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SPOTLIGHT: Chef Eve Aronoff of Frita Batidos

As a child, chef-restaurateur Eve Aronoff made international feasts for dinner parties for her parent’s friends and wrote detailed accounts about daily meals in her letters from summer camp.  

Aronoff said her childhood memories include cooking and culinary explorations with her family in Israel and New York and feasting from her grandmother’s “huge spreads of food” in Miami. As a preteen, her passion for food deepened and she began studying different cultures and their respective cuisines.

“I was the taster. I was always in the kitchen with my mom,” said Aronoff, who will soon open the second location of Frita Batidos in The District Detroit. The fast-casual Cuban-inspired restaurant opened in Ann Arbor in 2010 and has won two consecutive Detroit Burger Battle championships. Upon its debut, the chef-restaurateur will work with a close-knit group of longtime staff members. Aronoff said the idea for eatery came about from spending time with her grandmother in Miami and reading about Cuban food and history.

The East Lansing High School graduate studied comparative literature at Brandeis University, where she graduated with a B.A. degree. During undergrad, she began cooking professionally for income and worked at a restaurant on Newbury Street, Boston’s famed eight-block district known for its sprawling eateries, boutiques and salons. Aronoff also cooked and sold hot dogs outside of Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. She said the gig allowed her to immerse herself in “the authentic culture and energy” of being a street food vendor, which was influential in envisioning and creating Frita Batidos.

Although Aronoff had always dreamt of a culinary career, she attended college first because her parents—both professors— advocated she explore all her interests and obtain a well-rounded education. After holding various roles in the restaurant industry, Aronoff moved to Paris to complete a 9-month culinary program at Le Cordon Bleu and earned diplomas in French Cuisine and Wine and Spirits. In school, she refined her technique and enjoyed immersion in the French culture of cooking, like traveling to fresh markets to gather ingredients for meals and private catering events.

In 2003, she opened her first restaurant, eve, in Ann Arbor. More formal than Frita Batidos, eve earned a reputation for its local, seasonal ingredients and for Aronoff’s unique fingerprint as a chef with French, North African, Vietnamese and Cuban influences. Following the eatery’s debut, she published her first cookbook, “eve: Contemporary Cuisine / Methode Traditionnelle.” Aronoff’s accomplishments also include traveling to The James Beard Foundation in New York and the Terra Madre conference in Torino, Italy. In 2009, she was a contestant on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef: Las Vegas."

Today, Aronoff’s distinct cooking style combines bold flavors with a myriad of textures and cohesively blends the best of refined, French techniques— such as quality and attention to detail— with the best qualities of casual, approachable cuisine. “We’re all about making people comfortable. We want them to be happy and feel nurtured,” Aronoff said. “That is the essence of what we do and care about.”

Soon, Aronoff will open a mobile restaurant and food truck in the form of vintage Airstream currently under rehabilitation. She is also exploring reopening her first establishment, eve, and has her eyes set on launching a vegetarian restaurant. When she’s not busy running her food operations, she is focused on being a new mom to baby girl, studying architecture and design, and volunteering with local nonprofit organizations that help underserved residents. She is also a consultant and a visionary behind dessous, an underground restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor.

Frita Batidos will occupy a 2,400 square foot space on Columbia Street, where construction remains underway. The retail and shopping destination near Comerica Park, the historic Fox Theatre and the Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion, will boast 40,000 square feet of new shops and dining options along a pedestrian strip featuring cobblestone paving, festoon lights and outdoor dining.

About The District Detroit

The District Detroit is a dynamic urban destination in the heart of Detroit. One that includes something for everyone—a dense neighborhood experience with a variety of developments alongside Detroit’s premier sports and entertainment venues. Connecting downtown Detroit to growing nearby neighborhoods such as Midtown, Corktown and Brush Park, The District Detroit is having a dramatic economic impact on Detroit and is a driving catalyst of the city’s remarkable resurgence. The District Detroit represents $1.4 billion in new investment to Detroit including the new Little Caesars Arena, Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University and Little Caesars world headquarters campus.