the bar at the clover and the bee photo by izaiah johnson

2018 Best New Restaurants // No. 5 The Clover and the Bee

The Clover and the Bee
will not be outshined by its adjacent sister restaurant, Olive & Oak, which, after almost three years, still boasts a packed house on any given weeknight.

Opening as a breakfast and lunch cafe, The Clover and the Bee wowed early with fluffy biscuits, fresh salads and decadent sandwiches like the indulgent burrata swathed in rich tomato ragu on sturdy ciabatta. Add a vibrant, gold-flecked floral mural, plush velvet banquettes and a takeout window, and plenty were sold on their new favorite daytime eatery. Then the restaurant added dinner service.

from left, bucatini carbonara and pistachio pesto and whipped goat cheese dip // photo by izaiah johnson

The silky bucatini carbonara on the Italian-accented nighttime menu comes courtesy of chef Mikey Risk’s 20-year career in area restaurants, including 12 as Trattoria Marcella’s chef de cuisine. After two years at Olive & Oak, he liked the idea of running the kitchen for a more intimate, 40-seat dining room.

“I go up to all the tables to see how everything was. I love that we’re small,” he said. “I like to hear people take their first bites and see their reactions. … It’s probably one of the most gratifying things as a chef.”

It’s hard not to exclaim over dishes like a mind-blowing pistachio pesto and whipped goat cheese dip, or rosemary-flecked braised lamb atop creamy orzo. The food is as complex and delicious as Olive & Oak’s, but you can actually get a table.

Whether for an egg sandwich and coffee on the run or a bowl of buttery polenta with tender meatballs, it’s clear The Clover and the Bee deserves just as much acclaim as its big sister. 

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine.