Tami Crowley is an avid collector and lover of art. Seven years ago, she and her husband opened Artists & Heirlooms, an art gallery on Ogden's Historic 25th Street.
Last month, they changed the name to Crowley Gallery & Cafe and changed the space to include a dining area where patrons can enjoy artistically designed cuisine by chef John Ewing.
Crowley said she has wanted to add a cafÃ© to the gallery for quite some time, to enhance the experience for art strollers and collectors. She met Ewing at the local Farmers & Art Market last July, and everything seemed to click.
"I knew with John Ewing on board that we could create a menu that would be highly appealing to almost any palate," Crowley said.
Creativity and fine foods are what Ewing is all about. After training at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, he went on to a career spanning more than three decades as head chef at several high-end dining establishments. He has opened several of his own restaurants in Florida and Philadelphia, he said.
His food has a Caribbean influence from his time as a head chef on a small island in the Bahamas. It also has a European flair, as he once studied as an apprentice with an Austrian chef.
His Blackened Tilapia sandwich ($8) comes with sharp cheddar, tomatoes and Ewing's own tarragon mayonnaise. Another specialty, the Onion Soup Au Gratin ($4), is served piping hot in a crock, dripping with melted Swiss cheese.
Some of the most popular side dishes include the Moros Y Christianos ($4), a flavorful Cuban dish with black beans and rice; Broccoli Slaw ($4); and Fresh Basil Penne Pasta ($4) with a balsamic vinegar dressing.
Diners with a sweet tooth love the Chocolate Bread Pudding ($5).
Crowley said she is excited to offer unique dishes in an atmosphere of fine art, home dÃ©cor, jewelry and antiques surrounding the dining area.
In the future, she plans to extend the cafÃ©'s hours and add wine and beer to the menu.
She expects to host wine tastings, afternoon wine pairings and community events in the gallery on the third floor. The restaurant also offers catering and can accommodate private parties of up to 100 in the upper gallery.