metro >> out to eat
Aaron Belen set to open 'lifestyle
concept' restaurants in Royal Oak.
Special to the Jewish News
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6600 W Maple Road • West Bloomfield, MI 48322
• c torian Tea P ad
Tea ea'Gifts ea'Antiques
ome might call Aaron Belen's
approach to the restaurant and
hospitality business cavalier,
but the 30-year-old entrepreneur and
developer says it's time for someone
to do something "totally unique" in
Enter Bistro 82 and Sabrage, Belen's
latest "lifestyle concepts" coming
to the corner of Fourth Street and
Lafayette in Royal Oak in late October.
A hybrid of his own creation, the for-
mer Sangria/Skybar space will house
his French bistro and ultra-lounge
(part night club, part lounge), all
wrapped into a real estate development
he believes might serve as a model for
Experienced for his age, Belen got
his start with a liquor license at just
23, making him the youngest business-
man ever approved for a license in the
city of Birmingham. His first venture
opened in 2008, but he sold his interests
in every other project to develop and
launch his own brand in early 2013.
"I wanted to create something that
doesn't exist in this market. I wanted
to bring something here that blends
together the best of what I've seen work
in my years in the business, modeled
on the creativity found in places like
New York, Los Angeles, Miami or Las
Vegas," says Belen, the principal of
AFB Investments and AFB Hospitality
Group, both headquartered in Berkley.
The West Bloomfield native and
Bloomfield Hills resident appropriately
describes the redeveloped space as
"everything and the kitchen sink:' with
details like imported Spanish tile floor
to ceiling, onyx bar tops, a 350-bottle
wine cellar and 250-bottle champagne
cellar, each built to feature prominently
in the restaurant with exposed glass,
and even a 960-gallon shark tank in
the Sabrage DJ booth, complete with
three reef sharks, something Belen says
you won't find anywhere else in North
For as much as Belen has invested in
the ambiance, he's also placed a high
priority on top-of-the-line staff, hir-
ing Executive Chef Derik Watson, the
award-winning former chef de cuisine
at Iridescence in Motor City Casino.
Supporting Watson is a team of "some
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Prepare your taste buds for a Mexican fiesta.
Three new Mexican restaurants have opened in recent weeks in Oakland County. If
you're a lover of Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, you have a lot to choose from!
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Huerto Restaurant and Tequila
Bar: Just opened at 6199 Orchard
Lake Road in West Bloomfield, this
restaurant serves a blend of creative
Fri.-Sat.:11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Southwestern and traditional Mexican
cuisine in a festive, contemporary
Liquid refreshments for the adult crowd include traditional and specialty
margaritas, as well as more than 75 different types of tequila to sip or shoot.
Co-owner Safa Zaraga, from the award-winning and popular Sagebrush
Cantina in Lake Orion, will oversee daily operations with co-owner Eduardo
Mayin, who has held management positions with several popular restaurants
and venues, most recently Loccino's Italian Grill & Bar in Troy.
MEX: After opening Social Kitchen and Bar in June
2012, 27-year-old chef Zack Sklar is bringing his
On the Boardwalk
6879 Orchard Lake Rd.
34 September 26 • 2013
innovative style to his second restaurant endeavor,
MEX at 6675 Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township
in the former (now totally revamped) Big Boy's south
The menu includes traditional items like tacos,
tamales and homemade horchata and adds Mexican-
inspired creations such as hot dog taquitos and