[UPDATE: in March 2016 Cray appeared on Restaurant Impossible and is now The Factory on 4th, which a new look and new menu.]
Cray Eatery & Drinkery (Facebook / T: @craycolumbus / IG: @crayeateryanddrinkery)
697 N. Fourth St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43215
Open Mon-Wed, 11a-12a; Thurs-Sat, 11a-2a; Sun, 11a-12a (brunch served 11a-3p Sat & Sun)
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
About a year ago, Cray Eatery & Drinkery took its place in the old the Wonder Bread building in Italian Village. The building was renovated from a tasty-smelling bread factory into lofts and apartments, and Cray snagged a corner space, with a big parking lot and windows facing downtown. Back in September I reviewed Cray’s brunch for the Dispatch (read it here on Crave‘s website!), and now I’m here to share some more thoughts and photos.
I think Cray succeeds with brunch because it a.) knows itself, and b.) doesn’t take itself too seriously. The space is open and colorful, and the menu is creative and fun: infused liquors, sliders, fried mac & cheese, you get the picture.
The space is big and open (hint: good for groups), with a U-shaped bar in the center and booths and cafe tables scattered around the edges.
There’s plenty of natural light, and the south-facing windows look over downtown.
If you’re at a place like Cray, you’re looking for a fun drink. The brunch drink menu has the usual suspects like mimosas and a Bloody Mary, plus creative selections like a breakfast Manhattan (bacon infused bourbon?!) and an iced caramel coffee.
The Bloody Mary has a nice little kick – you can choose one of their house-made liquors as the base – and it comes with candied bacon. The Blood Orange Screwdriver is nice, too, with a good sweet/sour balance.
The mimosa is on point, and the ice caramel coffee is fun, although a little heavy and sweet.
If you’re up for exploring their house-infused liquors, you can sample six for $15. If you can think of it, they’ve probably infused it: candy-infused vodkas, vanilla-infused bourbon, all sorts of seasonal selections, there’s plenty to choose from.
The brunch menu is pretty simple, and notice that the most expensive item is $6.
I’ll always dive into an eggs benedict, and Cray’s left me mostly satisfied. I was surprised the bacon was served on the side – when you say there’s bacon on a benedict, I expect it’d be ON the benedict – although it was nice and crispy. Eggs were poached well, hollandaise was a little grainy.
The chocolate chip mini pancakes were an easy win, especially with the cinnamon-infused syrup.
A mini omelet. Not entirely mixed, but it’s hard to beat eggs, bacon, cheese, and peppers.
Cray’s regular menu focuses mainly on sliders. We all know what they are by now, so you should know what size to expect. Cray’s are small but pretty tasty, like the maple sausage slider with provolone.
There are plenty of fun sides, too, like the deep fried mac and cheese balls.
The regular menu is available, too, like 15 more sliders and sides like fries.
So even if you’ve got folks in your party who are more focused on lunch than brunch, they’ll be satisfied, too. (Don’t forget the solid beer and cocktail selection.)
And if anyone in your group is feeling really healthy, they can tuck in to a salad… with bacon and ranch.
Lots of liquor, stacks of sliders, sides like sweet potato tater tots and fried pickles? Like I said, Cray does best when it’s not taking itself too seriously, and if this seems like your kind of brunch, get there pronto.