If you were in Ann Arbor last spring, chances are you dined at Fred’s (the health inspired, shoebox-sized restaurant was all the rave). Finally, there was a place on campus for açaí bowls, avocado toasts, and bomb smoothies. Sadly, as summer rolled around, the lights at Fred’s turned off and a sign on the door read “Coming back soon.”

Sure enough, Fred’s is back. We're glad that our go-to restaurant has returned, but what happened? Why did it close? Why did it move? Curious? Keep reading.

Fred is the brother of the one and only Sava, owner of Savco Hospitality, which includes Aventura, Babo, Sava’s, and Tavolina Catering. Mind blowing — I know. Anyway, like his sister, Fred had the itch to open up a restaurant in Ann Arbor. He decided to do a pilot of his restaurant in a building that was to be renovated in the summer (the old Fred's on South U).

He never meant for it to prosper out of that tiny space forever. Instead, he wanted to achieve proof of the concept in a temporary setting, and proof he got.

The restaurant was a hit, leaving students craving his dishes and hoping that he would reopen soon. One night, Fred and his sister, Sava, were hanging out, and to put things into context, Sava had just had a baby and revamped the Babo on East Washington.

She was having difficulties finding time to manage a successful branch of restaurants, a new child, and work on an entirely new construct of Babo. Fred casually mentioned the idea of buying the space of Babo from her to reopen Fred’s — to which Sava agreed, and several weeks later, Fred’s was open. 

New Vibes, New Look, Unreal Experience

chocolate, sushi
Kaitlyn Eisenshtadt

If you have made the trip to E. Washington recently, or if you regularly check any form of social media, you already know that this restaurant truly embodies what it means to give off ~good vibes~. The plain white tabletops adorned with succulents, adorable sculptures, and flower pots holding silverware combine to create the perfect scene to capture a solid picture for the 'gram.

Fred’s even goes the extra mile, boasting mini mason jar salt and pepper shakers. The lighting is also perfect for a good food photo. Major shoutout to Fred for keeping our obsession with food photography in mind when he decorated.

The classy yet simplistic atmosphere of Fred's combined with the beautifully plated dishes makes it a solid choice for whenever you want to escape the dining halls and try some of Ann Arbor's local eateries.

The Best Dishes Reviewed: 

1. Veggie Burger 

cake, salmon
Annie Slabotsky

When you think of Fred’s, the açaí bowls and trays of avocado toast on your Instagram feed probably pop into your mind. What you may not realize is that, although it isn’t commonly seen on Instagram, the veggie burger deserves the same amount of hype as Fred’s signature, picturesque dishes.

The veggie patty consists of mostly beets and quinoa, giving it a vibrant purple color that is as equally healthy as it is aesthetically pleasing. The combination of this simple patty, slices of sweet potato, and a warm pretzel bun hits the spot for lunch or dinner.

2. Açaí Bowl

strawberry, yogurt, blueberry, berry
Max Lederman

Disclaimer: I’m a big fan of foods served in bowls (see açaí bowls, smoothie bowls, buddha bowls). That being said, this açaí bowl was actually incredible. It was sweet enough to satisfy any sugar craving without being unhealthy, and the consistency was spot on — not too runny, but not too frozen. This sweet treat is “basic” for a reason; it’s lit.

3. Burrata

Max Lederman

Burrata, meaning “buttery” in Italian, is a menu staple at any and every trendy eatery these days. A traditional mozzarella shell meets a luscious mixture of shredded mozzarella and cream on the inside.

Think of it as mozzarella’s cool aunt, and Fred’s is all for healthy family relationships. A heaping bulb of burrata, sprinkled with sea salt, doused in cracked pepper and extra virgin olive oil is centered around roasted red grapes and grilled slices of sourdough. Plated on a black ceramic bowl, the vibrancy of the red grapes and white burrata stick out like the most beautiful sore thumb you’ve ever seen.

4. Brown Rice Bowl

ramen, avocado, fried egg, rice, bibimbap, egg
Kaitlyn Eisenshtadt

Innovative yet simplistic, Fred has created a one-of-a-kind brown rice bowl that can curb even the mightiest of appetites. I couldn’t have been more excited when I saw that this classic dish had been carried over to Fred’s new location. A staple at the shoebox-sized little Fred’s, the brown rice bowl is incredibly filling, satisfying, and healthy.

Packed with avocado, cashew cream, tons of colorful veggies, and a fried egg smothered on top of brown rice, this bowl was the perfect way to satisfy any craving in a nutritious and delicious way. Ready to fall in love with this bowl even more? Fred, himself, made this as meal-prep in his own daily life before he even opened a restaurant.

He admitted that he didn’t think anyone else would like this concoction, and it was just something he often threw together for himself. Well, Fred, you can be pleasantly surprised that you are not the only one who wants to meal-prep this brown rice bowl for every day of the week.

The Must Have Dessert:

Double Chocolate Vegan Cupcake 

candy, sprinkles, goody, coffee, sweet, cake, cream, chocolate
Annie Slabotsky

While the word “vegan” might ordinarily make your inner bacon lover cringe, Fred’s vegan double chocolate cupcakes are definitely delicious enough to make you reconsider. The cake is rich and moist, an impressive feat given the absence of dairy and eggs.

The frosting is creamy, thick, and strikes a good balance between sweet and savory chocolate flavors. This dessert is ideal for sharing — even though my tastebuds told me to keep going, my stomach tapped out after just one amazing bite. Definitely get one of these bad boys to wrap up your Fred’s dining experience. 

So, the next time you find yourself hungry, venture over to East Washington. We promise Fred's won't disappoint, and now that you know the real story behind it's reopening, you can appreciate it even more.