Category: Behind The Scenes

Executive Sous Chef at CRAVE Restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland, Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez, recently won the judges’ choice and people’s choice at the Embassy Chef Challenge on May 20, 2015 representing the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Washington, D.C. The 7th annual Embassy Chef Challenge to benefit Cultural Tourism DC  gives the public access to one of DC’s best-kept secrets: world-class embassy chefs. A dozen embassy chefs presents small plates showcasing their country’s signature delicacies and battle in DC’s Premier International Culinary Competition.


In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre’s (HOBT) mission to bring people together for the common good through the power of puppet and mask performance. HOBT uses water, flour, newspaper, paint and unlimited imagination to tell stories that explore the struggles and celebrations of human existence. Drawing inspiration from the world’s traditions of puppet and mask theater and its lively roots in transformative ritual and street theater, HOBT creates vital, poetic theater for all ages and backgrounds.

HOBT’s annual MayDay Parade and Festival is in its 41st year as a rite of spring that brings together 50,000 Minneapolis neighbors to build community and celebrate the end of winter.

Throughout our month-long CRAVE Cares partnership with HOBT, we are featuring a different display from past MayDay Festivals and Ceremonies at our four Minneapolis CRAVE locations.

Learn more about each of the creative displays below and check them out at the restaurants!

CRAVE Mall of America  // “Gorgeous Fever of Consciousness – Honor Your Senses”  // 1995 MayDay Festival Parade

The theme responds to the growing development of “virtual reality” experiences. The theme takes its language from Diane Ackerman, who wrote in her 1990 book A Natural History of the Senses, “To begin to understand the gorgeous fever that is consciousness, we must try to understand the senses—and what they teach us about the ravishing world we have privilege to inhabit.” The parade began with the imprisoning of Our Gorgeous Consciousness by the comically pathetic virtual reality world. Then each section went on to celebrate on of the senses, exploding finally with the colorful riot of the Gorgeous Fever of Consciousness. The two tall yellow men we have featured at the restaurant were part of the smell and taste section.

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CRAVE Shops at West End // Wonder? Wonder! “Beekeepers of Sweet Wonder” // 2014 MayDay Festival Parade

In this 40th anniversary year, HOBT prepared for the next 40 years by bidding all to enter into this world with senses — sight, hearing smell, touch, taste — open.  Build personal relationships with all kin who crawl, walk, fly, swim, grow up from the ground, swirl above us, and flow in our veins. The tiny bees, missing butterflies, and ‘mysterious’ human illnesses in our neighborhood are warnings in this time of great ecological distress. As we prepare for spring after a long and hard winter, we remember scientist Rachel Carson’s image of the ‘Silent Spring’ and her seminal writings that began a worldwide movement toward the care of our planet. Carson believed that human care of the world grew from one’s sense of wonder and love.

The amazing bees are appreciated in the entryway of CRAVE West End. As the sun shines and flowers grow, pollen appears as tiny suns in the flowers. The bees visit the flowers, wiggling and jiggling in their important work of pollination. Because of the bees, the flowers produce fruit for us to eat. The bees cary nectar back to the hive, and through their ardent organizational abilities, voilá! – they produce sweet honey!

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CRAVE Galleria Edina  & CRAVE Downtown Minneapolis // Divining Economy- Calling Forth Our Common Wealth”Green World” // 2000 MayDay Festival Parade












Make a reservation and support Heart of the Beast today! 

Since we opened the tenth CRAVE location in the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, MD, we’ve been welcomed into the Bethesda community with open arms. We’re beyond excited to continue to become involved in the community outside our four walls.


CRAVE West End Executive Chef

Learn more about Chef Heather’s passion for culinary arts!
My desire to enter the culinary world started at a youthful age. My grandmother, father and mother taught me many valuable lessons in the kitchen while mentoring me in different styles of cooking. My grandmother guided my exposure to Italian food, my father taught me traditional comfort food and my mother made sure I was exposed to smart and efficient ways of cooking. Food has always been an intrical part of family occasions.
When it was time to enter the work force, I accepted a position learning pastries for a family-owned bakery. It wasn’t long after that, I decided that I wanted to learn all I could in the culinary field. I continued to practice my passion for cooking while studying at UW-Whitewater. I went on to receive my culinary degree in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu.
I am lucky to be doing what I love for a career. The food industry is ever changing, and I will always be learning. Culinary knowledge is like a mosaic, you pick up the pieces as you go and in the end, a beautiful design is create.
 Check out more of the CRAVE team! 

