440-384-3035

HOURS:
Tue-Thurs 4-10pm
Fri-Sat 4-11pm
Sun 5-9pm

Happy Hour:
Tue-Fri 4-6pm

Press

Cleveland Magazine

Crumb & Spigot in Cleveland Magazine

25 Best Restaurants
East: Crumb & Spigot

A HIP NIGHT OUT FOR DINNER doesn’t have to mean Tremont or Ohio City when Bainbridge’s Crumb and Spigot is in the mix. Sitting in chef Karen Gorman’s mellow-lit, cozy 50-seat tavern, we feel like we’re part of some in-the-know foodie crowd. “We wanted a cool place where we would hang out,” she says. “There was nothing like that in that area. It’s hard to find in a lot of suburbs.” But Gorman’s menu of simple, flavorful tavern must-haves is the real payoff for the journey eastward. From 12 wood-fired pizzas such as the salty, sweet and savory Speck ($16) with smoked prosciutto, pineapple and pickled jalapeno to the tender bar steak ($21) with a tangy whiskey mustard and mushroom pan sauce, each bite is memorable. “I wanted to keep it simple,” Gorman says. “Good food doesn’t have to be complicated.” But even the menu’s foray into unfamiliar territory — such as the brat burger ($13) — are unforgettable. Using a house-made mix of beef and smoked pork bratwurst, the meaty burger gets a dose of funkiness from the manchego cheese and bitterness from arugula. “It’s full of flavors you’ve never had,” Gorman says. “I don’t think we could ever take it off the menu.” DON’T MISS: The beer board ($13) is the snack bag of our grown-up dreams with a soft pretzel, house-made jerky, Bavarian cheese dip, pickled egg and bar nuts. MIX UP: Get your blood boiling with the Buttermaker ($12), a smooth-drinking, boozy combination of Maker’s Mark and your choice of on-tap India pale ale. 16783 Chillicothe Road, Bainbridge, 440-384-3035, crumbandspigot.com Less

Cleveland Magazine

Crumb & Spigot in Cleveland Magazine

The Must-Eat List:
Crumb & Spigot

WE’LL REACH FOR A BOTTLE of craft beer over a can of Budweiser any day. But Crumb and Spigot chef and co-owner Karen Gorman convinces us to put aside our beer snobbery and enjoy the succulent-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside pleasure of the beer can chicken ($19), cooked — you guessed it — with a bird jammed onto a half-full can of the Great American beer. “It adds a little bit of moisture to the cooking process on the inside,” she says. To make the straightforward dish, Ohio chicken is brined overnight and cooked on a Budweiser can in a convection oven until 80 percent done. Then it’s finished in a wood-fired oven and served with roasted carrots and fingerling potatoes drizzled with a chimichurri made from carrot tops. “It’s fun and it’s good and it’s simple,” Gorman says. “Good food does not have to be complicated.” Although Gorman usually takes the dish off the menu for the winter, regulars asked to keep it. She obliged but still only makes 12 each night, so it’s more of an insider reward for dining early. “There’s rarely a night we don’t sell out,” she says. 16783 Chillicothe Road, Bainbridge, 440-384-3035, crumbandspigot.com Less

Cleveland Magazine

Crumb & Spigot in Cleveland Magazine

Best Restaurants
3 Crumb & Spigot

We have a soft spot for homespun comfort food, even as trends and warmer weather push us toward more eclectic and less guilty fare. Thankfully, Karen Gorman and her Bainbridge-area microtavern Crumb and Spigot manages to navigate both worlds.Her cooking style aims to strike what she calls “comfort food notes,” building complexity with simple ingredients through intentional layering. In her version of chicken and biscuits, for example, she thickens house-made chicken stock slightly with onion, flour and cream, waiting until the end to fold in roasted chicken, fresh celery, carrots and peas. Thus, the sauce has plenty of time to develop flavor while the vegetables remain al dente and bright.“It’s giving the customer something that is lighter and more modern and isn’t going to make you want to go home and go to bed,” she says.Seating just 50 between the dining room and bar, the restaurant’s strip mall facade disguises its warm, intimate interior.Pull up a bar stool to sip one of co-owner Ryan King’s creative cocktails before dinner. With a cocktail list nearly as long as the food menu, King emphasizes scratch cooking in his drinks as much as Gorman’s cuisine does. For instance, the orange radler ($12), one of eight beer cocktails on the list, is made with an India pale ale, Aperol and house-made orange soda.Pretty much everything — from Gorman’s dozen or so pizza options (try the $13 Vegan with harissa, eggplant and herb salad) to the chicken cassoulet ($19) to the meatball appetizer ($10) — is finished in the brick oven for a hint of smoke.“The kitchen is so tiny,” says Gorman. “I wanted to have everything come out of a wood-fired oven.” 16783 Chillicothe Road, Bainbridge, 440-384-3035, crumbandspigot.comTry This: If you plan to cozy up for a few drinks (and we couldn’t blame you for that), order the beer board ($13). It’s like bar snacks on steroids, complete with a warm, chewy pretzel and cheese dip, house-made spicy beef jerky, seasoned bar nuts and even a pickled egg. Less

