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Woodbury's Cravings Wine Bar and Grille gets new owner

Cravings Wine Bar & Grille in Woodbury has changed hands.

Kathy Rick said it was time to downsize restaurants so the family decided to sell the Woodbury location on the northeast corner of Bielenberg Drive and Tamarack Road (755 Bielenberg Drive, Woodbury; 651-528-6828; cravingswinebar.com) that her husband, Greg, and daughter Alyssa have run since the family opened the spot nine years ago.

"It's for health reasons. Greg just works too hard and it takes so much time to run that place," Kathy said. "And he was able to find someone who wanted to carry it as a cafe, wine bar and grill, and everything will remain the same."

The Rick family will continue to run the original Cravings in White Bear Lake they opened more than 21 years ago. As for now, there are no plans for major changes at the Woodbury spot under the new ownership.

The new owner is Nameer Ameen, a Woodbury resident with 25 years' experience in the hospitality and restaurants business, most recently as director of operations for Orlando-based Darden Restaurants.

"It was a lifelong dream to set up my own little place and this offered the perfect opportunity," he said. Ameen added that many things will remain the same including chef Travis Heffron heading the kitchen.

"There will be no menu changes as of right now, but we will always look at enhancements," he said. "We want to keep things the way they are. They have a great menu, great dessert. We are not a chain — we have a local feel."

Greg and Alyssa have been helping with the transition of the restaurant since the sale Nov. 16. Greg Rick's last day was Nov. 26 and Alyssa's last night was Dec. 4.

"A lot of people have been coming in this last week to say goodbye to Greg and Alyssa. It's been really awesome having all these people come in and say thanks for all the years," Kathy said.

As for gift cards, those sold under the Rick family will be accepted at the White Bear Lake location only.

"Unfortunately, we no longer have the software on site to process the (previously sold Woodbury) gift cards," a post on the Cravings Facebook page stated.

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