Krāv replaces former Cubby Bear Pizza in Elkhart, opens stage to local performers


By: J.C. Lee

J.C. Lee/Flavor 574

Six new investors plan to turn around the former Cubby Bear Pizza restaurant as a late-night venue where local performers can cut their teeth.

Krāv – pronounced “crave” – has taken over the eatery at 526 S. Main St. in downtown Elkhart. While the restaurant continues to offer family-friendly dining, the investors are promoting the venue as a community performance space for all ages. The venue will open its stage to local performers through events such as open mics and poetry slams, according to investor Ranee Robinson.

“This is a place for people to express their views without judgment,” Robinson said. “It will hopefully enlighten and broaden people’s opinions no matter what side of the fence of opinion you are on.”

While Krāv’s bar – which is walled off toward the front of the building – will be strictly for customers 21 and older, the dining area will be open to everyone. A lot of downtown restaurants have age limits, Robinson said, so the all-ages setup makes Krāv special. If there are any events at Krāv that do have age restrictions, Robinson said that will be advertised on social media or the restaurant’s website.

Krāv also hosts family-friendly events, such as a recent post-game meal for Elkhart Central High School’s varsity basketball squad.

“We’ve had families after the basketball game come here on a Friday night, even for R&B night to have a pizza and listen to a deejay play R&B music,” Robinson said, “and parents are up dancing and kids are texting.”

While most of Krāv’s kitchen staff are new, some items on the former Cubby Bear Pizza menu will carry over. You can still get pizza at Krāv as well as burgers, wings, salads, pasta and a selection of appetizers.

Robinson and her husband, Michael Robinson, are two of six investors who took over operation of the former Cubby Bear Pizza restaurant on a two-year lease. The family-friendly restaurant was unable to recover after a rocky first six months. Steve and Frank Hill opened Cubby Bear Pizza in May 2014, but complaints about the food – especially on social media – within the first few months made it difficult to remain open.

Robinson said she and her partners plan to pay close attention to how customers respond to Krāv, its food and events. Management will quickly address any complaints and tailor its events to popular demand, she said.

“Anyone in any business that is serving the public knows that in this day and age, if you make a mistake or make an error and it is broadcasted on social media, it’s really hard to reverse perception after the fact,” Robinson said.

Krāv is open 5-11 p.m. Tuesdays to Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and 3 to 8 p.m. Sundays.

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