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Goodbye, Fred, Hello, Wilma

A cheeky new name notes Fred Lelcaj's departure.

by Sabine Bickford

From the February, 2019 issue

Trendy downtown eatery Fred's has cheekily changed its name to Wilma's. The change, says SavCo partner Nathan D'Andrea, was spurred on by a number of events.

Last year, founder Fred Lelcaj picked up his hip health-and-veggie-driven South U restaurant and moved it to Washington and Division, where his sister Sava Lelcaj Farah had recently closed her Babo market. With the move, the formerly independent Fred's also joined SavCo, Farrah's hospitality company.

Now, the namesake is gone. "Fred's no longer here," an employee explained when we called and asked for him. D'Andrea, who started the original Fred's with Lelcaj in 2016, says "It's not 100 percent that Fred's gone" for good, but for now he's "working on some other projects" outside Ann Arbor.

Meanwhile, a restaurant chain out of Texas with the same name had sent Fred's a few cease-and-desist letters. "We wanted to use the opportunity to rebrand," says D'Andrea. They held a contest, and Wilma's won. (Wilma was Fred Flintstone's wife in the 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon.)

SavCo has added more pink and purple accents and a "Tex-Mex theme," D'Andrea says. But "we're still the same great people serving up fresh, whole foods."

Wilma's, 403 E. Washington. 669-3552. Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. wilmasannarbor.com

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This article has been edited since it was published in the Feburary 2019 Ann Arbor Observer. The spelling of Sava Lelcaj Farah's last name has been corrected.     (end of article)

[Originally published in February, 2019.]

 



 
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