By: Jodi Schwan | 4:03 p.m. CST January 28, 2016
Minneapolis-based Crave American Kitchen & Sushi Bar is coming to Sioux Falls.
The Twin Cities restaurant operators will convert the Elements space at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown in the coming months.
The hotel is a partnership of investors led by Hegg Cos. and Lloyd Cos.
Paul Hegg had seen Crave’s concept in the Twin Cities and reached out to owner Kam Talebi to ask him if he would consider expanding to Sioux Falls.
It took several months of convincing him to visit, but once he did he “fell in love with the market,” Hegg said. “I think he thought there was some great opportunity here, and that kind of launched the whole deal.”
Crave has 11 locations. The closest to Sioux Falls is in Omaha.
“It’s not over the top. It’s not super expensive. But it’s unique,” Hegg said. “I just think people in Sioux Falls would like this concept. It will be something they don’t get everywhere else.”
Talebi said when he learned of Sioux Falls’ business community – driven by the health care and banking industries – it made him take a closer look.
“When you don’t know much about a city, Sioux Falls doesn’t register like the prime markets that Crave was going after,” he said. “There’s certainly a viable secondary market strategy for any brand, and Paul did a great job educating me on the city and giving me a reason to come out and just understand it. I was absolutely incredibly surprised with what I saw, what the market was and the foundation of the city.”
Crave has an opportunity to become a dining destination in Sioux Falls, he added.
“The menu is a combination of American fare with sushi, and we have a sort of Asian-influence to the menu,” Talebi said. “And our concept creates a classic lunch and dinner component and a great happy hour. We have a very extensive, award-winning wine list, and the energy in our restaurants sort of stands for what we believe in, which is to have a restaurant that has a strong experience component.”
The restaurant operators will take over from Sioux Falls-based Pinnacle Hospitality, which has operated Elements since the hotel opened in 2013.
Pinnacle also runs Callaway’s, Foleys and Tre.
Crave will do some remodeling to the Hilton restaurant, which will be closed for a short time, Hegg said. There also will be renovations to the patio along the Big Sioux River.
A final schedule hasn’t been determined, but the plan is to be done by spring when patio seating becomes available and hopefully open in May.
Crave will serve three meals daily, although breakfast will be guided mostly by Hilton’s requirements for guests. Crave will offer food service for events at the hotel as well.
Talebi said the plan is to add a patio bar and other improvements, including more live music designed to provide more of a late-night scene.
He also envisions adding an interactive and visual sushi area inside.
“The restaurant will certainly look different than it does today,” he said. “We want it to be a Crave-looking restaurant, so we do have a plan to create a look and feel of a Crave restaurant.”
Crave has started hiring for all positions. To see the openings, visit cravecareers.com.