Cleveland Magazine

Crumb & Spigot in Cleveland Magazine

Knots Landing: Tie up your next meal by eating one of these soft pretzels
Crumb & Spigot

How it’s made: Chef and owner Karen Gorman sticks with a Bavarian-style dough, combining butter, flour, yeast, brown sugar and water for the C&S Housemade Soft Pretzel ($7). The dough sits in the cooler for a day before being rolled out, topped with salt and baked. “We wanted good, tavern-style bar snacks,” says Gorman. The dips: It comes with a tangy triple mustard — a combo of yellow, Dijon and whole-grain mustards with a touch of honey. A second sauce, such as a blue cheese bacon dip, changes regularly. 16783 Chillicothe Road, Bainbridge, 440-384-3035, crumbandspigot.com Less

THE PLAIN DEALER

Crumb & Spigot in Cleveland Plain Dealer

Crumb & Spigot: a tavern to crow about in Bainbridge

It has a fine old English pub-sounding name, Crumb & Spigot, with equally fine old English-style signage , a beady-eyed crow with a bit of bread in its beak, perched on the afore-mentioned tap. But abandon hope, all ye looking for a Tudoresque timbered and plastered old tavern to match. There’s no such thing on this chain store-strewn suburban highway in Bainbridge., However, the restaurant’s generic storefront in the middle of a strip mall belies the belly-up-to-the-bar bonhomie of a British free house that’s Crumb & Spigot’s stock in trade. Inside, the charmingly eccentric room sports tartan cloth-upholstered banquettes, chartreuse walls, and mismatched library lamps casting a cheerful glow onto a long communal table.The bustling wide-open kitchen features a cavernous wood-burning stove and a capacious bar that bristles with alcoholic opportunity, including a clutch of creative house cocktails that are pricey but appealing. Try the Cham-Wow! ($12), a cute and clever concoction of Chambord, vodka, raspberry and plum bitters. And then there’s the intriguing list of boilermakers, beer cocktails, and the nicely curated beer and wine collection in bottles and on tap...but enough chit chat about style and spirits. Let’s talk sustenance. This is chef/owner Karen Gorman’s first place of her own, with partner Ryan King, and she’s taken full advantage of the situation with a wildly idiosyncratic menu that highlights the former caterer’s penchant for personalized comfort food in every category. Exhibit A: the Beer Board ($13), a snackalicious assortment of fun house-made things- chewy meaty jerky, a big soft Bavarian-style pretzel to dunk into a rich bacon-cheese dip, mildly spiced bar nuts and a bright purple pickled egg, there more for color than taste. Moving down the menu, we find the very good Brat Burger ($13). There’s also a beef burger, but this one’s deliciously different. Made with bratwurst mixed with bacon on a homemade bun, it’s layered with garlic aioli, manchego cheese, romesco (a Spanish nut and red pepper-based sauce) and spicy arugula for a flavor-riot experience. Gorman also has a unique spin on strombolis. Instead of filling them with Italianate ingredients, her savory turnovers made with pizza dough are fabulously stuffed with the makings of a Reuben sandwich, Roumanian pastrami, fresh sauerkraut, Jarlsburg and whole grain mustard, turning it into a deli-fied “Pastromboli” ($13). Even the Cassoulet ($19), one of the handful of big plate entrees on the menu, is given the Gorman treatment. A rich confit chicken leg, smoky pork belly and juicy crisp-skinned garlic sausage are bedded on tender but not stewed white beans. No classic, but it’s hard to argue with its hearty goodness. The big wood-fired oven turns out pizzas,in red and white versions, by the score. Not as crisp or thin as Neapolitan pies, Crumb’s “New York-style” crusts do have a decent crunch and hold up well under some fairly complex toppings.We tried a trio of them, and can report enjoying the Chicken Chorizo ($15), with its layers of flavors and textures, adobo tomato sauce, cheddar and gouda cheeses, pickled jalapeno, smoked green onion, and poblano peppers along with the chunks of spicy sausage, and the surprisingly pleasing Vegan pizza ($13). It’s not an easy task to pull off. But the meaty cauliflower slices, flavorfully punched up with roasted garlic, sweet and sour ginger-pickled onions and a citrusy gremolata topping made it a fun, satisfying dish. Not so the Nduja ($16). It may have been a misfire from the kitchen, but all the interesting ingredients, the soft salami, bacon onion jam and tomato-radish relish, were buried underneath an almost astringent layer of chopped raw onions. Dessert is as diverse as the rest of the menu. There’s a fine Butterscotch Pudding ($7), almost as dense and rich as a crème brulee, and a delightful and delicious Spumoni ($7). It was just as much fun, but a little less charming, when the layered cherry, pistachio, and dark chocolate ice cream, touted by our waiter as homemade, turned out to be Mitchell’s, according to the chef. Gorman says the joint’s been jumping since it opened last June, and my three visits back her up. Even in midweek’s coldest weather over the last month, Crumb & Spigot had a comfortable crowd. It may be beginner’s luck or that the local demographic was jonesing for a place just like this. Or perhaps it’s the charming comfort food and big buffet of bar offerings, along with the not-always-perfect but always pleasant service, Whatever it is, and it’s probably all the above, Gorman and King have something to crow about. Cheers! Less

