Craving Crawford

In Eat, July/August 2021 by Melissa Howsam1 Comment

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Scott Crawford gives us the exclusive in front of his Crawford Cookshop opening.

With Crawford Cookshop opening in August and Crawford Steakhouse at Fenton on deck (not to mention famed Crawford & Son and Jolie in DTR), it’s a good time to be Scott Crawford. Add to that the revolutionary food- and tech-forward new app Crave that promises to change the foodscape, offering craveable award-winning cuisine from out-of-state chefs. We got the exclusive with the legendary chef to chat Cookshop, Crave and current trends in approachable and accessible “fine” food. @crawfordcookshop

Why Clayton? Opening a new restaurant is a very organic process for us, and so much of it has to do with finding the right space. Seeing this beautiful old building on Main Street in the center of Clayton’s downtown really helped to bring our vision for Crawford Cookshop to life. Clayton is such a beautiful, friendly community and really well situated to grow and thrive. 

You’ve described this spot as very nostalgic for you. How so? I grew up in a small town and feel really nostalgic about this kind of setting and the promise it holds for the future.

What was the concept born out of? When we were forced to close Crawford & Son [during the pandemic], we had to develop a new menu that was designed for delivery as a way to keep our business alive and staff employed. Through that process, we found so many dishes that we love cooking and eating, but that are simpler and more casual than what we’ll ever offer at Crawford & Son. 

How does the price point and approachability play into your concept and decision to go this route? We’re expanding the Crawford Hospitality brand with a concept that’s approachable and accessible to a wide audience, and, so far, it,s proven to be something that we think can be successful anywhere. At Cookshop, unlike Crawford & Son and Jolie (or our plans for Crawford Steakhouse), we’ll offer to-go (plus dining indoors and out), and we’ve already begun serving it via Crave in Boise, Idaho—and have bigger plans for it too. 

Crave—which is huge news—is yet another super-exciting innovation born out of the last year. How so? After we launched Crawford Curbside, I was invited to be part of The Crave Collective’s innovative new delivery app based in Boise. I trained a chef team there and worked on a lot of new dishes for them, and spent the summer serving that audience as well. All of a sudden, Crawford Cookshop was a brand that I could really see taking hold here in our community—and beyond. We’re certainly excited that Crave is planning a national expansion, with more opening in markets around the country this year, and in the coming years. (More on Crave below).

Crawford Cookshop is a more casual food concept. What’s the inspiration behind that? Crawford Cookshop reminds me of the restaurants I grew up going to—right in the center of town, where families would eat together several days of the week, and it’s all about American favorites. We’ll be putting a chef’s treatment to all of it, which is what makes it special—and what makes it ours. During the pandemic, we realized how much people love it! In the end, it was a great testing ground for us, something unintentional that proved to be a real reward for working so hard to serve and employ during the pandemic. 

Ohh, give us a glimpse of the menu? Oh, this is food we really love eating! A lot will come from our wood-fired grill: steak burgers, grilled vegetables, chicken and duck wings, and we’ll have a great beverage menu with fun whiskey cocktails to match everything coming from the smoker. We’re also planning some fun weekly specials like our short rib meatloaf, smoked prime rib and fried chicken, and will serve lots of big hearty salads full of local produce. And we’ll have a fun by-the-glass wine menu, local beers, and always be introducing seasonal dishes.

Is this a vision you could see yourself recreating elsewhere in town, across the state—or beyond? Yes, we think this could work anywhere, and have already been successful in Boise, thanks to our partnership with Crave. But we’ll want to see that our restaurant in Clayton is successful. Then it will be an organic process as we discover communities and buildings that are a strong fit. 

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