Home-style cooking, craft beers, boutique wines from around the globe, a draft tower and a comfortable and inviting atmosphere are the hallmarks of Craft Food & Beverage Company.
The restaurant, which recently opened at the former former Triple Crown location in the Marquee Plaza, is owned by Leif Ristimaki and Chad Gilbert. The eatery now joins the duo’s growing collection of restaurants; Mizu Asian Bistro, the Waterfront Urban Diner, Duke’s Seafood & Rib Shack and Fidel Murphy’s Public House.
Under the guidance of Chef Dylan Benoit, the menu at Craft offers a creative collection of comfort food classics, including pulled pork poutine, fried green tomatoes, a gourmet jubmo hot dog, lamb shank, baked lasagna with spiced beef, the Craft burger made with a dry-aged beef patty, Brie cheese and house-made bacon, and pan seared salmon with a caper brown butter sauce.
“Craft is a restaurant that celebrates what we love to do for a living,” says Jason Moir, Craft’s manager. “We wanted to develop a restaurant that we could express ourselves and share our passion. We focus on rustic, home-style cooking, and we import craft beers, micro beers and boutique wines from all over the globe.”
Indeed, one of the highlights of Craft is the wide selection of craft beers that are not available elsewhere on island. Currently the restaurant offers more than 50 different types.
“We offer a growing and evolving list from some of the best breweries around the U.S, Canada, U.K. and Australia,” Moir said. “Full Sail Session Lager has won several awards for being the best lager in the world. Large pint bottles of IPA from Buzzard Bay, and an organic Pilsner from Butte Creek. We also offer seasonal brews as well, such as Winter Warmer, Pumpkin Spiced and the Cayman Islands Brewing Company’s seasonal brew Twisted Citrus.”
Along with the speciality brews, the restaurant is keen to offer food made with fresh, seasonal ingredients wherever possible. You will find almost everything is made in-house – even the ketchup.
“Chef Dylan has taken some of the favorite comfort foods and added fantastic twists, stripping away the pretenses and just cooking great food,” Moir said. “Even our cocktails are made using seasonal fruits, house-made syrups and market fresh herbs.”
Moir added that the restaurant has also chosen to do away with traditional serving items. “We don’t have a dinner plate in the building. All our meals are served on cutting boards, pie pans or in cast iron skillets.”
I recently enjoyed a visit to Craft with a group of friends and we got to enjoy a sampling of the restaurant’s menu offerings. A firm favorite with the group were the fried green tomatoes and pulled pork poutine appetizers.
For the mains we tucked into the 12-ounce bone-in New York strip steak (cooked to perfection), three-cheese twice-baked potato (mouthwateringly creamy and fluffy) and the day’s special, the Craft burger featuring a kangaroo meat patty, which my dining companion said was just like a really good beef burger, but even better.
Along with the restaurant’s inspiring menu, the decor is just as enticing.
“The newly designed interior has an industrial metropolitan feel with exposed rock walls, re-purposed wood accents and some creative recycled lighting,” Moir said.
The restaurant was designed by Kinney Chan, who was recently named Interior Design magazine’s Designer of the Year, 2013. Interestingly, Chan never visited the site, but designed the restaurant’s decor from his base in Hong Kong. All of the elements for the restaurant – from the lights, tables, fixtures and fittings – were custom measured and made overseas, before being shipped to Cayman to be assembled on-site, IKEA flat-pack style.
“[Chan] has a massive portfolio, designing hotels, airport VIP lounges, apartments, offices and restaurants all over the globe,” Moir said. “The project turned out beautiful and exactly what we envisioned even though he never visited the site.”
Moir added: “Craft has a comfortable and inviting atmosphere that hopefully makes you want to hang around for a while, chat with your friends and explore your food and beverage options.”
Craft is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Happy hour is Monday to Friday, 4-6 p.m., with 20 percent off selected beers, house wine and well drinks. Kids menu and high chairs are also available.