By: DAN SHINGLER 
Crain’s Cleveland Business

First look at the new Crave restaurant in Akron

Despite the pandemic, Akron had a busy 2021.

It’s a bit like a Broadway show the week before the show opens at Crave’s new location in downtown Akron’s Bowery District.

Aaron Hervey and his crew only have a few days before the restaurant holds its soft opening next weekend, which begins with dinner Thursday, June 23.

That will give Hervey a chance to test his crew’s training in front of some known guests who are likely to be understanding if there are any snafus.

That will give Hervey a chance to test his crew’s training, which has been ongoing, so there aren’t any such incidents on Monday, June 27, when Crave opens for real.

So far, so good, Hervey said during a Friday, June 17, visit to check on his progress.

Stock is either on hand or on its way, and the tables, chairs, flatware and other dining instruments are ready. The stainless steel sculptures done by Akron artist John Comunale are in place, with the hand-blown light fixtures patrons will likely remember from Crave’s original location on East Market Street hanging from them.

Even the staff is hired, Hervey said — all 38 of them. Well, almost, anyway.

“I think I’ll still need to hire one more cook,” Hervey said. “But we’re ready.”

There will be a lot of eyes on the place as it begins business again after shutting down in its former location due to COVID, then deciding to move to the highest-profile development downtown.

Crave’s success will represent the Bowery’s success as well — the restaurant is the first big retail tenant to sign on at the Bowery and has the most visible space on the first floor facing Main Street. It will also provide a sign as to the health of the downtown district generally, especially with regard to its nightlife.

Hervey, however, doesn’t seem worried. He said he’s had a lot of support from his former patrons, as well as downtown backers, and is confident Crave has landed in the right spot to become even bigger and better than it was before.

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