Celebrating Our 25th Anniversary
“A neighborhood restaurant serving fresh regional food cooked over a wood fire grill and served in a casual, comfortable atmosphere.” That was the tagline of The Raven Grill on March 24, 1998 and it still is today. Also featuring a great wine list and a full bar, The Raven Grill starts its second quarter century this month.
Opened, owned and operated by Sara and Rob Cromie, The Raven Grill continues to thrive in one of the most competitive restaurant cities in America.
In the years since, the Cromies have opened several other restaurants and a couple of bars in southwest Houston – most notably their bakery and highly popular box lunch enterprise Picnic next door to The Raven in 2000 and La Grange in Montrose – and in Austin but The Raven will always be their first. Prior to opening, the two had both accrued more than 15 years of full-time experience managing, cooking and waiting tables at restaurants in Houston, Dallas and Atlanta and had traveled extensively and often throughout Europe, Mexico, Central America and the U.S. sampling hundreds of menus at neighborhood restaurants.
Also in March of 1998:
When it came time for them to open their first place, there wasn’t any question about where. Sara grew up around the corner from The Raven and attended Poe Elementary, the inspiration for the name of the restaurant, and Rob grew up in Highland Village. The two met at Lanier Middle School (Junior High back then), graduated from Lamar Senior High and married in 1991.
New and longtime guests enjoy The Raven Grill for any occasion dressed however they wish, whether in shorts, surgical scrubs or a tuxedo and fancy dress. The wood fire grill still consumes a weekly truckload of mesquite from the Texas Hill Country and although the grilled items are customer favorites, the restaurant also offers a number of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers and satisfying pasta dishes with room on the menu for a variety of enchiladas and Raven tacos – the house version of flautas served with tomatillo sauce. The only items not made fresh in-house or next door at Picnic? The chicken tenders on the Kids Menu and the Blue Bell® ice cream on the Dessert Menu. All desserts and breads served are hand-made at Picnic.
The full bar features hand-crafted cocktails – including several house creations – and a selection of local draft beers, and the wine list continues to be a popular favorite in town.
One of the most significant factors contributing to The Raven’s success is the retention of long-time employees, some of whom have been on the team since the first year, which contributes substantially to genuine, heartfelt customer service. Floods, hurricanes, pandemic, freezes . . . adaptation and innovation keep their guests happy whether it’s their first visit or they’ve been dining in for decades.
What’s next for The Raven Grill? Says Rob, “Same as with all of our restaurants, great customer service and always, always looking for new ways to satisfy our guests with great-tasting food and a place where they’re genuinely relaxed and comfortable. That will never change.”