holiday to be open," she says.
This latest Mainstreet Ventures venture is particularly close to Dennis Serras's heart. Serras's first restaurant was the Real Seafood Company, which he opened in 1975, and he and partners went on to grow a corporation that owns about twenty restaurants in eight cities, four of them clustered on the 300 block of S. Main. But this is the first inspired by Serras's home cuisine, the Greek and Turkish small plates called mezzes.
Stripping down what had been the Champion House and then the very short-lived Kuroshio, workers uncovered some hidden gems from its earlier history as the Pretzel Bell, including a brick archway and a wooden floor. Landlord Ed Shaffran still had the old Pretzel Bell sign, now mounted on a wall. (The Pretzel Bell was one of Ann Arbor's most iconic restaurants back when women were called co-eds and men wore letter sweaters. Lore abounds.)
Leibold isn't the only familiar face around. Chef Dexter Dakins was promoted from sous chef at Real Seafood, and Serras himself stops in regularly. He inaugurated the joint by commandeering all 150 seats for a fundraiser for the U-M Depression Center. "It was a donation-only event. He paid for all the food and drink himself," says Leibold. In return, diners were expected to ante up big time, and they did: the event raised $30,000.