After a meteoric renovation lasting only a few weeks, Alon Shaya’s highly anticipated restaurant Saba will throw open its doors tomorrow in the space that formerly housed bourbon-loving Kenton’s restaurant (5757 Magazine Street).
In keeping with the restaurant’s name, Saba, which means grandfather in Hebrew, the design team aimed to make it feel like a grandfather’s house: masculine, classic, and uncomplicated. To note, a portrait of Alon Shaya’s grandfather hangs next to a portrait of Shaya’s wife Emily Shaya’s grandfather above the host stand.
Studio MRS Interiors (co-founder and Morgan City native Michelle Smith is a close friend of Emily Shaya) designed the interiors in collaboration with the OJT, a New Orleans-based creative architecture and urban design practice.
“[Michelle] has really done an amazing job of making the place feel more like it belongs in this neighborhood. Opening it up, it’s fresh, it’s casual...You don’t have to get all dressed up to come here,” Shaya told Eater NOLA.
A wood-burning oven in a semi-private dining room gives some diners a peek as pillow-soft flatbread puffs up full of steam moments before making its way to the table. Shaya calls it “the pita café.” In it, there’s a long table that seats 14 people, perfect for big groups. (The restaurant is raffling off a dinner at the 14-seat “Saba’s table” on opening weekend.)
The partition that once separate the bar from the main dining room has been removed to give the space a more expansive feel and to allow for more tables.
“We want this to be a great neighborhood hang out spot. We’ll have amazing outdoor seating right on Magazine Street and then also we have a little lounge area setup in the restaurant where people can just hang out and have drinks, catch up with friends. That’s going to be a big part of what we’re all about,” Alon Shaya said.
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