Ava’s Pizze­ria & Wine Bar opens in Cam­bridge

Dorchester Star - - FRONT PAGE - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@ches­pub.com

CAM­BRIDGE — In 2008, Ava’s Pizze­ria & Wine Bar opened in St. Michaels. Last month, owner Chris Agharabi opened his sec­ond lo­ca­tion on Po­plar Street in Cam­bridge.

“I like to open restau­rants and I think we have a great prod­uct,” Agharabi said.

Agharabi wanted to open a lo­ca­tion in Cam­bridge be­cause of the town’s re­cent growth. Walk­ing around down­town Cam­bridge, Agharabi said the cor­ner build­ing where Ava’s Pizze­ria & Wine Bar would even­tu­ally open was dark and empty, sur­rounded by other busi­nesses. He said his hope for for the restau­rant is to add to the down­town at­mos­phere of Cam­bridge.

It also was im­por­tant to pick a lo­ca­tion close to St. Michaels, so Agharabi could man­age both restau­rants, he said.

“It’s 45 min­utes from St. Michaels, so hope­fully we’re grab­bing some peo­ple that are al­ready on their way to St. Michaels,” Agharabi said.

Agharabi said open­ing his Cam­bridge lo­ca­tion has been dif­fi­cult, fac­ing new chal­lenges. One thing learned from ex­pe­ri­ence is cre­at­ing a co­he­sive taste in food be­tween his two lo­ca­tions, he said.

All of the in­gre­di­ents at Ava’s Pizze­ria & Wine Bar are made from scratch, in­clud­ing salad dress­ings, meat­balls and cheeses. Agharabi said menu items are ap­proached sim­plis­ti­cally, with a fo­cus on unique fla­vor.

“You al­ready have kind of an ex­pec­ta­tion from cus­tomers, you have the curse of knowl­edge ... and you’re try­ing to du­pli­cate some­thing that seems to work,” Agharabi said.

Agharabi, orig­i­nally from New York, is a grad­u­ate of Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity

in Wash­ing­ton D.C. Af­ter col­lege, Agharabi briefly worked as a chef at Per­sim­mon in Bethesda. He also owns Theo’s Steaks, Sides & Spir­its, an­other restau­rant in St. Michaels.

Along with be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur, Agharabi is also a phi­lan­thropist. Through Ava’s Pizze­ria & Wine Bar, the busi­ness do­nates food, vol­un­teer time and money to lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions, such as St. Michaels High School and the Eas­ton Choral Arts So­ci­ety. Or­ga­ni­za­tions ap­ply for do­na­tions on­line at the restau­rant’s web­site.

Last year, Ava’s Pizze­ria & Wine Bar do­nated five dol­lars to lo­cal food banks for ev­ery pizza or­dered with a spe­cific top­ping.

“It’s not just giv­ing, we don’t just want to give money, we want it to have the com­mu­nity in­volve­ment,” Agharabi said. “We have peo­ple from all over the coun­try, be­lieve it or not.”

Ava’s Pizze­ria & Wine Bar em­ploys lo­cals, in and around the area, who re­ceive health­care ben­e­fits and a match­ing 401k plan. Agharabi said staff al­ready

has a good rap­por t with cus­tomers.

“Over­all I think hav­ing that pos­i­tive at­ti­tude that a lot of peo­ple seem to have here, has re­ally been great,” Agharabi said.

Ava’s Pizze­ria & Wine Bar is lo­cated at 543 Po­plar Street and is open Wed­nes­day Through Sun­day from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. For in­for­ma­tion call 443-205-4350 or visit avaspizze­ria.com.

PHOTO BY JACK RODGERS

Ava’s Pizze­ria & Wine Bar staff poses with a se­lec­tion of food from the restau­rant. From left are John Ma­son, Kym Yates, Chris Agharabi, So­phie Felty and Will Flem­ing.

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