Nation's Restaurant News Names CRAVE a 2011 Hot Concepts! Award Winner

Fresh Ideas and Quality Food at CRAVE Earned the Award from the Top Foodservice Publication

Aug 11, 2011, 14:51 ET from CRAVE

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- CRAVE has been honored with a 2011 Hot Concepts! award by Nation's Restaurant News (NRN) for its bold tactics, creativity and strong performance in a poor economy. NRN's Hot Concepts! award recognizes forward-thinking companies with emerging growth potential that appeal to consumers and position themselves at the leading edge of the foodservice industry. It is one of the restaurant industry's most prestigious programs for up-and-coming companies.

"To be recognized on a national level like this by the leading industry publication is a major honor," said Kam Talebi owner and CEO of CRAVE. "This kind of recognition validates what we have known as we continue to expand our concept across the country – that people truly are hungry for a diverse and unique dining experience located in a vibrant environment, and delivered at an affordable price point."

The Bloomington-based CRAVE, which opened in 2007, now has six locations in Minnesota, Florida, and Nebraska, with a seventh location scheduled to open in Coral Gables, Fla. in October. NRN recognized CRAVE for its ability to flawlessly blend American seasonal cuisine with a focus on sushi. In addition, NRN noted that the restaurant's design, which devotes equal space to the dining room and the bar with a floor-to-ceiling wine tower separating the two, offers different experiences that bring guests back again and again for various occasions.

CRAVE's menu changes regularly to reflect the latest trends in New American cooking and utilizes the freshest seasonal ingredients. It also features a wide variety of items that range from a full sushi bar and Certified Angus beef to fire-roasted flat bread pizzas and fresh market salads.

CRAVE's recipe for success has helped drive sales to more than $6 million in average unit volumes annually. The company is projecting $38 million in sales this year and over $60 million in 2012.  

Talebi said the company is committed to its plan for steady strategic growth and expects to announce three to four new CRAVE locations in the near future.

The five winners will be honored at the Hot Concepts! Celebration sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company during the 52nd Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators (MUFSO) Conference in Grapevine, Texas, September 25-27. For more information about the Hot Concepts! awards, visit


CRAVE fulfills the vision of a vibrant restaurant where the cuisine, service, atmosphere, energy and value are second to none. CRAVE offers fresh and innovative cuisine along with an impeccable wine selection brought to life in a chic yet casual atmosphere. A grand sushi bar extends the dining experience, appealing to both traditional sushi lovers and adventurous epicureans. CRAVE has four Minnesota locations, recently opened in Orlando and Omaha, and is scheduled to open Coral Gables, Florida, later this year. At each location patrons enjoy a familiar yet unforgettable dining experience. For more information visit