Steve Schimoler is getting rowdy at Whiskey Island as he opens his casual, summer-fare concept Cropicana on May 5. "It is obviously a raucous, fun location," he says, of the former Sunset Grille site he purchased this spring.
Fans of Crop Bistro (which closed on April 30 and is scheduled to reopen in Ohio City in late summer) will see Schimoler in a whole new light — mostly in the glow of outdoor grills.
"I can't wait to be in a T-shirt and shorts outside all day around the fire pits," he says. Through September, he'll be firing up cherry chipotle ribs; New England-style clam rolls; and for the first time in his 30-year career, smoked, grilled chicken wings. Expect flavors such as spicy maple glaze, smoked onion caramel barbecue and Buffalo-style sauce with sweet, hot ancho chiles.
"[The menu] is designed to play to the tastes of the summer with beach-inspired barbecue and outdoor fun food," Schimoler says, adding a few Crop appetizers will carry over, including the balsamic popcorn.
He'll also put a tropical spin on his Crop Punch, creating a dizzying melon drink with rum, vodka and "a lot of tequila," Schimoler emphasizes. Another first for the Whiskey Island spot: draft beers with a few domestics and rotating lighter brews such as Blue Moon.