CRAVE Cincinnati’s Server Spotlight of the Week: Jimmy Houlihan 


Back in May we hosted a wedding reception at our Mall of America CRAVE for Tina and Andy Vossen!  We are honored they chose to celebrate their special day on our indoor patio with their loved ones.  Our team and the Vossens worked together to create a menu that would be perfect for their friends and family.  We are delighted to hear everyone enjoyed the food and venue!  Thank you Tina and Andy for sharing these lovely photos with us!  All of us at CRAVE wish you the very best!

Want to create memories like this, too?  Let CRAVE help you out!  We have private dining spaces in all of our locations!  We also have a great team that will work with you to create the menu and ambience you have always wanted, along with a stress-free planning experience.  For more information, give one of our locations a call or learn more here!

We were excited for the opportunity to have a Q&A with our annual CRAVE Care’s partner, Starkey Hearing Foundation. Their upcoming TV series, Operation Change, begins June 23rd on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Check out the behind the scenes interview with Starkey Hearing Foundation about Operation Change.


“As a Bartender at CRAVE Restaurant in Cincinnati, I am pleased to see all the new vibrant recipes for the new menu. From the hand-made specialty cocktails to the mouth-watering culinary creations coming out of the kitchen, the new fall/winter flavors make you want to try them all!


The cocktails at CRAVE are different from other restaurants because the time and care put into making all of our ingredients in-house, from the purees to the liquor infusions. Our feature infusion here at CRAVE this winter is a Courvoisier infused with brown sugar and mission figs. Infusing the Courvoisier makes it super smooth with a caramel finish that is simply fantastic. Having the ability to make infusions is one of the things that sets us apart and is a huge benefit of stopping by CRAVE Restaurant in Cincinnati. Few-to-no other restaurants downtown make their own Infusions.


CRAVE Great cocktails and food aside, the most exciting thing to me about the new menu is our wonderful new beer selection. We have everything from an Imperial Stout brewed by Oskar Blues to a Rye Siason brewed right here in Cincinnati by our very own Blank Slate Brewery, and every style of beer in between. We have seasonal beers such as a Pumpkin Porter and Winterhook from RedHook Brewing. Having this large selection of beers enables us to pair the perfect beer for beer drinkers with the perfect meal from CRAVE. Come down and try a pairing of your own and, be sure to sample some of our new menu items!”

Joshua Jones


CRAVE Cincinnati


**Pictures: Pumpkin Spice Cocktail & Courvoisier infused with brown sugar and mission figs**



CRAVE Restaurant in Minneapolis loves giving back to our community and is fortunate enough to partake in events that benefit great, local organizations throughout the Twin Cities. Over a thousand people came out to meet Minnesota Vikings players and coaches at the annual Taste of the Vikings event on November 11, 2013 at Nickelodeon Universe ® in the Mall of America®.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Vikings Children’s Fund Summer Lunch Program through Second Harvest Heartland. This amazing program provides children with meals throughout the summer when school is not in session.

Attendees mingled with Vikings coaches and players while sampling food and wine from over fifteen Twin Cities restaurants. The strolling food and wine event also featured exciting silent auction items and a chance to get autographs and pictures with the team.

Minnesota Vikings - CRAVE Restaurant in Minneapolis Minnesota Vikings Joining us at our CRAVE Catering table was linebacker Erin Henderson and rookie wide receiver Rodney Smith.  These gentleman helped the CRAVE Catering team serve Onion Jam Puffs with Cheddar and Watercress, as well as Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Red Potatoes – Both a big hit with the crowd!

We had a great time once again being part of the Taste of the Vikings and look forward to our continued partners with Minnesota Vikings!

If you’d like CRAVE Catering to be part of your next event, contact us at or call 952-562-5620!



CRAVE Restaurant in Minneapolis - Home Office

CRAVE Restaurant not only provides a vibrant and energetic environment throughout all of our restaurants, but also within out Home Office! In honor of Halloween, the Home Office Team threw a party with tricks, treats, and plenty of dressed up characters fully embodying the spirit of one of the most fun days of the year!

Spotted: Teen Wolf, a couple referees, Elmer’s Glue, Siri, a flapper, a turkey, Edward Snowden, a fisherman, pig in a blanket, a crazy Starbucks employee, the odd temp, a fortune teller, and a witch.

Costumes were impressive, food was delicious, and the company was unbeatable! The CRAVE family is the best 🙂

Happy Halloween, CRAVEr’s!