MATTOON -- The new Crave Coffee & Cafe has opened in a renovated building with a drive-up window at 601 DeWitt Ave., at the southwest corner of the intersection with Sixth Street.
Owners Mark and Gretchen Elliott, who also own Mark's My Store in Mattoon, opened Crave on June 9 in the former Bob's East Side Package building. Heidi Tinsman is the manager of Crave.
Gretchen Elliott said she has long had a passion for specialty coffee and she enjoyed operating a Crave coffee shop several years ago in Danville, where she and her husband were in the grocery business.
The coffee enthusiast, who is a certified barista with the National Coffee Association, has brought her passion to the new shop, where she offers a Crave specialty blend.
"It is unique to this shop. I wanted my own blend," Gretchen Elliott said. She added that the Crave blend is bold, but smooth.
Mark Elliott said he and his wife have been wanting to open a coffee shop in Mattoon and were drawn to the 601 DeWitt location because the building already had a drive-up window.
In addition, Mark Elliott said this building is located in a part of Mattoon that is underserved by restaurants. He noted that DeWitt has lost the Big Apple and the Gill's restaurants in recent years.
Mark Elliott said there are a lot of potential customers among motorists who are using DeWitt to avoid the traffic signals on Charleston Avenue and those who are commuting to Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center and other workplaces.
"There is so much traffic up and down DeWitt Avenue," Mark Elliott said.
Mark Elliott said they stripped the interior of the former Bob's East Side Package building "down to the studs" and then rebuilt this space, including installing new electrical and water lines.
The Elliotts have created a sales counter and small dining room in the renovated interior of the building, and have placed a deck with outdoor seating and umbrellas on the renovated exterior. In addition, the building now has a small meeting room that customers can reserve, and a gift shop area.
Crave offers a variety of hot and cold coffees and other beverages, including hot chocolate, chai and other teas. The cafe also serves up a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, pastries, and more.
Gretchen Elliott said the frozen and iced coffee drinks have been popular during the recent hot weather, and the spicy Santa Fe turkey has been a top seller among the sandwiches. Mark Elliott said his favorite pastry on the menu is the Mississippi mud cake.
Crave is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. More information is available by calling Crave at 217-295-1027, or by going online to www.cravethebean.com or the Crave Coffee & Cafe page on Facebook.