Chef Eve Aronoff this spring plans to open Frita Batido, her second restaurant in Ann Arbor in addition to her Kerrytown location called "eve."
File photo | AnnArbor.com
Eve Aronoff, Ann Arbor’s version of a celebrity chef and
owner of eve the restaurant, is planning to open a second restaurant in
downtown Ann Arbor.
But it will be marked departure from eve, a
French-influenced fine dining and special occasion restaurant in Kerrytown. Frita
Batido will be much more informal and more affordable.
“We will have a fun and whimsical menu inspired by Cuban and Latin American cooking. It will be a lively place,” Aronoff said. “It will be very, very casual. I’m a pretty casual person, so this will be right up my alley.”
But Aronoff will continue the practice she started at eve’s of locally sourcing food, offering a seasonal menu and being creative in the kitchen, she said. “Things are going smoothly at eve and I’m ready for another creative challenge.”
Aronoff said she is a week to 10 days away from signing a lease for her new 50-seat restaurant, which she hopes to open in the spring.Â
She didn’t want to release the exact location until the lease is signed, but she said it was in downtown Ann Arbor in an area with foot traffic.Â
“It’s a dream location that I’ve been looking at for years and years. The block it’s on has a lot of character and has nice neighbors” she said. She hopes to secure a liquor license.
Aronoff said she had the idea of opening Frita Batido long before she started eve more than six years ago. As a child, she would visit her grandmother in Miami and fell in love with the Cuban restaurants there.
Frita Batido’s menu will be centered on two things: Fritas, a kind of Cuban burger, usually made from chorizo, on an egg bun topped with shoestring potatoes. The fritas will be offered in different flavors, such as turkey, black bean and seafood. And batidos, fresh tropical fruit shakes made with crushed ice, a drop of evaporated milk and sometimes rum.
The menu at Frita Batido will range from $8 to $12, compared to $28 to $35 for dinner entrees at eve.Â
“Cuban culture leans toward less expensive food: Their cuts of meat, beans, rice, lots of vegetables and fruit,” Aronoff said. There will be other menu items such as fried plantains, chili-lime gazpacho in the summer and black bean cream soup in the winter.
“It will be more Cuban/Latin American influenced than themed,” Aronoff said. “It will be my style.”Â
The same with the dÃ©cor: “It won’t be Cuban-themed. It will be my style. Casual. A tribute to the culture,” Aronoff said.Â
Eve is the same kind of hybrid: A French restaurant withÂ North African, West African, Cuban and Vietnamese influences, but reflecting Aronoff’s style.
Aronoff said she will serve as chef at Frita Batido but will also hire a second chef. She expects the new restaurant to employ between 12 and 15 people.
Aronoff was one of 17 chefs to compete in Bravo television’s reality show “Top Chef” last summer. She is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She has been in the restaurant business for 20 years, starting as a prep cook, and has worked in Ann Arbor, Boston and Paris. She’s prepared dinner at the invitation of the James Beard Foundation in New York City and represented Slow Food Huron Valley in Italy’s Terra Madre conference. She’s also written a cookbook, “eve Contemporary Cuisine - MÃ©thode Traditionnelle.”
For more information on eve the restaurant, visit AnnArbor.com's restaurant guide.