For the many devotees of Downtown Ann Arbor's Café Zola
, the only answer to "What's better than Zola?" is, "more Zola."
That wish will soon be coming true, as a new restaurant by Café Zola owners Hediye Batu and Alan Zakalik is coming to the Arbor Hills Crossing
development now underway on Washtenaw Avenue.
"It will be a lot like Café Zola," says Zakalik. "We're still trying to work it out, but 'Zola' will be in the name."
The idea for a second location was triggered when the developers approached Zakalik and Batu. After reviewing the other businesses planned for the retail and dining center, they decided a new Zola would fit right in.
"I was worried for awhile about opening a second restaurant that was too similar to what we do here," Zakalik says, "but the development is far enough from downtown that it shouldn't impact us. It will give us a different base of people who don’t usually come downtown on a regular basis."
Zakalik expects the Arbor Hills Crossing location to be ready for the new Zola to begin their build-out in late April, and the restaurant to open by Aug. 22. The restaurant will be 10 to 15 percent larger than the downtown location with a bigger bar, indoor seating for 130 and patio seating for about 40 diners. Zakalik expects to hire a staff of approximately 50 to operate the new bistro.
Source: Alan Zakalik, Cafe Zola
Writer: Natalie Burg