By: Davin Underwood
Hailed by many as the best lunch in the High Country, Eat Crow Café not only serves up fresh and delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches, it also offers catering services, custom-made orders, classic English specialties, and frozen take-home items. As a small-scale bakery, Eat Crow mixes up all sorts of sumptuous pies, cakes, tarts, and other confectionaries, as well as, savory pies, special order breads, and the daily sandwich bread.
The restaurant sits alongside Hwy 105 on the end of a row of shops in the Grandfather Community of Foscoe, and can be easily missed if not keeping a watchful eye. Eat Crow opened its doors five years ago when Chef Dominic Geraghty and his wife Meryle saw the opportunity for a sandwich and pie shop. Ignoring their friends’ disapproval of the location in a “strip mall” when the space became available, they flew in and started their eatery.
With a culinary career spanning over forty years, Dom, as his friends and the community know him, was born in Yorkshire in northern England and has worked in kitchens from London to Alaska. He was working at The El Dorado Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he and Meryle met. When they left and were on their own, they opened Four and Twenty Blackbirds, a foreshadowing to Eat Crow and the inspiration for its name. It was smaller and “there was no parking, but the food was good and the location was great,” said Dom when talking about the restaurant. He is often asked where the name “Eat Crow” came from and there are quite a few fanciful guesses. “We wanted to stick with the blackbird theme from Four and Twenty, the logo was the same” he told me. With it also having fresh bread, Dom and Meryle agree that the daily sandwich bread is what separates Eat Crow from other sandwich shops.
Meryle is an experienced restaurateur, Eat Crow being the third restaurant she has opened and operated. She has been a food stylist and antique dealer, and she has a sharp eye for design and detail that shows in her boutique dining room. Adorned with old photographs, crow figurines and pie birds, banjos, a large wooden watermelon slice, and, of course, the Union Jack, the Eat Crow dining room is eclectic and welcoming.
Complimenting Meryle’s excellent customer service is the front-of-house manager, Bethany Jewell, who has been with Meryle since Eat Crow’s opening. “I think customers can feel that we are family as soon as they walk in. Often by the end of that first visit they’re a part of our family,” she said. She and the girls –Carly, Taylor, and Linsey- provide personal dinning experiences for the customers who in return know what to expect and who always return for more. As Meryle puts it, “our employees are the number one seller in this place, everybody loves our wait staff, everybody loves our kitchen staff, there is no way Dom and I could do this without them because they add so much pleasure and joy.”
Enjoyed by full and part time residents of the area, this neighborhood café stays open year round, except for January, and maintains steady business throughout. The frozen items consist of various soups and dinner entrées. The dinners, a few of which are meatloaf and mash, beef bourguignon, meat lasagna, and Greek moussaka, are made fresh and can be ordered in larger quantities to feed a crowd. There are vegetarian and gluten free options, as well, and the staff takes great care preparing orders with specific dietary needs. The savory pies sell out quickly and there are always numerous orders for them. Some of the chef’s specialties are chicken pot pie, steak and ale pie, shepherd’s pie, and the quintessentially English pork pie, only available by order.
They take holiday orders for Thanksgiving and Christmas and serve dinner twice a month during the summer, usually every other Friday. One of which is the famous English Fish and Chips night and another, which is the Bistro, or fine dining night, with a changing menu ranging from Paella to Beef Wellington.
Lunch, though, is the flagship for this fleet of food. With a sandwich to fit any palate, a bountiful mix of salads, a few hot plates, and a gluten free option for almost every item, the menu is varied, balanced, and accommodating. Every sandwich, except the Reuben, can be served as a salad and the burrito can be served with corn tortillas.
Customers agree there is nothing foul tasting about this crow. From first timers to daily regulars, they have said to Meryle “this is real food,” and people love popping their heads into the kitchen to praise the chef and to see him creating. At Eat Crow Café, “we love seeing people eat good food… we love our customers and they love us back.”