Students who enjoy dining at Sava’s State Street Café may find an incentive in taking a trip down East Washington Street this fall, where owner Sava Lelcaj will be opening a new market under the Sterling 411 Lofts apartment building.
The market will include a bakery, deli, café and wine bar and will also sell fresh produce, house wares and toiletries, among other groceries. Additionally, the restaurant will feature a large, outdoor seating area as well as a European-style long table inside the 3,800 square-foot market, Lelcaj said.
Lelcaj said she hopes the market will help to further develop the Washington Street area and be of assistance to students who don’t live within walking distance of a grocery store.
“I want to help provide the convenience of shopping here for students without having to get on a bus and go to Meijer,” Lelcaj said.
The market will also provide a breakfast-in-bed option on Sundays for Sterling 411 Lofts tenants, in which residents can order anything off the menu and have it brought to their doors, Lelcaj said.
“I want people to come to the market and want to spend an hour and a half here…I grew up in New York City…that’s one of the things we really miss, these amazing markets,” Lelcaj said.
Though restaurants and markets like Zingerman’s, White Market and Replenish are all located in Ann Arbor and easily accessible to students, Lelcaj said she is not worried about competition due to the difference in location and products.
“(Zingerman’s) has a really unique style of product and style of service … and it’s really out of the way in terms of the demographic we’re trying to market to,” she said.
Lelcaj said she hopes to add valet parking at some point as well as a garden where she can grow herbs, allowing her to expand flavors and change the items on her restaurant’s menu without having to increase prices.
Sarah Power, Lelcaj’s director of operations, said she is enthusiastic about the addition of the market to the Washington Street area.
“Generally, we are branding ourselves as Ann Arbor’s most comprehensive local and international food emporium and prepared food shop,” Power said.
Power said the market will provide customers with an experience that is different from similar businesses in Ann Arbor, adding that they hope to eventually deliver groceries to “people who are working or at home with tons of kids and don’t have time to go grocery shopping.”
Power said she is not worried about Subway being right next-door to where the market will be because their market has an edge over more commercial businesses.
“With any kind of corporate chain you’re getting consistency,” Power said. “The difference with us is that because we’re going to be doing things seasonally…and changing distributors and farms, it’s really a personal thing.”
LSA sophomore Justin Collins, a resident at Sterling 411 Lofts, said he is looking forward to having a market in the building.
“It adds to the convenience of living here,” Collins said. “Because this is not necessarily a great location, it’s not very close to many markets.”
Music, Theatre & Dance and LSA junior Ashley Park said the market’s location will be convenient for students because there are not many other markets in the vicinity.
“There’s not a lot of places with fresh produce around here, I think the closest is Sparrow Market” Park said. “Kerrytown doesn’t seem very far away, but it’s actually quite a walk, especially in the winter.”
LSA sophomore Emily Jaffe said that while she anticipates that the store will be expensive, she will still come to the store from time to time once it opens.
“It will be great to have food nearby, as long as it’s healthy food it will be nice to have,” she said. “I’m assuming it’s going to be kind of pricey, so I’ll probably just shop there once in a while.”
Jaffe added that she thinks the market will attract more people to the Washington Street area.
“It doesn’t seem as busy here as Liberty or Main Street,” she said. “I think it will draw some more people over here. Subway is nice to have, but I don’t think it draws the same crowd.”
— Daily News Editor Sarah Alsaden contributed to this report.