Denver diners have just a few more months to wait for a much-anticipated Israeli restaurant by the James Beard Award-winning chef Alon Shaya. Pending final construction, Safta should open by July at the forthcoming Source Hotel in RiNo. But its sister restaurant, Saba, today opens its doors in Shaya’s home city of New Orleans. The new spot offers some clues to its Denver counterpart.
These two restaurants are the chef’s first under his newly formed Pomegranate Hospitality. Saba is Hebrew for grandfather, while Safta means grandmother in the same language. As their names suggest, both Saba and Safta will pay tribute to the chef’s heritage, while offering a family-friendly atmosphere. Israeli cuisine is highlighted with influences from the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa.
In New Orleans, Saba’s menu revolves around a wood-burning oven, featuring dishes such as crabmeat-topped hummus, harissa roasted chicken, and octopus with shawarma. A forthcoming brunch will also offer smoked fish and bagels “and all of the things that your grandfather would love to eat at a New York deli,” Shaya told Eater.
The Saba space is meant to be a neighborhood hang-out on Magazine Street, according to Shaya. It’s filled with floor lamps and couch seating, and a long, communal table for big groups of diners. In Denver, Safta will land on the second floor of The Source Hotel, with a bar opening onto the building’s market hall and glass garage doors in place of walls opening over Brighton Boulevard. The hotel will have a Nordic minimalist design, so Safta will likely feel very different from its New Orleans counterpart.
Just in time for the opening, Alon Shaya and restaurateur John Besh last month settled a legal dispute over the Shaya name. It will still be used for Besh Restaurant Group’s award-winning New Orleans restaurant, formerly helmed by the eponymous chef. Shaya was fired last fall from BRG around the same time that sexual harassment claims came out against Besh. At the time, Shaya said he was let go for speaking to a reporter about the allegations. With his new restaurants, Shaya says he is committed to creating “a really safe and comfortable work environment for everyone on board.”
- Look Inside Alon Shaya’s Saba Restaurant [ENOLA]
- Alon Shaya’s Saba Restaurant Opens [ENOLA]
- Alon Shaya’s Safta Coming to The Source Hotel [EDEN]
- John Besh and Alon Shaya Settle Their Legal Dispute Over Shaya Name [ENOLA]