In the midst of a campus crazed by the Atkins and South Beach
diets, students sometimes have a hard time finding a restaurant
that will fit their food restrictions and satisfy their
Just off campus — nearly at the corner of East Liberty and
South Fifth Streets — lies the perfect answer. Seva (rhymes
with Outkast’s catchy song “Hey Ya”) is a
vegetarian restaurant that has been a favorite of Ann Arbor
residents for 30 years.
The great thing about this restaurant is that you won’t
just find vegetarians dining there.
“All sorts of people (come here),” diner manager
Jill Broughton said. “We get people who come for the comedy
club downstairs, lots of vegetarians, people on special diets,
people with religious restrictions — we have many regulars.
People also come because of the non-smoking (policy), which
we’ve had for the last 20 years.”
Co-owner Maren Jackson (her husband Jeff is also her business
partner) says the idea is that anyone walking in the restaurant
should feel comfortable.
And who wouldn’t be at ease after setting foot inside this
Earth-inspired place. High ceilings painted dark green along with
hanging plants create an airy sensation. Wooden tables and gorgeous
stain-glass windows complete the forest-like atmosphere.
But besides Seva’s immediately pleasing interior
appearance, is its extensive menu. Jackson said she is aware that
many people coming to her restaurant might be expecting just
“twigs and berries.” However, the huge selection of
tasty-sounding items — such as the baked brie with apple-pear
puree or goat cheese ravioli with mushroom-walnut sauce —
usually silences anyone who may have been hesitant walking in.
Seva prides itself on being able to accommodate many types of
diets. Atkins’s lovers tend to go with an omelette or other egg
dish, which can be rounded out with a side of steamed broccoli. For
South Beach fans, Seva has many dishes with “good”
carbs (ones that are whole and complex) and also beans. And for
vegans, a letter “V” next to an item on the menu
denotes the dish is made with no cheese, dairy or honey.
Even people with food allergies are in luck.
“We’re one of the few places you can find out for
sure what’s in your food,” Jackson said. “We have
an “answer” book with all the ingredients for every
Seva’s most popular dish is the Enchiladas Calabaza
— which has a filling made of butternut squash, cream cheese,
green onions, cumin and cinnamon, and topped with your regular
Mexican sides of sour cream, salsa, cheese and homemade corn
“You certainly won’t leave hungry,” Jackson
Seva will likely continue to be a favorite among students and
city residents because it is the only vegetarian restaurant of its
kind in the area. The Earthen Jar, which is right around the
corner, only offers food by the pound and does not have sit-down
Hours: M-Th 11-9, F 11-10, Sat. 10-10, Sun. 10-3 brunch,
Take-out dining available, phone number: 662-1111