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Monday, Nov. 18, 2019

Shreve Gets “Sauvage”

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The Tomics and Bridges partner in smart new restaurant venture

It’s a familiar scene: friends hanging out at their favorite spot and dreaming about how great it would be to run their own hip, trendy restaurant. Zoran and Sanela Tomic and David and Stephanie Bridges are living that dream.

“We all love what we do,” David Bridges said. “When you’re around people who don’t like what they do, work becomes difficult. Then it actually becomes work. When you love what you do, it’s not really work. It’s just like you’re hanging out having a party every day.”

The party has been going for several years as both David Bridges and the Tomics (today’s proprietors) have owned and operated Bella Fresca on Line Avenue. They are expanding the party with the upcoming opening of Sauvage Restaurant at 608 Absinthe Court.

Chef David said the dining experience at Sauvage will have its roots in the food of Shreveport. But he called it “creative Shreveport; Shreveport of the present.”

“Shreveport loves steak and potatoes au gratin, so we have our version of that,” David said. “The steak will be cooked over a wood fire. We have a compound butter that we make that’s based on the flavors of what is a New Orleans barbecue sauce — heavy on the Worcestershire and spices. The potatoes au gratin are a riff on a Mexican dish called queso fundido.

The potatoes will be cooked in the skillet, and the cheese will get extra crispy on the bottom. Shreveport loves Mexican food, and they love steak and potatoes au gratin. This is the way we mix the two together to make it a little more creative, and I think actually a little tastier than the original.”

David, a New Orleans native, has an inside track on what Shreveport eats from his early years at Bella Fresca. That’s where the Tomics entered the picture.

“We moved here from Germany,” Zoran said. “(Bella Fresca) was our favorite restaurant because it reminded us of the great restaurants of Europe. It was so different than anything else in the area. We used to come every Monday because that was our off day. Monday was our date night at Bella Fresca. That’s how we became friends.”

 Stephanie Bridges is the baker in the bunch. She will be creating her takes on some traditional Southern treats.

“My style is anything you saw as a kid, but redone,” Stephanie said. “In a more trendy, hip, fun and fresh style, like a fudge round or a Moon Pie.”

Patrons will find the same approach in the bar, Sanela Tomic said.

“(Zoran) has been working diligently to create this fun cocktail and wine list,” she said. “He’s putting a fun spin on familiar cocktails that are going to add a new, fun ingredient to familiar drinks to make it local.”

Sauvage will feature an extensive wine list, she said. And a chef’s table will be available to create a personalized dining experience in a more private environment.

Sanela said the atmosphere at Sauvage will reflect the amalgamation of their four personalities and the strengths they bring to the organization.

“David and Stephanie are amazing when it comes to food and desserts,” she said. “Zoran is a master when it comes to customer service in the front of the house. He knows how to engage people. And I’ll create a fun atmosphere.”

David said the key to standing out in a crowded restaurant landscape is to remain true to yourself and your vision. For Sauvage, that means using top-quality ingredients to create unique dishes from scratch.

“I’ve never once looked at or worried about what somebody else is doing,” he said. “Same with Zoran. We do it the way we know how and know best. We are standing on our own beliefs. The things we want and enjoy are what everyone else wants, too.”

David said the kitchen is ready. They are in the process of hiring and training the staff. They plan to ease into opening the restaurant, including a soft launch to work through any issues.

Sanela said they are grateful for the support the community has shown through the years at Bella Fresca, and they look forward to providing more of the same service at Sauvage.

“We want to thank the Shreveport community for supporting Bella Fresca for 20 years. We are looking forward to serving the community for another 20 years with Bella Fresca and this place,” Sanela said. “We love that this city continues to support locally owned businesses, and we are proud, as immigrants, to be part of this community.”

Click link for more information: https://www.loc8nearme.com/louisiana/shreveport/sauvage/5482041/


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