February marks two years since Lucky Market at Stadium and South Industrial closed. The longtime Kroger site, owned by the Ufer family, has stood empty since then except for football-game-day tailgates.
Last fall, developers announced an ambitious plan to create the “4M City Club,” which would combine a food hall and a coworking space. Though the deadline slipped, the project is still progressing under a new name: Venue.
Coworking and events manager Eric Zughaib says they’re now looking at a ‘second-quarter opening.
Zughaib, who’s also in charge of leasing the food stalls, won’t reveal which chefs will take part but emails that they “have a lot of great food options, from bar food to more upscale.”
Coworkers will be able to reserve dedicated desks and office spaces, while drop-in users can reserve space ahead of time via an app. Zughaib says Venue will follow whatever CDC guidelines are in effect when it opens. “We’ll have to stay light on our feet when it comes to Covid protocols.”
In 2007, Sava Lelcaj launched her eponymous restaurant as a twenty-four-seat cafe on State. Just two years later, when Zanzibar closed, she moved across the street and turned Sava’s into 300-seat restaurant.
Just before Christmas, Sava Farah–she’s since married and started a family–posted on Instagram that Sava’s would close for a “deep rest and a serious remodel.” By mid-January, a construction crew was ripping out fixtures, booths, and, most crucially, the kitchen.
“It was completely falling apart, it was hard enough to staff, and all the equipment was dated,” Farah says.
The interior will shrink to around 225 seats, creating a roomier main dining room. Louis Maldonado, Farah’s partner in the four-restaurant Pulpo Group, will oversee design of a new menu, but Farah hopes to hire another “serious chef” to run Sava’s kitchen and take the cuisine forward.
Sava’s staff members have been deployed to Farah’s other restaurants, Aventura on Washington and the Boro and Dixboro House in Dixboro. (For now, Dixboro House remains focused on special events–the next will be a Valentine’s Day dinner.)
Farah says she’d like to reopen Sava’s in time for U-M graduation on April 30, since pandemic permitting, it will also acknowledge 2020 and 2021 grads–but says there are no guarantees given the industry’s unpredictability. “This is insane,” she says.
Around the corner on Liberty, renovations continue at the Slurping Turtle. It shut last fall aiming for an early 2022 reopening; there’s no word yet on when it will return.