Sava Farah's Aventura Is on Hold.
But The Boro is on deck.
by Micheline Maynard
From the December, 2020 issue
Ever since the pandemic began, fans of Aventura have periodically checked the downtown tapas bar for signs of life.
There won't be any for a while, says owner Sava Farah. She's put Aventura on "an extended siesta" until at least February.
Farah says she couldn't figure out a way to square social distancing and occupancy limits with the cozy atmosphere at Aventura, where diners sat close around the welcoming bar, enjoying small plates and paella.
"The food is sharing, and it's also an experience," Farah says. "We're going to let Aventura sit there until it makes sense to open a restaurant like that."
The good news for the veteran restaurant owner is that a piece of her newest and most ambitious venture is about to spring to life.
In December, Farah plans to open The Boro, an upscale café on the site of the former Lord Fox in Dixboro.
Sometime next year, Farah also plans to launch Dixboro House, a sit-down restaurant in a brand-new barn that passersby have watched take shape over the past two years.
The Boro, set in a restored 1880s barn, will feature a wood-burning oven producing pizzas, roast chicken, whole branzino, and a full bakery, with croissants, tarts, cakes and desserts.
The kitchens in both will be run by a high-profile husband-and-wife team from San Francisco.
Louis Maldonado was a contestant on Bravo TV's Top Chef who has worked for famed chef Thomas Keller at the French Laundry and who earned a Michelin star for his cooking at Cortez. Annemarie Maldonado worked at the famed Tartine bakery chain, known for its French pastries.
Farah says she's excited to have them in Ann Arbor. "It's not the kind of talent you come across every day," she says.
Louis Maldonado contacted her several years ago, after spotting her advertisement for an executive chef to create the Dixboro House menu, she says. They reconnected as the restaurants got closer to taking shape.
"He just fell with this project, and
he loves what's going on with the Ann Arbor food scene," Farah says. Of Annemarie Maldonado, she adds, "Her stuff is out of this world." For the moment, both Maldonados are at Sava's, Farah's flagship restaurant on State St., where Louis is cooking and Annemarie is making baked goods for weekend brunch.
Farah says the combined Dixboro operation has cost several million dollars to build. "It's been really hard, I've got to be honest with you," she says of keeping everything together in the pandemic. But she does not plan to open Dixboro House until she feels the time is right. "It's taken us four years to get here," she says. "We're blessed to be in a place where we can hold off."
The Boro, 5400 Plymouth Rd., opening December 2020. No phone/hours yet. savcohospitality.com
[Originally published in December, 2020.]
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