Eddie V’s parent company sold

Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles spent the past year or so getting Eddie V’s restaurant in La Jolla ready for its late August opening. On Oct. 12, they announced they have sold it and the other Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille restaurants to Darden Restaurants, Inc.

The sale will move 11 restaurants into Darden’s Specialty Restaurant Group, including the newest at 1270 Prospect St. — which is set to host the La Jolla Town Council Sunsetter on Oct. 20 — in a transaction expected to close by the end of the year,

Eddie V’s will join Darden’s Specialty Restaurant Group headed by Gene Lee, which includes The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52. The Orlando-based company, which is traded on the NYSE as DRI, also operates the Red Lobster and Olive Garden brands.

“This is an opportunity we could not pass up,” Foles said in the release. “In a highly competitive industry, we found that one of the most successful restaurant companies in the world wanted to grow Eddie V’s and Wildfish restaurants to their fullest potential.”

Villavaso added that “it is really a culmination of a dream since opening our first Eddie V’s in 2000 … (Darden and) this partnership will take it to the next level.”

Eddie V’s President Jim VanDercook, who started working in the restaurant business in La Jolla, and Executive Chef/Partner John Carver will lead day-to-day operations under the new agreement along with individual restaurant managers and chefs from the Eddie V’s and Wildfish restaurants. Foles and Villavaso will serve as consultants over the next two years, the release said.