by Liza Roberts
photograph by Jessica Crawford
When Scott crawford, the four-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef-Southeast left Standard Foods (the restaurant he’d opened to great acclaim just months earlier), Raleigh food lovers wrung their hands. Would one of our top culinary stars leave for a bigger city like Atlanta or Charlotte? Crawford wasn’t tempted: “Raleigh is home.” Instead, he decided to start here anew, with a hospitality group all his own and a new neighborhood restaurant to kick it off. Crawford & Son, currently under construction in the space on Person Street that once housed PieBird, is slated to open this fall, serving a menu of fresh, seasonal “modern Southern cuisine” at affordable prices. Also in the pipeline: a Nash Square tavern, a French brasserie, maybe more.
Crawford & Son is expected to open this fall at 618 N. Person St. To hear Walter’s podcast interview with Crawford, visit waltermagazine.com/category/podcast
You made a big splash with Standard Foods, a joint project with developer John Holmes. Now you’re on to a new solo venture – just a block away – with Crawford & Son, set to open in the fall. Why the move?
It is time for me to be principle owner of the projects I take on. This allows me to collaborate with others while maintaining a level of control over my brand. I have a lot I want to offer this community that has supported me and my family in a way we have not experienced any other place we’ve lived.
How will Crawford & Son be different?
It will be a restaurant that reflects me, my family story, and serves the neighborhood. I’m also excited to collaborate in fun ways with my great neighbors, Pelagic Beer & Wine and William & Co.
If it were a song, what would it be?
Be Yourself by Audioslave
If it were a local artist, who would it be?
Who is your ideal diner?
Diners who appreciate warm hospitality and love bright, exciting flavors.
What are you most excited to cook at Crawford & Son?
I love cooking clean, seasonal dishes, but I’m most excited to be cooking with this incredible team we’ve assembled: Bret, Krystle, and Anthony. Bret Edlund and I worked together years ago, and he and Krystle Swenson moved from Blackbird in Chicago to work with me. Anthony Guerra and I have worked together for years, and I’ve admired his understanding of hospitality. There are no limits to what you can do when you have such a strong team.
Which dishes will be inspired by local produce or products?
The entire menu.
1. Take care of my team
2. Take care of my guests
4. Have fun
5. Do epic sh*t
1. Give up
2. Be complacent
3. Be unkind
The name is intriguing. It sounds like it will be a family affair. Your son Jiles, 8, loves to cook. Will he be helping out?
Thank you, it’s absolutely a family affair, and it feels so good to be referencing my family in my first restaurant. Family is the most important thing to me; it’s from my grandparents that I learned my work ethic, which has been central to my career. So yes, all of my family will play a role. Jiles is dying to run the dish pit…
What about your wife Jessica, and your daughter Jolie, 5?
Jolie will learn work ethic and creative work culture there. Jessica will help create warmth within the space because that’s just what she does.
Why Person Street?
Two main reasons: I love the neighborhood, and there happened to be a beautiful space available that doesn’t require a lengthy or expensive build-out.
What can you tell us about your plans for a second restaurant on Nash Square?
The only thing I can share at this time is that it will be on Nash Square and it will be a modern tavern concept.
Why Nash Square?
I have always loved Nash Square and I want to be part of the redevelopment of that area.
What about Raleigh excites you most?
What’s your biggest challenge?
Finding enough time to do all the things I want to do.
Best lesson learned?
Stay true to who you are and trust your instincts.
“Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box” – Unknown
Favorite sandwich in town:
Bret Edlund’s beef tongue sandwich
Grilled romaine at Death & Taxes
Entire case at Lucettegrace