Hammond Lawton of Barrio // Nancy Crutchfield of Cork Wine Pub

CRAVINGS: Their stylish menus are enticing enough to attract a loyal clientele of discriminating diners, but no matter how expert they are, restaurant people like to take a break from their own kitchens for a taste of someone else’s cooking


> HAMMOND LAWTON was a personal chef until taking over the kitchen at Barrio when it opened in Birmingham earlier this year. “Since my wife and I have three kids under the age of 6, we don’t get out to the establishments I used to frequent,” he says, “but we do still like to go to Pizzeria Biga. The pizzas are all really fresh and delicious.” He says it’s as close to Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix as he has found. At Biga, the Lawtons order “some salads, a couple of pizzas, and we always save room for the gelatos.” Another place they enjoy is Union Woodshop in Clarkston, where they appreciate the laid-back atmosphere. “As a born-and-raised Texan, good barbecue is in my blood, and my kids love the French fries and ribs.” Other favorites are El Barzon, Luxe Bar & Grill, and Inn Season — “when I’m craving great vegan food.”

> NANCY CRUTCHFIELD, proprietor of Cork Wine Pub in Pleasant Ridge, isn’t a vegan but says she loves the vegan pizza at Amici’s. “I think it’s the No. 9, with black beans and corn, tomato, and fresh greens. It just has great flavor. I also love the whole-wheat breadsticks and herb-y tomato dipping sauce.” She calls Inn Season “one of my all-time favorites, for over 20 years. The macrobiotic plate is my favorite: aduki beans and brown rice, arame, and kale. Yummy and so good for you.” When she has a burger craving she heads for Redcoat Tavern. “My daughter and I are health nuts, but we get the Piedmontese burger, because according to my daughter, who’s in med school, it’s the healthiest burger in town, and the only one she allows me to eat.”

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