Following a series of agonizing delays, Michigan’s first Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ is just days away from opening in Canton Township — and its patrons are in for a treat.
Sprawling across 4,000 square feet inside a former bridal boutique at 5800 Sheldon Road — it is reportedly the second-largest Crave in the country in terms of square footage — the business features the state’s second self-pour beer wall, two axe-throwing lanes (dubbed CR-AXING), 11 wall-mounted big-screen televisions and a menu populated by gourmet hot dogs, barbecue (smoked brisket, pulled chicken and pulled pork, to name a few), salads, wings and kids meals.
And good news for health-conscious Crave customers: all of the food is prepared in air fryers, not deep fryers.
“It’s a healthier cooking option,” said Brad Fuchs, who co-owns the eatery with good friend Darrell Olds. “Healthier, not healthy (he smiled). After all, a tater tot is still a tater tot.”
The grand opening is set for Saturday, Feb. 4, with the doors officially set to open at 11 a.m. and remain open until 10 p.m. Among the grand-opening specials: the first 100 people in line will receive a free hot dog.
Potential for greatness
The off-the-charts potential for the business was evident during a pre-opening tour of the renovated space, which features warm decor, plenty of room between tables and a distinct process to fill up your beer mugs.
“Darrell and I both live in Canton, so we’re big into giving back to the community,” Fuchs said. “We were talking during the first stages of COVID and wanted to come up with something to invest in for our future. We originally talked about doing an online app of some sort, but once we looked into that, it was going to be more difficult than what we thought.
“One day Darrell was perusing business opportunities online and came across Crave. He showed me the link and –based on the concept and everything — we decided we were going to jump into the restaurant business.”
Fuchs and Olds had hoped to open as early as February of 2022, but a series of obstacles materialized, pushing back the opening to Feb. 4.
“When we heard we were finally approved (earlier this week), it was pretty exciting,” Fuchs said. “Once we got the approval, we knew it was time to get serious about getting everything ready to go — and it will be.”
Paige Fuchs will serve as the restaurant’s general manager, but Fuchs said he and Olds will be on-site pretty much every day, even though they both hold full-time jobs elsewhere.
Unique serving concept
The Crave serving concept — namely the self-pour beer wall — allows the business to employ a limited staff.
The beer wall will include 25 beers — the majority Michigan-made craft beers — and five mixed drinks, which will rotate on a seasonal basis.
“As far as the self-pour wall, when you come in you pay for 32 ounces,” Fuchs said. “You are presented with a card on a lanyard and you insert the lanyard into the slot next to the beer or mixed drink you’d like to try. If you only want to try something, you can set it for one or two ounces.
“Once your first 32 ounces are used up, you have to see a staff member to generate another 32 ounces. Once someone hits 96 ounces, they’re done. It’s a way we can avoid over-serving. Let’s say, at a bar you can sit there and drink 12, 14 beer and nobody is regulating it. Not here.”
Once patrons place their food orders, a numbered flag is placed on their table. Once the food is ready, a staff member will bring the food to the table.
“The beer wall is a totally different concept. The only other place in Michigan that has it is the Gun Lake Casino. In five years, I predict you’ll see it everywhere, but we’re the first in this area.”
“Totally different concept. Nobody has anything like it.”
Fuchs said he would describe the Crave atmosphere as family friendly.
“Eventually, we want to add a Golden Tee (golf) game and maybe darts and trivia nights — things along those lines,” he said. “But we wanted to get the doors open first and then focus on adding things.”
Well, the doors are opening Feb. 4 — and Fuchs and Olds couldn’t be happier.
Their craving to serve the residents of Canton and surrounding communities has finally been satisfied.
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