A well-known restaurant name is coming to Rochester to offer a new downtown dining experience

Kam Talebi, CEO of Minneapolis-based Kaskaid Hospitality, is bringing his popular Crave American Kitchen & Sushi Bar concept to the Med City's downtown with a unique twist.

It is being built on the southwest corner of the second floor of the former Holiday Inn hotel at 220 S. Broadway. The Holiday Inn building is undergoing an extensive renovation and will be re-launched under the high-end Hotel Indigo brand. Plans put the restaurant adjacent to the hotel's lobby.

Talebi described what he called an "epic, one-of-a-kind restaurant dining experience."

Part of the 9,500-square-foot restaurant will be covered by a glass, retractable roof and have windows along Broadway that will roll down to become handrails. It can transform into a patio or remain covered to give a full view of falling snow or other weather.

The Rochester Crave will offer a dining experience reminiscent of Talebi's Union Restaurant & Rooftop in Minneapolis.

Talebi said he has been approached by developers to come to Rochester for the past couple of years, but he was waiting for just the right opportunity. EKN Development Group CEO Ebbie Nakhjavani, which is behind the hotel transformation, reached out to him and this concept came together.

"I have a lot of love for the city ... It has been my personal passion to be in that market," he said. "When we looked at the space, I wanted to make a second floor dining experience unlike any other... It's all about the customer experience."

The restaurant will seat 300 to 400 people, feature a full bar and offer a special event dining area. Talebi estimated a team of more than 100 employees will be needed to staff it.

In addition to sushi, Crave's menu has a reputation of having something for everybody with steaks and salads as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten free menus. It will serve brunch, lunch and dinner and offer a "vibrant" Happy Hour, according to Talebi.

This will be the 11th Crave restaurant. It is expected to be ready to open by early spring. Hotel Indigo is anticipated to open in January.

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in Heard on the Street. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger. You can call him at 285-7798.

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