Welcome to sava’s, Ann Arbor’s most spirited restaurant and dining institution since 2007; catering to a fusion of clientele including University of Michigan students and professors, locals and visitors looking to enjoy one of the town’s most beloved restaurants and memorable dining experiences.
Sava’s began as a humble 23 seat café across from our current space on State Street. We started small, every year adding, changing, and engaging with our guests to achieve an atmosphere and menus that were unmatched in their authenticity and creativity. Sava’s has terroir. It is a local restaurant serving the best the region offers while pushing the conventional boundaries all along the way.
In August of '09 we doubled down on our early success when we moved in the beautiful space we occupy today, making a serious name for ourselves based on our uplifting hospitality, and exceptional food & drink.
Our vibrant two-story space is the perfect place to visit for any occasion, offering a wide range of experiences which are ever evolving, much like the town itself. We do that while remaining grounded in the purpose we serve as a hospitality driven community restaurant.
“I was 23 years old when I started sava’s after having worked every position in the industry for the over a decade prior. Yes, I was 13 years old and it was the 90’s - back when a scrappy kid like myself could get hired to refill coffee and waters for a couple of bucks an hour under the table.
8 years before that my parents, siblings and I went from escaping communist Albania to immigrating to the Bronx with nothing but the clothes on our back and this idea of “the American Dream” – something we had risked our lives to have opportunity towards.
My humble beginnings and some highly impactful early childhood lessons awarded me with a unique perspective on opportunity, risk and empowerment. I always believed in myself and think everyone has the capacity to make their dreams a reality if they would give themselves the permission and freedom to.
It wasn’t long after getting my feet wet in the business that I realized I had found my calling. That passion led me to start my own café in 2007. With very little money in the bank and no formal training I drove to Ann Arbor one afternoon in search of a “recession deal.” I was looking for an abandoned restaurant and a landlord that would be willing to take a risk on me. The restaurant I found was a closed down Pita Pit Café which I ran for two very hard years. In 2009 CVS acquired the building where my café was located, and I was back on the grind looking for another deal.
I soon would end up acquiring the space we are in today which had been recently vacated by its previous restaurant tenants. What started as a tiny lunch stop matured into the bustling 300-seat restaurant it is today, a community mainstay and the American Dream for not only me, but also for many from my teams who believed, including the generation of restauranteurs that came out of this institution.
We have since built a restaurant empire on that same sheer fortitude and desire to delight our guests.”
ann arbor, michigan