Small Business Startup: CRAVE

Todd Sheffield recently opened his restaurant Crave in downtown Cape Vincent and has been very successful to date.


BY: Holly Boname
The village of Cape Vincent is far from coastal Florida. But as Hurricane Irma hit the coast in 2017 little did they know the impact it would have on their river village.

     CRAVE, a new restaurant that features comfort food and crafty cocktails, opened on Black Friday in Cape Vincent and wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for the storm.

     “I came up here because of Hurricane Irma. There was supposed to be 15 feet of storm surge, so I put the storm shutters up and me and mom came up to Cape Vincent,” said owner and head chef Todd Scheffield. 

     Mr. Scheffield, originally from Rochester, N.Y., had been visiting Cape Vincent since 1980 when his parents purchased a summer home along the river. When the hurricane hit, he and his mother ventured back to the river community without any plans on staying long-term.

     “We were here for a few weeks and didn’t want to go back because the gas stations weren’t open yet, and saw this place was for sale,” he said.

     It was then that he decided to purchase the building, which previously had been a restaurant named Breakers. Seeing the restaurant for sale in early September, he made an offer and within a month and a half closed on the sale, opening the doors to CRAVE a month after that.

     “It just took a few coats of new paint; it was baby blue when we got the building. And we added a fireplace,” said Mr. Scheffield. “We just added our touch to what was here.”

     The name CRAVE was easy for Mr. Scheffield to come up with simply because he says, “people have always craved my food.”

     He had previously owned two restaurants in Florida, as he has been a chef his entire career, specializing in what he calls fine-dining BBQ. The menu at CRAVE is comfort food with a twist, he says.

     “It’s like meatloaf, but not just your diner meatloaf. It’s with a bourbon-spiked demi-glace with peppercorns in it. Or we have a huge potpie that’s vodka-spiked. We do lasagna and gnocchi’s, all homemade. Everything is homemade in-house, all salad dressings are in-house, desserts, everything,” he said.

     Mr. Scheffield and his mother, Juanita, who co-owns the restaurant, say that the restaurant has been busy since they opened, receiving five-star reviews on TripAdvisor and Facebook.

     “The community has accepted us very well,” he said.

     CRAVE has not seen a summer open in Cape Vincent just yet, but they are hopeful that the enthusiasm they have seen this winter for their food just gets better as tourism season starts.

     “We have four people on staff right now and will increase that as the summer hits. The building is about 1,400 to 1,500 square feet and can seat up to 60 people,” said Mr. Scheffield. “I hope to expand a bit, make the bar bigger, have an inside/outside bar and add a patio in the back of the restaurant to seat more.”