Hundreds attend event to help injured restaurant owner, raising more than $10,000

tcrumbie@herald-leader.comJune 16, 2014 

Gentle music, a variety of food and one man united several hundred people for a fundraiser Monday night.

Mamadou "Sav" Savané, owner of Sav's Grill & West African Cuisine at 304 South Limestone, suffered second-degree burns after a cooking accident June 3. Friends and family are pitching in to help run the restaurant as Savané recovers from his burns at home after being released from the hospital.

After his accident, an online fundraiser to help pay Savané's medical bills surpassed its goal of $50,000 within 36 hours. The total now tops $60,000.

Support for Savané continued Monday night as hundreds of people and small businesses raised $10,000 through donations, and sales of beer and water. Organizers said many people who came handed them cash and checks well in excess of the $5 collected from each person at the door at Smiley Pete Publishing.

An online auction to raise additional money is continuing.

Chris Eddie of Smiley Pete Publishing said Savané's injury had the potential to hurt more than him.

"It would be crippling for an ultra small business like his," Eddie said.

Bangaly Savané, son of Mamadou Savané, has been helping run the restaurant in his father's absence. Bangaly Savané said he had learned a lot about what it takes for his dad to run the business.

"I swear my dad does the work of four or five people," he said.

In September, the restaurant will mark its sixth anniversary.

Bruce Jonas, one of Sav's customers, said Mamadou Savané invited him to try his food about six months ago.

"I just thought he was a super, super guy," said Jonas, who was at Monday's fundraiser. "Great guy, great food, and I've been sold on him ever since."

Staff writer Karla Ward contributed to this story.Trey Crumbie: (859) 231-1687. Twitter: @TreyCrumbieHL

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