No hole-in-the-wall, this blues-jazz club uses its somewhat off-the-beaten-path location to preserve its charm..
The Crawford is arranged in shotgun fashion, with everything on either side of the one aisle. Just past the bar is the stage, with about as much floor space as a walk-in closet. If the drummer gets vigorous, he could fall backwards behind the bar. There is no room for dancing unless you want to dance in the aisle, or the tables.
The place is no secret to the many jazz greats who have darkened its door, including John Coltrane, George Benson, Stanley Turrentine. My first time at the Crawford Grill, there was a feisty blues singer who peppered his songs with stories about the women he had known. When I returned recently, there was a modern jazz band with an electric fiddle player who had so much jump that I wondered whether he had a power cord running up his leg.
If you come to the Crawford Grill hungry, you don't have to settle for chips and pretzels, or anything that tastes like it came from a frozen cardboard box. The fried chicken is juicy without being greasy. The yams are sweet and the collard greens, often overlooked in other places, look and taste like someone has paid attention to them.
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