CRAVE opens this week in new location at Woodbury Lakes
Terri Heimerman calls herself a “nerd” when she gets excited talking about the food at her new job. But as the general manager for the new CRAVE American Kitchen and Sushi Bar, she’s got a right to be excited.
Woodbury’s new CRAVE restaurant officially opens to the public Oct. 8, making it the fifth of the company’s restaurants in Minnesota, and the first on the east side of the metro area.
The decision to bring CRAVE to Woodbury was simple, Heimerman said. It seemed that folks from the area, visiting the company’s other four locations, asked time and again for a CRAVE to open a little closer to home.
As a longtime resident of Woodbury and someone who has worked in the community’s finer dining establishments, Heimerman is thrilled with the location in the Woodbury Lakes shopping center.
“Woodbury seems to be a perfect fit within their model of a restaurant,” she said. “And The Lakes is such a lovely shopping center. To me, it’s a symbol of what Woodbury is. It’s lovely and elegant.”
October is the perfect time of the year for a new restaurant to open, she said. Typically, business drops off at restaurants over the warmer months, but folks start to want to go out for dinner more during the cooler seasons. As the days get longer, and closer to the holidays, Heimerman hopes that shoppers to Woodbury Lakes will start to stop by while out doing their holiday shopping.
But she’s also hopeful about drawing diners from the business community. While CRAVE is often seen as a place for a little more formal of a dinner, it is also a warm and inviting place to have lunch. Or, if a business luncheon is in order, there is a private dining room available, too.
“We can get you in and out in a short amount of time if that’s what you need, but you can use that private dining room for your meetings or functions,” she said.
CRAVE brings more than 150 new jobs to the community. The staff has gone through weeks of intensive — and delicious — training to get ready for the openings. See, in order to be able to accurately tell customers about the food, part of the extensive training includes tasting, and becoming familiar with, every item on the menu.
It seems to pay off, too. In training for her position, Heimerman worked at two of the company’s other restaurants. At both places, she saw happy employees who were having fun in their work. After asking around, she learned the CRAVE treats its employees well, and as such, has a very low turnover rate.
“I am overwhelmed by how much they love their work,” she said. “I think when you have happy staff, it’s easy to welcome the public in because you know they’re going to have a good experience.”
Heimerman gets excited when she talks about the menu. Besides being fresh and flavorful, it’s made from scratch out of the kitchen. The company has a high standard for its food preparation, and has both an executive sushi chef and an executive chef to oversee the production and presentation of the meals.
“The food not only tastes amazing, but when it comes to you, it’s a work of art,” Heimerman said, “but that’s just the way it is across all of the CRAVEs. It gets very, very busy, and to keep up that level of perfection tells you about the dedication these people have.”
CRAVE American Kitchen and Sushi Bar is located at 9100 Hudson Road in Woodbury Lakes.
For more information, visit craveamerica.com/locations/woodbury-lakes, or call 651-756-1000.