I had eagerly anticipated Cork & Crust opening for months as it is just a little over one mile from our house. It finally opened, but the concept seemed that it might not be right for children and the menu at first glance appeared to be above my children’s palates. After looking at their website, we were more nervous that this might not be for us. We did not see a children’s menu, but decided to call anyway.
The atmosphere was quiet at first, but as the restaurant filled the worry that my children would disturb everyone was put to rest.
Wow! Were we surprised that not only were children welcome, but they had a whole menu with a variety of items to please both of my picky eaters and all children’s entrees were only $4.25. Bolstered that the restaurant wasn’t busy and that we were welcome with our children, we scampered over.
Cork & Crust Atmosphere
The interior appeared modern, appealing, especially for a date night, but at first I wondered if it might be too nice and quiet for our family of five which included an infant. I was pleasantly surprised to be shown to a table right away. Not only did they have a high chair, they were able to accommodate the entire stroller next to the table so that my daughter could stay in her infant seat. This was a big plus. The atmosphere was quiet at first, but as the restaurant filled the worry that my children would disturb everyone was put to rest.
I knew from the write-ups I had seen on the restaurant that they made many things in-house including mozzarella, pasta, pizza dough, and sausage. They even have gluten-free pizza dough which they make in-house and is supposed to be delicious. One of the restaurants specialties is buratta, a delicious savory “cheesecake” with a lovely luscious center of ricotta and mascarpone and an outer layer of their homemade mozzarella. I was curious as I had never tried this dish, and I was determined to taste it. As we set down, we looked at the menu and immediately found many things which we wanted to try including the pizzas, several pasta dishes and wonderful non pasta dishes.
Although many items are made in-house and all ingredients are fresh and seasonal, the prices were really reasonable. The appetizers range $5-$11, the entrees range $12 to $17, and all children’s entrees are $4.25. The children settled on cheese pizza for my oldest and the homemade spaghetti and meatball for my middle son. To stave off the kiddos’ hunger we ordered an appetizer of house fries which include ketchup but also a garlic truffle aioli dipping sauce. My husband and I decided to be decadent and try the arancinis or risotto balls (because I love them) and the buratta (the restaurant’s specialty) for appetizers, followed by meatballs in pappardelle for my husband and the farmer’s market risotto for myself for our entrees (I am a sucker for risotto).
All of our food was a hit! The kiddos gobbled up their entrees, and even the kid’s spaghetti was perfectly cooked, no gummy pasta here! The arancini were the best I have ever tasted (and I have had many) and the buratta was a curious decadent bite of heaven, salty chewy mozzarella encasing a core of sweet lusciousness that is the mascarpone and ricotta. Use the tomatoes it is served with. The acidity helps you cut through the richness..oh sinful!! The risotto was perfectly cooked and so well-seasoned. My hubby’s meatballs in pappardelle were delicious.
Cork & Crust Wine List
The restaurant’s wine menu is quite good, with a focus on smaller vineyards which means a lower price tag but still great quality. Their wines range from $7-$14 per glass and $25-$50 with most glasses at $10 and most bottles at $30. Over the course of a few visits I have tried 4 of their white wines and my husband tried two of their Pinot Noirs. He preferred the Four Bears Pinot, but thought both that he tasted were excellent. Better still, the restaurant has a happy hour from 4PM-6PM Monday-Friday with half off all wines, $3 beers, and all cocktails at $5.
Service was excellent from the hostess to our server with the manager coming by to check on us about ¾ of the way through our meal. The timing of the meals was great with the gap between courses not so long that the children grew restless. The restaurant was really clean, including their restrooms. There is a changing table in the larger stall of the women’s bathroom, but sorry ladies, no changing table in the men’s restroom.
The Final Word
We have decided that this is our family’s “special” restaurant as our bill was right at $100. Not something we will go to if the kiddos are having a bad day, but our family date night location. We have been back since our initial visit and were greeted warmly by the host again and they remembered us from a few weeks prior. I highly recommend this for a special family night out, a date night (whether it is the just the adults or a special mommy/child or daddy/child outing), or any time you want really delicious Italian food.
Cork & Crust Details
Address: 12120 County Line Road, Madison, AL (map)
(Front of Publix Shopping Center)
- Sunday: CLOSED
- Monday: 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
- Tuesday: 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
- Wednesday: 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
- Thursday: 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
- Friday: 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM
- Saturday: 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Phone: 256-801-WINE (9463)
Katie Mullins Demirjian is a mom of 2 boys and a newly added baby girl, a wife, and a banker by day. She loves all aspects of food: eating it, cooking it, and baking it! She is frugal, but likes to splurge occasionally. She resides in Madison with her brood, back from a recent 3 year stay in London.