I love when good things happen to good people.
I’ve known Scott Kuhn, one of the partners behind Hodge’s, since high school, but really got to know him when he opened Washington Place. And I first met Chris Hodgson when he came on the scene with his food truck. I asked if he’d be open to a Q&A. And within in days, we were sitting at Starbucks bright and early talking non-stop. I was quickly smitten by his incredible energy, vision and passion – all at the age of 25 (at the time). Since then, they have both become good friends. What I like best about them actually has nothing to do with their culinary talents or dedication to the city. Rather, that they are genuinely good people doing good things for others, near and far.
So of course I’m happy that they have found success with the opening of Hodge’s, Chris’ long-awaited brick-and-mortar restaurant right around the corner from E 4th. Because of its proximity to my office (right across the street), I’ve already been there six or seven times for a mix of lunch and dinner (and opening day drinks on the patio). Friends or not, this place is good. The atmosphere is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor, as is the food. There’s only one dish I didn’t care for – the scallops. But to be fair, I did have that during the friends and family preview night, so all gets a pass then.
I am slightly obsessed with the pea soup right now. It’s so fresh, light and flavorful yet incredibly filling. This plus a small salad is plenty for lunch. But of course you have to save room for a piece of the corn bread. This is not just any corn bread though. It’s actually the best corn bread in town. Truly. I dare you to find a better piece around. I’m also a big fan of the gnudi and lamb shank with white bean cassoulet and carrots. Really impressive dishes that you won’t want to share.
As the weather warms, I also look forward to taking full advantage of their spectacular patio. In fact, I see a lot of late afternoon meeting in our future there. It’s a huge, private area with a large bar. The exact kind of space Clevelanders flock to in the summertime.
And flock they will – inside and out. Because the place is great. Just like the people behind it.