Savage restaurant in Fox Park changes name to Shift to promote inclusivity

Savage, which was named a Sauce Best New Restaurant in 2018, has changed its name to Shift to part ways with the word’s troubled connotations. 

The modern American restaurant opened at 2655 Ann Ave. in the Fox Park neighborhood in 2018 and received some criticism for its name.

“Way in the beginning, I got two messages on Instagram about it, and then obviously Ian Froeb mentioned it in his article,” said chef-owner Logan Ely. “The name had made me cringe for a long time after I realized. It was time to do it.”

These external factors as well as internal reflection contributed to Ely’s decision to rename Savage. Noting that the contemporary moment has prompted introspection and examination, Ely said, “I chose the name [when] we first opened Savage. It was chosen in haste, and I didn’t really do enough research about it.” 

Ely hopes the name change will reflect the inclusive environment he believes is already present and will continue to be evident at Shift. “I want to leave the name behind,” he said. “If the name of a restaurant offends one or two people, it’s probably one or two too many when our job [centers around] hospitality.” 

The restaurant’s new name was announced on Instagram on Sunday. This new name, chosen more deliberately, contrasts the “haste” in which the name Savage was chosen and mirrors the shift in the restaurant’s mindset as well as the times. 

Despite these efforts, the change has been met with some opposition.

“Recently, I have gotten more criticism for changing the name than I ever did for having the name Savage,” Ely later said via text message. “I’ve gotten comments and messages saying it’s ridiculous or weak or bullshit, et cetera.”

Although Ely has always been committed to fundraising, he vows to further his commitment to inclusivity by donating on either a monthly or quarterly basis to an organization reflecting Shift’s values, though specifics are still being decided.  

Shift recently reopened for curbside dinner service Wednesday through Saturday with limited contact. There is no set date on the return of full-service dining.

Ely also has plans to open a new restaurant, The Lucky Accomplice, also in Fox Park, in August, depending on the state of COVID. This new spot, like Shift, will support local farmers and will serve a modern American a la carte menu.