Though most walk in the door of Sava’s Café to grab a meal, employees at the restaurant are hoping that new dance and liquor licenses will keep patrons coming in throughout the night.
Sava’s was issued its liquor license in June and a dance permit over the summer. Day manager Cyndi Bertsos said she isn’t sure the dance permit means Sava’s will be throwing any wild parties, but it does provide the chance to host events, like Friday Latin Nights, without breaking any laws.
“I don’t know if they have any crazy plans for it,” Bertsos said. “We just wanted to comply with the city so when we have a DJ and people were dancing, we wouldn’t be breaking any laws.”
But Bertsos said that doesn’t mean they’ve ruled out the possibility of hosting larger events in the future.
“We are making a lot of changes that have been thought of but haven’t been carried through to execution yet,” she said. “I’m sure that if we found a market and people that wanted to go and do those kinds of things we would probably be having them.”
Aside from the dance parties, Sava’s has also implemented a new drink list with offerings for the novice drinker, a happy hour and a wine list.
Nkosi Booi and DJ Cisco, the promoter for Salsa Detroit — the company that is hosting the Latin nights at Sava’s — said they think the dance nights have helped business by targeting the late-night and after-dinner crowds.
“After dinner, she would have a really light crowd,” Booi said. “But after us, she would have some people who would stay.”
“Some actually planned having dinner here so they could come to salsa night,” DJ Cisco added.
Bertsos agreed saying that since the license was issued Sava’s “business has changed a lot.”
Sava’s dance nights encourage people to stop by the restaurant at later hours and hopefully will appeal to the younger students, not just local Ann Arbor residents, Bertsos said.
“I think the climate will change over time but right now it is mostly grad students, med school students and professionals,” said Paul Arias, a mechanical engineering graduate student, who’s attended dance events at the café. “But as for undergrads, they might start to know about it over time.”
Environmental engineering graduate student Angelica Perez added that the Friday night time slot encourages people to come to dinner and stay for dancing.
Day-time waiter Steve Bradley said he also noticed a change in business since the restaurant finally got its liquor license. He added that Sava’s regular customers were the most excited about the restaurant finally getting a liquor license.
He said he serves a lot of wine and beer during happy hour but that the mixed drinks are popular too.
In addition to the new licenses, Sava’s revamped its appearance and made efforts to reach out to the community to keep its business booming, Bertsos said. The restaurant was painted and redecorated, and the floors are being redone.
“I know that one of Sava’s top priorities is to make a home away from home for students,” she said. “We realize Ann Arbor is mostly made up of students, and we want to give them a place they can come and feel comfortable.”