TRAVERSE CITY — Georgina’s owner and head chef Anthony Craig remembers when he really learned to cook.
“One day my mother took the time to love and care for me,” he said. “I can tell you the moment in time, that moment in time God gave me a gift.”
He was in his 20s, preparing spaghetti for the family and no stranger to the kitchen. He told his mother his sauce needed salt when she returned from work. She said not to touch the sauce, she’d fix it.
Craig added a tiny bit of salt. His mother returned, tasted the dish and noticed right away. She loved his salted sauce and the way he cooked, but said his sister and father didn’t. That’s when Craig’s mother taught the lesson he carries through his career:
“You have to cook such perfect food people who love salt don’t add any, and people who don’t like it don’t know it’s there,” Craig said.
Craig’s cooking career heated to a rolling boil.
Georgina’s, the restaurant he opened last February, is often full and highly rated on restaurant review websites. Craig is relocating Georgina’s from its tiny space on E. Front Street a few blocks to the west, to the former Phil’s on Front in downtown Traverse City. Phil’s on Front closed in April.
The new space will allow Craig to serve higher-end food and pair it with wine or his “spectacular” sangria or mojitos, and more than triple seating capacity.
More space means more ways Craig can fuse his Nicaraguan, Cuban, Chinese and American roots. He doesn’t expect one plate of Thai tacos to undo a diner’s exposure to ethnic stereotypes, but he hopes it helps customers learn and respect other cultures.