Five-time James Beard Award semifinalist Scott Crawford isn’t wasting his time. The chef, who opened Crawford and Son in Raleigh in 2016 and aims to open his next concept Jolie, in spring 2019 in the same city, released one more announcement: He plans to open a steakhouse called Crawford Brothers in Cary in 2020.
These three restaurants cranked out by Crawford’s two-year-old hospitality group Crawford Hospitality are named to uphold the tradition of his family’s business endeavors. His grandfather owned a saw mill, his uncle and father had a machine shop, and Crawford and his older brother Steve started their first business in Pennsylvania — they delivered and stacked wood trimmings from the saw mill for firewood.
“It’s sort of a nod to that tradition and to that early entrepreneurial spirit,” Crawford said of his unfurling restaurant triumvirate.
Crawford and Son, a creative take on an American neighborhood restaurant, is named for his 11-year-old son Jiles. Jolie, a French bistro with Crawford’s twist on the classic cuisine and an outdoor rooftop seating area, is named for his 8-year-old daughter. And Crawford Brothers, an American steakhouse opening in the 92-acre mixed-use development called The Fenton, will be Crawford’s playground for American steakhouse classics. The restaurant name honors Crawford’s brother Steve.
“He has been quite an inspiration to me over the years,” Crawford said. “... I need to give him some credit for where I’m at today.”
The range of cuisines under his hospitality group, the chef said, gives him a chance to show the breadth of what he’s learned over the years. Crawford has worked at a variety of establishments including Herons in The Umstead Hotel and Spa, at The Georgian Room at The Cloister Hotel, and at The Woodlands Resort & Inn.
As for the restaurants rolling out under his own direction, he said, ”We like to take these classic dining experiences and add our tilt.”
But it’s not just about him, or his family members. The move also gives Crawford’s team a stab at expanding their own range of culinary skills. “It’s not just about me anymore, it really is about how my team wants to grow as well,” he said.
Crawford isn’t the only big name joining the cuisine scene at The Fenton development. Chef Ford Fry of Atlanta-based Tex-Mex hotspot Superica was actually the first restaurant announced for that location.
“I feel like I’m in really good company with Ford,” Crawford said. “He’s a very talented guy.”
But Crawford has a lot of work ahead of him yet before he opens his third eatery, from finalizing Jolie after pushing through the permitting process (he won’t reveal any hints about the food selection just yet), to dreaming up the right menu for Crawford Brothers.
“It’s been crazy,” he said. “I love it, you know, but it’s just keeping up. I love the energy of it.”