First Look: Cray Eatery & Drinkery
What do infused liquors and gourmet sliders have in common? Outside of the fact that they are both artisan products, they’re also the calling card of Cray Eatery & Drinkery, which opened yesterday at 697 North Fourth Street.
Cray has something for everyone. A fully-stocked bar is the anchor of the establishment; more specifically, a drink list featuring the previously mentioned infused liquors. It’s Cray’s owner, Crystal Park’s, own special recipes, guaranteed to bring a unique light to libation-drinking in the city.
There’re several different vodkas, including Lemonhead, Werther’s Original, and a Garlic-infused one, perfect for a newfangled Dirty Martini or Bloody Mary. There’s also a Hibiscus Gin for summery cocktails, and Slim Jim Bourbon, for a sweet-salty, Midwestern approach to a Manhattan.
The menu is thus designed to enhance the drinking experience, not the other way around. The small plate menu is there to offer guests a sporadic and satisfying nosh as they enjoy the specialty drinks and the company of friends.
“When I was thinking of the menu, I wanted something that wouldn’t be heavy, and would allow everyone to have a taste they wanted,” shares Park. “Sliders are the perfect bite, and easy to fit into anyone’s eating habits. They’re small, fairly healthy, and, to me, the ideal bar food.”
The sliders cost anywhere from $3-$4.50 per, and come in a variety of meats with a distinct epicurean selection of toppings. Like with the Duck Slider, that’s topped with sweet and spicy pineapple salsa, or the Chicken & Waffle, with sage-infused maple syrup.
The Jaegermeister BBQ Beef Sliders, crowned with caramelized onions, uses strangely wonderful, house-made, sweet Jaeger BBQ sauce and Jaeger butter to finish, while the Sausage & Ginger Biscuit Slider, available during brunch, is an inspired take on a classic.
Cray Eatery & Drinkery also serves salads and desserts, and offers sides, like Olive Tapenade Hummus and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Quinoa, in the same price point. Cray Eatery & Drinkery, which can seat around 85 guests, caters to vegetarians and the gluten-intolerant.
Cray Eatery & Drinkery is open Monday-Friday, noon till close (2:30am), and Saturday-Sunday, 11am – close. While there, be sure to leave your mark on the bathroom walls (it’s chalk-based and encouraged) or get your mug shot snapped for posterity.
For more on what you can find at the new old Wonder Bread Building, visit www.crayeateryanddrinkery.com.
All photos by Ayana Wilson.