Overlooking beautiful Lake Como is The Ridge Hotel, known for offering alluring dining options that appeal to out-of-town visitors and locals alike. Its largest restaurant, Crafted Americana, is a stylish and modern place to enjoy a hearty entrée or to meet friends for handcrafted cocktails and appetizers.
Crafted Americana was launched in 2016 as part of the major remodel of The Ridge Hotel and occupies the space formerly known as the Lakeview Grille. Crafted Americana, along with the hotel’s lobby and common spaces, were reimagined and created anew by CallisonRTKL of Chicago. They were asked to “reinterpret the wooded shoreline landscape upon which the hotel rests,” according to Robert Johnson, Director of Food & Beverage at The Ridge Hotel. He adds that “the designers pulled the outdoors in.” They accomplished this by choosing a nature-inspired color palette, using wood and stone building materials, and natural light, achieved by adding wrap-around windows for a panoramic perspective.
The result? All the essence of Lake Como in a sophisticated, modern setting. “It’s a warm and beautiful atmosphere that you might not expect from a hotel restaurant,” says Johnson. The restaurant’s Library Lounge is a novel space in which to have a drink or enjoy an intimate dining experience. The lounge features one wall attractively lined with dozens of books and offers grouped couches and high tables, perfect for catching up over custom cocktails. At the long quartz bar, with its backdrop of shiny subway tile and glowing Edison lights overhead, diners can savor appetizers as they enjoy a game on TV. Those who prefer to bask in the scenery have the option of dining beside large windows with a soaring view of the hotel’s veranda and the lake.
“Crafted has a contemporary and inviting dining space on one side, and a cocktail club vibe on the other,” explains Johnson. The handcrafted theme is evident in the restaurant’s cocktail menu, which features unique flavors and popular classics. The Crafted Old Fashioned, made with Copper & Kings brandy, black cherries, and orange bitters is Crafted Americana’s signature house cocktail. Those who enjoy a splash of spice may wish to try a Bloody Mary featuring Crafted’s house-infused vodka with bacon, jalapeño, and sundried tomato. Diners who are in the mood for something sweeter can sip a cocktail showcasing seasonal flavors, such as the Autumn Margarita, which includes Patrón tequila, simple syrup, cinnamon, fresh-squeezed lime, and apple cider.
In addition to its handcrafted cocktails, Crafted Americana boasts an award-winning wine list. “We are known for presenting a marvelous selection of wines that are not easily accessible to the general public,” Johnson says. This level of quality has not gone unnoticed outside of Lake Geneva—Crafted’s wine list was first awarded Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence” in 2017. Proving that the wine list continues to be well-edited, Johnson shares that the restaurant has earned the award again in 2018.[metaslider id=”2647″]
Wine lovers, as well as those simply looking for a delicious accompaniment to a meal, are sure to find compelling options on the list at Crafted. Featured on the dining menus are familiar favorites paired with unexpected flavors and artisanal touches. Guests and locals alike are invited to meet for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Crafted. Many items are prepared in-house from scratch, from dressings to entrées. The Pork Ribs are just one notable example of a handmade dish with a twist. “We hand rub our ribs with our chef’s selected spices, then we smoke them in our kitchen to perfection,” explains Johnson. “Our chefs then prepare the bourbon orange marmalade barbeque sauce, which they use to finish off the entrée.”
Vegetarian dishes also get special attention at Crafted Americana. Lunchtime Vegan Tacos feature house-crafted vegetarian “meat” with refried beans, pico de gallo, avocado, and sautéed onions and jalapeños. The “Craft-a-Burger” offers a house-made vegan burger option, alongside other choices such as beef and chicken. Tantalizing dinner appetizers include: Wild Mushroom Crepes, Roasted Carrot Hummus with fried plantains, and an Artichoke Pot with garlic, baby spinach, and aged parmesan.
Crafted’s menu celebrates its Wisconsin roots. As Johnson explains, “We secure our ingredients from local purveyors and farms whenever possible.” Indeed, the lunch menu lists five cheese options for burgers under the heading “Always from Wisconsin.” The Crafted Board features Wisconsin gorgonzola paired with pork rillettes, prosciutto, bacon, and a variety of other morsels. Beer brewed in New Glarus is a featured ingredient in Spotted Cow Cheese Curds, and of course the curds themselves are Wisconsin-made.
Whether diners hail from Wisconsin or from farther afield, they are likely to appreciate the handcrafted touches at Crafted Americana.
By: Kristi Thom
Photography by: Matt Haas