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Jul 26, 2022

Food-court Fare with a side of Family-Friendly Fun

Cheryl Ricer

Photography By

Crave Station Food Hall
Train-themed Crave Station offers something for everyone

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Crave Station, located on the corner of Pope Avenue and Lagoon Rd., is a new food-court style restaurant whose global fare is sure to satisfy. Chris Morford (who was featured as a “Theorist” on two seasons of the popular TV show The Curse of Oak Island on the History Channel) and his wife Stella, along with brother- and sister-in-law David and Chao Klapper, have put together a unique dining experience—both in its menu and décor—with the idea to cater to groups whose members may be indecisive or can’t agree on just one option and families looking for something kid-friendly.

Initially the partners thought to open a pizzeria and were ready to open at Tanger Outlet when they learned the Pope Avenue location was available. “We had all but signed the lease for ‘Pizza Mia,’” said Morford, whose daughter is named Mia, “but then we found the Pope Avenue space, a great location but just too large for a little pizzeria. Because half of our family is from China, we decided to add some Asian food to the menu. Then the menu kept expanding.”

It was then that they decided on a food court, offering a variety of food. Because the location was formerly a gas station and convenience store, when they were bouncing around ideas for a name of their restaurant, “Station” kept coming up. The train-themed aesthetic complements the concept of every food type having its own station.

“Our hand-built counters look like vintage train cars,” Morford said. “A metal artist made the train wheels, and my dad built the train roofs. Every train also has a real whistle that kids can pull for an authentic train sound. We have toy trains for the children to play with and a Wheel of Fortune game. Everything about this place is kid- and family-friendly.”

The partners kept the original Pizza Mia sign that hangs over the pizzeria station where every imaginable topping is available to make your own pizza. Specialty pizzas include margherita, supreme, chicken caprese, teriyaki tofu, or teriyaki chicken.

“Being from Chicago, I am a big pizza lover,” Morford said. “We came up with our own pizza dough and sauce recipes. Currently, we’re offering traditional New York style, but soon deep-dish Chicago style pizza will be available. Chicago style is a bit more difficult and takes a little longer, but in my opinion, it’s the best and worth the wait.”

The Asian station offers chicken, steak, or shrimp teriyaki bowls from recipes that Stella and Chao—who do much of the cooking—brought from their native China. Again, the sauces are all homemade, and nothing is from a bottle or a can. A variety of sushi rolls, as well as hot miso soup, top off the offerings.

A burger station menu includes fresh made-to-order, never frozen American fare: burgers, hot dogs, shrimp po-boys, or chicken sandwiches. The all-beef burgers are smash burger style, which keeps the burger juicier and tastier. Toppings include bacon, fresh veggies, and a variety of cheeses. Jumbo grilled hot dogs are prepared daily, 100 percent beef, and can be topped with chili and cheese. Chicken sandwiches are fried or grilled. All the sandwiches except the hoagie-style po-boy are served on fresh potato buns.

A multi-flavor ice cream station satisfies your sweet tooth. Milkshakes made with real ice cream—no powders or mixes—are also available, as well as fun bubble (boba) teas, fruit infused teas, and coffee drinks in multi flavors, all made to order. Kids love the peach, strawberry, or lemonade flavored yogurt juice drinks. And adults can choose from sodas, beer, wine, and a full bar.

Morford admitted that with so much to offer, people wonder if they can deliver consistent quality on such a varied menu. “One family we recently had the pleasure of serving commented ‘Wow! You really can do it all!’ We love making people happy, and know we have everything to satisfy your cravings.”

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