Since the 1970s, Seva has been king of the 300 block of East Liberty, a neighborhood once dominated by beads, guitars, gauzy cotton, and whole wheat. There’s still some of that counter-culture flavor left in the area, but Seva’s earliest patrons are now getting to the age where they might choose easy parking over one-stop shopping for guitar strings and butternut-squash enchiladas.

Seva didn’t move expressly to accommodate an aging clientele, but owner Jeff Jackson says the parking is the most frequent compliment he gets about Seva’s move to Westgate. The decision to relocate started when the landlord, the VFW, raised the rent, but that’s water long under the bridge: “It needed remodeling, and I couldn’t close for six months. I’d lose all my staff!”

That couldn’t happen. A lot of the staff predates him, like pastry chef Aikia Lahti and one of the head cooks, Lupe Miranda, who now have a ten-month-old child together. Lahti says their romance bloomed a few years ago, “after standing beside each other fifteen years in the kitchen–both of us in and out of other relationships. A few years ago, he said to me, ‘When you’re done with this idiot you’re dating, I’m going to ask you out.'” Lahti and Miranda aren’t the only staffers who’ve made a career of Seva: they’re just two with a particularly heartwarming story.

Jeff and Maren Jackson bought Seva in 1997, Maren having worked her way up from server to head of the kitchen under former owner Steve Bellock. The Jacksons themselves aren’t easing into a life of easy parking and shopping malls. They have gotten, if anything, even more engaged with city life. In 2010 they opened a second Seva in the heart of Detroit, just a few blocks south of the DIA, attached to the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art. George N’Namdi is another old customer.: “He began working on us eight years ago to open a restaurant there,” Jeff says. The Detroit Seva is smaller and has “basically the same menu.”

The new Westgate Seva is clean-lined and sleek–the old pine-paneled, macrame-trimmed seventies feel is gone. Only the stained glass remains, all of it neatly built into one wall; they also kept the Greg Sobran paintings–Bellock was an early patron. The new Seva isn’t entirely finished yet. A private dining room is still under construction. Jeff says he’ll eventually replace the flapping banner outside with more permanent signage but openly admits he’s just run out of money. “The winter weather this year affected everyone. Money earmarked for the sign–well, we had to use it for something else. We just had to get open.”

Seva, 2541 Jackson Ave. (Westgate), 662-1111. Sun-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.