Todd Boyd knows a thing or two about living life to the fullest. From eight-hour treks through the jungle on 20-year-old school buses to underwater adventures, he has traveled the world, covering most of the inhabitable islands in the Caribbean and almost every country in Central America. "When I go on vacation, I don't stay in high-end resorts, play golf and swim in swimming pools," says the self-described ecotourist. "I'll go stay with a farmer or family, and literally sleep in a treehouse."
His environmental consciousness helped shape the concept for Selba ( 2416 W. Cary St., 310-6558 ), an upscale yet casual restaurant that's set to open in early July.
Boyd, 50, has worked in restaurant and catering businesses since the late 1980s, but he says the idea for Selba came into focus when he began working on cooking demonstrations with Herb Mesa, a personal trainer and chef who later became a Next Food Network Star finalist. "[Mesa] had this idea about teaching people that you can still eat the same foods but make them healthier," Boyd says.
A few years later, Boyd and Alan delForn, a commercial real-estate broker and co-owner of Star-lite Dining and Lounge, decided to bring Boyd's concept to fruition. Selba is owned by Boyd and delForn, with Boyd acting as general manager. Abram Jackson, a former executive sous chef at the Old Original Bookbinder's and former head chef at the Fat Goat, is the executive chef. The space that used to house a motorcycle sales and repair shop has been transformed, with glass-paneled skylights, LED lighting and a working garden, in which customers can dine year-round, with large windows that open in warm weather. The menu includes shrimp corn dogs, locally raised roasted quail, grilled-turkey meatloaf and Cowboy Pie, a casserole made of locally farmed ground bison and fresh veggies, along with a variety of vegetarian options. Entrée prices range from $16 to $20. After serving dinner initially, Selba plans to add lunch and a weekend piano brunch.