With 29 cake orders the week before they were open, the new Bake Shop at Crave, called Crave Sweets, has absolutely taken off! Their second adventure, the couple who own the Crave shops in Arlington did both of these like they do everything - together, and let’s say they do it extremely well!
“We both have culinary degrees, and after I stayed at home for a couple of years with our children, the time came for us to do something a little different,” Lana Hickey began their story. “I asked Ben, ‘So how about opening our own?’, he said No, but I said Yes!” And they did it together. While Ben is a French-trained chef, Lana is a pastry chef. With the addition of the bake shop next door to the Coffee Bar and Bistro, Lana now gets to put her talents to a much bigger use!
“We started the coffee shop and both did the things that we love - Ben’s expertise is making sure that everything that goes out of the kitchen is perfect. I love guest relations, getting to know the regulars, I’m a people person,” Lana added, “and I also LOVE to make smoothies!” They have a large smoothie menu that showcases that creativity. “We treat our business as a home, and treat each of our customers as a guest in our home,” Lana added, “because they have certainly been good to us, and we remember that!”
The husband and wife team make everything from scratch - all dressings, entrees, everything. They have been experimenting with different entrees, Ben still loves French cuisine. “If we look at expanding,” Lana smiled, “It’s Ben’s turn.” Crave will always have Lana’s heart, it’s her ‘baby’, she designed the menu, and while Ben may handle the kitchen in Crave, this one is still Lana’s ‘baby’. Ben wants to move into more complicated entrees, and while they have several and will continue to add more after the upcoming months at Crave, they will remain specials and not on the actual menu. During the summer, salads, sandwiches, and wraps, soup, along with kids meals are the menu, but they will have specials like BBQ Shrimp with grit cakes and Korean BBQ Sauce, or seared scallops with risotto and seared asparagus, or grits and shrimp with smoked gouda - it’s a little different. “We wanted to bring something to the table that you could get in Midtown - without the drive.” Lana explained, “You don’t have to go to Midtown to get great food. It’s fun being a little different.”
As to the coffee bar, Crave uses J Brooks - a Memphis coffee guru. It’s roasted locally and it makes a difference. “They roast it on Monday, and we get it on Wednesday - and you can really taste the FRESH.” Lana continued, “It makes a huge difference!” Crave’s newest drink, Nitro Coffee, is on tap and readily available. Nitro is cold brewed for 12 hours and looks almost like a Guinness. It’s creamy, smooth, non-alcoholic, and never bitter.
The most popular drinks are the Frozen Joe’s for summer - and the favorite is a Java Chip. For warmer weather, the ‘Hey Steven’ is a favorite as it tastes like a cinnamon roll. Other offerings include sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan and dairy free. Smoothies are light and fresh, and they also feature the ‘Live Fit’ smoothies, and ‘Real Food’ smoothies. Next door, at Crave Sweets, the offerings include Truffles in coffee, hazelnut, tiramisu and champagne flavors, cookie cream pies, chocolate chip, peanut butter and ginger cookie cakes…basically, if you dream it up, they can create it.
Located at 11615 Highway 70 in Arlington, Crave Coffee Bar and Bistro’s hours are 6am-9pm Monday - Saturday; Crave Sweets is open 9am-7pm. For more information, both businesses have a facebook page.