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Bayou Eats | Kravins

By Nathan Coker
In Bayou Eats
Jul 1st, 2024
0 Comments
259 Views

ARTICLE BY DAWSON JACOBS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY MOORE CLARK

Kravins Restaurant in Monroe, founded by Angelique Drew and her partner Alven Square, seamlessly blends their passion for American homemade food with a commitment to serving the community.

HAVE YOU EVER CRAVED a food so badly you could almost taste it? You could call that a “kravin!” Angelique Drew and her partner Alven Square created Kravins Restaurant to satisfy all your food dreams. In 2016, Kravins Restaurant opened its doors promising to be a place where the love for American homemade food and a passion for serving the community blend.

When deciding the location for Kravins Restaurant, Angelique and Alven wanted to keep it close to home. Angelique is from Monroe, LA, and her grandmother lives right down the road from the restaurant making the location an extension of home. Being around the dinner table and sharing kitchen duties with her grandmother sparked Angelque’s desire to spread that feeling of “home” to the surrounding area through food. Angelique insists, “This is where I grew up,” and the idea for Kravins began to blossom. For Alven, it is all about the food and the community; “I got a vision for cooking…I worry about the taste.” What started as an investment idea quickly became so much more.

During the holidays, prior to opening Kravins Restaurant, friends and family would flock to Angelique and Alven’s home because “we were the cooks.” Alven’s mom “cooks, cooks, cooks!” as well as Angelique’s mother who could always be found in the kitchen whipping up something good to eat! Taking this foundation and growing it into an entrepreneurial vision required hard work, dedication, and passion for food and community.

While being a business owner is not easy, it is definitely worth it, according to Angelique. The reward of being a part of something bigger than yourself, a place like Kravins that invites people from all walks of life and ages to share a meal together, makes all the bumps along the way worthwhile. The ups and downs are part of owning a business, but they can be fantastic learning experiences. Not having any previous experience in the restaurant business, the two owners had no idea what it meant to be in the food industry. Angelique said, “The only experience I had came from working at Taco Bell in high school” so, she took some of the things she learned from Taco Bell and other jobs and incorporated it into Kravins Restaurant. Running a successful restaurant is more than just creating good food; it is all the micro-responsibilities like budgets, systems, and procedures that can be overwhelming for first-time restaurant owners.

Angelique explained that while commercial cooking is different from home cooking, the feeling of creating an enjoyable experience for first-time customers and seeing their faces light up is “the best feeling in the world.” To Angelique, “The customers are like a mosaic of people from everywhere and every walk of life. It is so beautiful.” Kravins Restaurant customers show their support by coming to lunch and dinner, sometimes on the same day. The community, coupled with food and a welcoming environment, keep them coming back. Hearing the customers say “I’ll be back” as they walk out the door lets Angelique and Alven know that the joy and love for food is spreading one customer at a time. 

The Kravins Restaurant team is essential to its success. The cashiers make each customer feel welcome and a part of the family by remembering people’s names and orders – solidifying that connection between the business, the food, and the community. The customers are the primary reason for creating a restaurant such as Kravins. The people are the heartbeat of the endeavor. The love for food became a way to show love to others and share in those friendships beyond the home environment. 

Kravins Restaurant is about serving the community. The staff pride themselves on going into the community to bring customers not only food but necessary items like toiletries. In the future, Angelique has big plans such as expanding Senior Saturdays to consist of BINGO games for prizes, fellowship with friends, and continued community engagement. Be on the lookout for Taco Tuesdays, live music, and so much more coming your way at Kravins. 

The atmosphere is family-friendly with recent additions like a covered patio area outside to enjoy the Louisiana weather while eating some mouthwatering food! On a hot day, be sure you order Kravins Kool-Aid. Angelique describes the Kravins Kool-Aid flavor as simply “red.” A blend of many flavors work together to create a fresh, cool drink to satisfy your thirst. Keeping the integrity of a restaurant is important to Angelique and one way to do that is creating a space that fosters fellowship. The decor originated when Angelique googled “What colors make you want to eat?” Turns out, those colors are green and orange. In addition to a black accent color, the restaurant is vibrant and uplifting. 

Angelique’s approach to the menu is simple – an everyday, American fare. The classics like burgers, wings, chicken and waffles, fish, and so much more are served fresh daily. The menu showcases a variety of options for any foodie. Everything is made from scratch. The hamburgers are crafted from real ground beef and nothing is frozen, ever. The wings, one of the more popular items on the menu, are delivered daily. The batter for the waffles, tenders, fish, and even the fries are made in-house. From patting the burgers to cutting up the potatoes each morning for fries, the attention to quality pays off. Angelique says she would “rather have quality any day,” and the Kravins Restaurant customers agree. Everything is made with love; the difference can be found in the intoxicating flavor and unique taste of each dish. 

Wings! Wings! Wings! A staple of American cuisine, wings have a special place on the menu at Kravins – so much so that Wing Out Wednesday was created. Kravins partnered with local DJ Star, who passed away in 2020, and ULM students to turn Warhawk Wednesday into Wing Out Wednesday. Fostering a huge community outreach, this day brings in not only college students, but everyone within a 10-mile radius. Kravins accepts Warhawk Express which has really brought ULM students to the restaurant and out into the community. So, all you Warhawks looking for a new place to eat, Kravins is the place to be!

The most popular wing flavor on the menu is the Louisiana blend, but the lemon pepper is a close second! Feeling a little spicy? Try the Honey BBQ HOT wings! Wanting something more savory with a smooth flavor? The Sweet and Tangy is your next go-to! Pairing these delicious options with their made-from-scratch sauces allows for a dining experience that will have you coming back for more. Alven said it best, “We like flavor!,” and that is exactly what you can expect from every menu item. The Kravins Restaurant sauce is a major hit with just enough spice. There are even some unexpected items on the menu such as wings and waffles. Instead of chicken tenders on your waffles, why not try wings?

Social media has been a huge networking tool for Kravins, especially Facebook. “We eat with our eyes,” so Angelique’s main goal is to show the food. When browsing the Kravins page, you can find pictures and descriptions of upcoming specials and events like Wing Out Wednesday! If you are looking for a sneak peak into what this restaurant is all about or you want to know more about a certain menu item, be sure to check out their Facebook page @kravinsrestaurant. 

Next month, Kravins Restaurant will be celebrating 8 years in the food business. From day one, Angelique, Alven, and the Kravins Restaurant team hit the ground running – leaving little time for public recognition. However, that is all about to change! The Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to visit in June to host the official ribbon cutting. In July, a Customers Appreciation, Family and Friends Day will take place as a thank you to everyone who has supported this business. There will be something for all ages including a huge blow up jumper and face painting! And of course, do not forget the amazing food! 

If you are craving genuine, delicious homemade food, Kravins Restaurant is the place for you!