Chef Mike Bentz is doing the best he can with what he has.
And what he has is a small but modern restaurant space, complete with exposed ceiling and duct work, Ikea light fixtures and gray walls.
It's what he doesn't have in his latest venture – a proper ventilation system – that's forcing him to be creative.
"Given that we're not allowed to take raw meat and cook it inside the building, that's what led us to purchase our big smoker," Bentz says of Crave, 2461 Hobson Road. "And that's how we ended up with a lot of barbecue on the menu."
Among items coming off the smoker are brisket, chicken and pork – all of which are served in multiple dishes. The pork comes on several sandwiches, including a traditional pulled pork, Cuban-style and the Big Pig, which also has bacon and cheddar with dark ale mustard.
Bentz says most items in the recently opened restaurant are made in-house, including the Southwest slaw (roasted red peppers, onion and corn) and veggie-packed chili.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with dinner hours 5 to 8 p.m. Friday. There will be a grand opening from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, featuring complimentary barbecue samples and soup.
Potawatomi Inn, along with Round Barn Winery, is hosting a wine tasting event at Pokagon State Park on Oct. 26.
The dinner will feature four courses, as well as hors d'oeuvres and an intermezzo. Wild mushroom consommé sous croute is paired with Free Run Dry Gervürztraminer and seared duck breast with a cherry bigarade is paired with Free Run Cabernet Franc. For dessert, a Belgian chocolate cup with milk chocolate mousse and raspberry coulis will be served with DiVione Black Walnut Crème.
Tickets for the dinner are $85, plus tax and gratuity. For information, call 260-833-1077.
•The Vineyard Luncheon Series at Joseph Decuis in Roanoke continues Saturday with a four-course meal highlighting the cuisine and wines of Argentina. The lunch is $50, including two glasses of wine, or $35 without wine. Reservations, available from noon to 3 p.m., are required; call 260-672-1715.
•Banh Mi Barista, 5320 Coldwater Road, is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a block party from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday. There will be live music and event specials. Also, between 2 and 7 p.m., the restaurant will have buy-one,-get-one-free sandwiches.
•Ziffle's Rib Bar, 6340 E. State Blvd. in Georgetown Square, has declared the month of October "Rib-tober." Every Monday this month, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., the barbecue spot will offer a full slab rib basket (full slab, fries, garlic bread) for $19.95. It is available for dine-in or carry-out; call 493-1222.
•Chop's Wine Bar, 6421 W. Jefferson Blvd., is hosting an Artigiani/Selvatici wine dinner at 6 p.m. Nov. 4. Five courses will be served, including a "secondi" of Wagyu striploin with porcini, guanciale, cippoline, vin rosso and horseradish. For more information and reservations, call 436-9220.
•The new Cosmos location, 9807 Lima Road, will open the last week of November.
•A former bar and grill at 6247 Bluffton Road is being remodeled for a Wings Etc. location. Owners are hoping to be open in the second or third week of December.
•Bagger Dave's Burger Tavern is opening a location at 2886 E. Dupont Road. Described as a full-service, ultra-casual restaurant, the Novi, Mich., chain serves burgers with more than 30 topping options, gourmet macaroni and cheese, and sandwiches. It is scheduled to open Dec. 15.