After 17 Years at Former Location, Crave Will Open its New Downtown Akron Restaurant Next Week

click to enlarge Crave's new home in downtown Akron - Courtesy Crave
Courtesy Crave
Crave's new home in downtown Akron

“Like everybody, we went through a really rough time through Covid and we were never able to get our lunch business back,” says Aaron Hervey, chef and co-owner of the long-running Akron restaurant Crave . “I had to make a decision: do I tough it out or look for new possibilities.”

Hervey began exploring the Akron real estate market for options. He learned about the Bowery Development taking shape just a couple blocks away and before long, he was being courted as a retail anchor for the entire project. After seeing the space that would become the future home of Crave, he shuttered his 17-year-old baby.

“We looked at the space and it was absolutely breathtaking,” Hervey says. “It’s a dramatic upgrade from what we had.”

Located in the Landmark Building, Crave 2.0 (156 South Main St., 330-253-1234) will open on June 27. The former bank interior can seat 165 people in the main dining room, another 90 on the mezzanine, and approximately 45 on the patio.

Hervey says that despite being located just “two long blocks away” from the former Crave, the business climate could not be more different at the current address.

“Not only did we come here because it was going to be a pretty facility, but it’s a different world over here,” he explains.

Hervey ticks off benefits such as being surrounded by residential properties, being located a few doors away from the Akron Civic Theatre and Lock 3 Park, and being within walking distance to the county building, court house and city hall.

Longtime fans will see a mix of classics and new dishes created by executive chef Jimmy Pintiello. Fan favorites like fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles, cornflake-crusted chicken and smoked gouda mac and cheese are all coming back, now joined by a Spanish-style braised short rib, pretzel-crusted walleye and duck confit with foie gras mousse .

“There are things on the menu that have been there from day one – they’re staples that if we took them off people would jump up and down,” Hervey says. “Over almost two decades, we’ve learned what flies, what works and what doesn’t in Akron and we pretty much stick with those things.”

Co-owner Dana Hervey has whipped up a compelling cocktail list that leans heavily on gin and bourbon. Those drinks will be joined by wines by the glass and bottle, which also will be available for carry-out from an adjacent retail wine shop.

Almost a year and a half since beginning the process, Hervey says that he’s eager to put the construction phase behind him and start focusing on the guests.

“It’s been a journey,” he says. “I’m excited and happy to be back in the kitchen and do what we do.”
Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.

Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
Scroll to read more Food News articles

Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.