CLEVELAND MAGAZINE

Crumb & Spigot in Cleveland Magazine

DINNER PARTY
With a comfy atmosphere and a wood-fire oven, Crumb & Spigot makes guests feel right at home.

Being in the kitchen around food and cooking are some of Karen Gorman’s fondest childhood memories. Growing up in Akron, she would help her grandmother make traditional Hungarian dishes such as goulash, stuffed cabbage and cakes. On alternate Sundays, Gorman visited her mother’s side of the family, where her Sicilian grandfather — a former Navy cook — would prepare dinner. “That whole thing was really all about having meals with family and gathering around the table,” says Gorman, who is now the chef and owner of Crumb & Spigot in Bainbridge. “It sounds cliche, but that’s where I got my love of cooking and eating.” So it was no surprise that Gorman pursued a career in the kitchen. After college she worked at That Place on Bellflower (currently Zack Bruell’s L’Albatros Brasserie and Bar) and the now-defunct Cafe Brio on Mayfield Road, which was owned by Lopez on Lee owner Craig Sumers and Red, the Steakhouse partner Brad Friedlander. After a two-year stint in Chicago, she returned to Cleveland. Sumers and Friedlander asked her and her best friend, Heidi Robb, to run the restaurateurs’ catering business, which the duo later morphed into their own luxury catering operation in 1998. “It was super fussy,” she says of the menus at their company, which the pair operated for 15 years. Initially, they orchestrated meticulous, multicourse parties with expensive and highly composed dishes: pickled oysters with cucumber capellini and beluga caviar, butter-poached lobster with foie gras. But her clients’ tastes eventually changed. “We found ourselves making simpler and simpler menus, because that’s what people wanted,” she says. “And it was kind of what we wanted to cook.” When they eventually decided to move on, Gorman helped open Lemon Falls, a gourmet cafe in Chagrin Falls. She then set out to find the perfect spot of her own. “I thought, If I open a place, I just want it to be super-simple food where people can come more than once a week and not get tired of the flavor,” she says. “It sounds so trite, but [I wanted it to] almost be like they were in my house.” For culinary inspiration Gorman went way back to the basics, cooking in her own backyard for a year leading up to Crumb & Spigot’s June opening. “I just kind of started cooking out there over my fire pit on a stick,” she recalls, “figuring out what I liked.” Her outdoor experimentation led to a key development inside the restaurant: a wood-burning oven, which is used to cook everything from appetizers and pizzas to roasted meats and seafood. Gorman’s cooking style is deceptively simple, her restaurant intimate and cozy. And thanks to nearly two decades in the catering business, she always appears calm at the helm of the open kitchen — even when the place is packed and temperatures soar in front of the hearth oven. While the inventive cocktail menu developed by chef and partner Ryan King is extensive, the food options at Crumb & Spigot are fairly modest. Fewer than 10 appetizers, a handful each of salads, sandwiches and entrees, a weekly special or two, plus a dozen different pizzas — not including the make-it-your-own ingredients — offer enough choices without being overwhelming. In turn, this allows the restaurant’s small kitchen and crew to focus on getting these few dishes right. The dry-aged meatballs ($10), for instance, were fluffy without crumbling and tasted subtly smoky, whether from the meat or from the wood-burning fire. They are big enough to edge off hunger but not quite filling — perfect for an appetizer. And a crunchy greens salad ($8) with smoked blue cheese was priced low enough to make it a great choice for a side dish or light appetizer. A surprising standout is the beer can chicken ($19), something seen more often at cookouts than on tavern menus. It works here for that very reason, says Gorman. “It has to be simple. It has to come in fresh, not be fussed with too much and go straight out to the table,” she says. “So there’s not a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation.” Half a roasted chicken, including breast, thigh and leg, is topped with a bright, acidic chimichurri made with garlic, herbs and carrot tops and accompanied by lightly roasted carrots and fingerling potatoes. It’s straightforward but perfectly done. The chicken is moist and flavorful, and each ingredient is allowed to stand more or less unadorned. Of course, the 12-inch pizzas are the stars of the wood-burning oven. Crumb & Spigot’s crispy-on-the-bottom, blistered-on-the-top dough is the perfect vehicle for both classic and creative toppings. A sausage pizza ($14) is savory and smoky with finely ground pork sausage, mozzarella and smoked provolone, while a take on mushroom pizza ($14) goes beyond standard fare with aged cheddar and taleggio cheeses. The dessert menu here is likewise tightly curated. Order the butterscotch pudding ($7), so custardy it was almost like a loose creme brulee, served with two stellar shortbread cookies. The simpler-is-better philosophy is manifested in Crumb & Spigot’s decor as well. Plaid upholstery and dark walls reflect Gorman’s pared-down style. Even the name evokes humble coziness, which she says was inspired by the neighborhood taverns of England that she loves. “I really wanted to open something, frankly, that was like 20 seats with a daily menu change or a weekly menu change with a really fabulous bar,” says Gorman. “It kind of mushroomed into 50 seats.” It might be strange to hear the cozy restaurant described as too large, but for Gorman, it makes sense. “I like to see the customers’ reactions,” she says. “That’s why I keep it small.” When You Go TRY THIS: The house-made soft pretzel ($7), which is presented on a rustic wooden board with ramekins of mustard and Bavarian-style cheese, is the perfect appetizer for cozying up to the bar. GOOD TO KNOW: The tavern’s limited table seating means visitors are first come, first served. To guarantee a spot, it’s best to call ahead or avoid their peak hours, which occur on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. Even if you miss out on a table, there’s always the bar. Feed the Flames Crumb & Spigot chef and owner Karen Gorman shares her years of experience with gourmet cooking over an open flame. When was the last time you cooked a meal over an open fire? And we’re not talking hot dogs on a stick or toasted marshmallows here. Diners are more connected than ever with food thanks to new restaurants, farmers markets and celebrity chefs. Yet traditions that sustained our ancestors for millennia have fallen by the wayside in favor of modern conveniences such as microwaves and convection ovens. It’s this spirit that Karen Gorman, chef and owner of Crumb & Spigot, sought to recapture with her wood-fired oven concept. She spent a year cooking over her backyard fire pit, trying out recipes that go beyond the typical churn-and-burn grill food and taking inspiration from Francis Mallman’s Seven Fires cookbook. Here are some of her tried techniques for going gourmet outdoors. SAFETY FIRST: “Don’t build under tree limbs or awnings,” says Gorman. Choose a spot at least 20 feet from structures, take extra caution around kids and “don’t spray anything flammable — even olive oil — into fire.” That means no spray cans. Also keep a pile of dirt and a source of water ready to extinguish flames. WHICH WOOD: “The same [fire-building] principles apply with charcoal,” Gorman advises, but if you want to use wood, start with the right kind. Choose hardwood that has seasoned, or dried, at least six months. Cherry, apple, hickory or oak are all good choices; avoid cedar or pine. It’s “too resinous” and “gives off lots of bitter smoke.” LAYER FOR HEAT: Building a good cooking fire isn’t as simple as stack, douse and light. “The key is to build a big enough fire to use for the entire cooking process,” Gorman says. Start with crumpled paper, and then build a teepee from small twigs or kindling. Add larger pieces as you build, maintaining the conical structure until you get to large logs. “In the restaurant, we build more of a crosshatch kindling base,” she says, but the idea is the same: Keep the air flowing under, around and on top of logs for a hot fire. HEAT AND EAT: The best way to cook over fire is through indirect heat, much like you would use on a grill. As Gorman says, “[You] can’t really start cooking over a wood fire until it has burned to coals.” Once you’ve got that glowy goodness, use a grate if you have one, or “simply use skewers and get everyone involved.” She likes to cook fish over dried fennel stalks, which both help shield the delicate flesh from excess heat and provide aromatics. AFTERBURN: “Use late, post-entrée fire to warm dessert or make s’mores,” says Gorman. It’s time to start thinking about your next meal once the coals have died down to mostly ash and embers. “Ember roasting [is] not about ‘now’ but planning for later use,” she explains. Push onions, skin and all, into the coals and roast until tender. Garlic and eggplant should be tossed in oil and wrapped in foil before roasting, while thick-skinned gourds and peppers provide their own protections. Just peel away the char and eat. Less

440-384-3035

HOURS:
Tue-Thurs 4-10pm
Fri-Sat 4-11pm
Sun 5-9pm

Happy Hour:
Tue-Fri 4-6pm

16783 Chillicothe Rd., Bainbridge, OH 44023
info@crumbandspigot.com