Krave Restaurant & Lounge quietly debuted in Dupont Circle last month with all sorts of Southern staples like shrimp and grits, blackened catfish, Cajun-spiced linguini, and buttermilk-battered fried chicken sandwiches.
The Black-owned restaurant, decked out with framed portraits of ’90s icons like Missy Elliott, the Notorious B.I.G., and Michael Jordan, offers throwback entertainment in the form of sitcoms on loop and arcade games Pac-Man and Street Fighter. Krave serves lunch, dinner, and brunch, with a grand opening scheduled for Friday, May 5 (1736 Connecticut Avenue NW).
The party really gets going on weekends, when bottomless mimosa “towers” for two ($55) can be spiked with tequila or vodka for $15 more. Shaw’s vibrant newcomer Uncaged Mimosas also goes big on its namesake with a whopping 25 varieties in every color of the rainbow. Krave’s brunch also brings steak and eggs, all sorts of omelettes, fried egg-topped burgers, and chicken and waffles to the table.
Executive chef Barry Scruggs has a nearly 30-year cooking career at places like the Four Seasons Hotel, MGM National Harbor, and several pristine country clubs throughout Virginia. Krave’s kitchen is in the basement and floors one and two seat 89 guests at a time. An additional level up top remains unused for now.
For dinner, starters include hot honey wings, lollipop lamb chops with chimichurri sauce, and Old Bay-seasoned crab dip with toasted naan crostini. Mains include steak frites, four-cheese macaroni with jumbo lump crab, and sizable salads. Krave’s sit-down lunch service is a weekday win for dinner-heavy Dupont. The midday meal adds dishes like shrimp po’boys, a decadent grilled cheese on pan-grilled butter toast, and fried shrimp and chips with homemade tartar sauce.
“We have spent the month of April fine-tuning our menu and service,” says co-owner Isaiah Walker, who opened Krave with fellow University of Virginia grads Zach Coles and Lloyd Bramble.
Some drinks come with a proceed-with-caution asterisk, like a Dexter’s Lab Flight featuring four tequila shooters ($40). Classics like an Old Fashioned, Cosmo, Long Island Iced Tea, French 75, and Manhattan join various mocktails like the Fruit Loops (club soda, grenadine, and orange juice with a fruit garnish).
The Halle B shakes up the espresso martini with rum, and other early favorites include the Maria, Maria, made with tequila, butterfly pea flower, triple sec, simple syrup, grapefruit, and lime juice, and Still Z.A.Y with Hennessy, Grand Marnier, muddled orange, and a toasted cinnamon stick.
Coles and Walker, who currently work in the tech and IT world, held all kinds of front-of-house roles in restaurants and bars during their college days in Charlottesville, Virginia. Bramble is an investment banking associate with a background in economics and financial planning.
“[We] plan to use the skill sets learned throughout our careers to make the restaurant a success,” says Walker.
Opening day coincides with Cinco de Mayo, with a happy hour planned for 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Going forward, hours are at 11 a.m. Wednesday to Sunday (and until 10 p.m. on Wednesday and Sunday, midnight on Thursday, and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday).