Mamadou “Sav” Savane was born and raised in Guinea, a country in west Africa where he learned to cook the many different African cuisines that he serves up at his restaurant. Savane migrated to America in 1993 with the idea of providing a prosperous future for his family.

“The opportunities we have here are not like back home,” Savane said.

Coming from a country that is under developed can hinder the dreams and goals a person wishes to achieve in life.

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With the many opportunities given here in America, Savane sought out to making his dream a reality. His love for cooking and his homeland’s foods helped him to quickly decide on what to do.

Sav’s Grill & West African Cuisine opened in Sept. 2008. His son, Bangaly, who was 14 years old at the time, quickly acquired interest in working alongside his father at the restaurant.

“Working with my son is great. He is my back-bone. Without him, I don’t know what I would do,” said Savane.

Bangaly is currently 22 years old and a senior at UK where he is studying to one day become a pilot. Bangaly feels that working alongside his father is a rewarding experience because of how he’s able to support his family and connect with the local community.

The father-son duo enjoys having people come and get a taste of west Africa literally and metaphorically through historical knowledge and food. The restaurant itself showcases some of Africa’s cultures including music and dance, creating a welcoming yet inquisitive environment for all who come.

 Sav’s Grille was thrust into the national spotlight in 2014 after the eldest Savane suffered burns on over half of his body after a pot full of boiling water spilled on him in a cooking accident. Within 36 hours the community had raised over $50,000 for medical expenses, leading several prominent media outlets to pick up the story. Two years later Savane says he’s feeling great and owes God his thanks.

“I have a scar but that is a part of me now,” said Savane.

With only a few dishes currently on the menu, Savane hopes to travel back to Guinea in December to learn to new recipes for some of west Africa’s most scrumptious delicacies to bring back to the bluegrass to serve up to the people of his new home, Lexington.