Unless you have your head stuck in the sand, you know that Ann Arbor is basically the epicenter of Michigan's food scene. At the heart of Ann Arbor is Savco, and with it, comes a following as loyal as Wolverine fans. Babo, the "grocerant" division of Savco has recently undergone some revolutionary changes that have left us salivating in anticipation for the past several weeks. 

Charlotte Close

With the large population of foodies in Ann Arbor, it would be hard to ignore the commotion caused by Babo's closing and definitely impossible to disregard the questions about its reopening. So, I have done Ann Arbor a favor and dug up some answers (all while sampling everything that the new Babo has to offer, so, yes, this was a strenuous investigation). 

There has been some shock to the initial changes, but the hard work put into coming up with the new concept for Babo is paying off. The Savco team continues to navigate their new terrain, all the while focusing on nourishing and bringing the community together over a passion for flavor and diet diversity.

The changes

pancake, coffee
Charlotte Close

The changes are immediately apparent the second you walk through the door. Clean lines, natural light, and warm colors greet you, as you begin to take in the new concepts that have overhauled the old space. Gone is the market feature, to be replaced by reclaimed furniture, views into a bustling kitchen, and fully stocked cocktail/coffee bar. 

Some of Sava's favorite new features include these design details, but, most importantly, they're focused on the food and world class hospitality. Babo offers a relaxed environment to dine in or to carry out and a menu with a healthy approach to food. They are conscientiously providing food with substance, dependent upon the season, and the selection of food varies based off of local offerings. 

An establishment dedicated to diet diversity

beer, wine, pizza
Charlotte Close

This new concept of Babo was formulated around the idea of diet diversity, which means that they seek to make their food accessible to all of their guests. They still offer some pre-made items and cold pressed juices, but the majority of their menu focuses on making food directly to order.

Made to order food is special because it is guaranteed to be fresh, and if a customer has dietary considerations, it has the ability to be changed. This is a large part of Babo's new mission because they strive to nourish the community, and nourishing the entire community means recognizing every individual's unique diet choices or restrictions.

By making their food accessible to everyone, Babo is working to bring the community together with an enthusiasm about food and flavor.

They're creating a food community

coffee, beer, alcohol, tea
Charlotte Close

Another way that Babo is bringing the community together is through economic responsibility. They are partnered with many local companies such as Roos Roast, Tantre Farms, Mindo Chocolate, and more.

This integration of the local food movement helps to keep money in the community, supply local jobs, and lessen the waste produced by supply chains. Menu Items and some retail products source from these nearby friends.

Charlotte Close

Being established as a local foodie and restaurateur for nearly a decade has helped Sava to form strong working relationships with these partners. Additionally, Ann Arbor is a unique place because it is quite the Michigan hotbed for like-minded local purveyors who are very supportive of each other's endeavors.

Even the shrimp served on avocado toast is from Michigan. Yes, landlocked Michigan has sustainable, farm fresh shrimp in Okemos. The initiative that Babo has taken to find these sustainable and diverse ingredients has helped them to craft a high quality, flavorful menu.

Some plates that stick out are the fluffy pancakes and maple syrup and the Southern Soul Bowl, which features bbq chickpeas, roasted sweet potato, pastrami smoked tempeh, celery slaw, and quinoa. 

And they're always looking to improve

Charlotte Close

One thing that is notable about Savco is that they continuously focus on improving in all aspects — their menus, their offerings, and their service. This means that there will be a constant flow of changes to keep your eye out for at Babo — an upcoming development to note is the bulking up on local retail products. Babo will be offering up to three times its current supply within the next few months.

Additionally, Sava is introducing "Demo Days," which are days when Babo hosts one of their local partners and showcases their products to further connect them with the community. More community based events are going to follow such as "Friends of Babo" where local purveyors come for dinners, tastings, and cocktail parties.

cake, tea
Charlotte Close

All of these changes have stirred up the Ann Arbor food scene in a good way. Sava has utilized her loyal clientele and close knit community to start a conversation about food and what it means to nourish the body. This means that Ann Arbor can expect more exciting things to come, and it's all thanks to Savco hospitality.