided to open Divina, no cantina. Other wine bar was supposed to be next to West Seattle Cellars; no progress there lately – pinged them but no reply.

  • Holly June 21, 2007 (3:17 pm)

    Ovio Bistro was the place we went to celebrate and to present our visitors with the very best of West Seattle. There will certainly be a void in our dining lives.

    All, I heard that the restaurant replacing Ovio’s will focus on oysters..I can hardly wait…now that I’ve come to terms with Shing & Ellie packing up (for now).

  • Chet June 22, 2007 (3:13 pm)

    Thanks WSB.

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