Talk to Patrick Crump long enough, and it becomes obvious why he named his new Clarendon restaurant the Renegade. The all-day cafe, bar, restaurant, and live music venue that’s replacing long-running sports bar Mister Days is entering its first weekend of business, and Crump has formulated a plan to go against the grain in a number of ways.
“Everyone has a Caesar salad, everyone has the best burger in the world with some custom grind of meat and awesome bacon, everyone has a quesadilla that is outstanding, or a pile of nachos that are just spectacular,” Crump says. “I can’t compete with everybody on everything that everybody does. What I can compete with people on is things that they haven’t yet thought of.”
The chef, who spent 18 years cooking at at Clarendon Ballroom, thinks that includes shareable portions of Korean fried chicken, Filipino lumpia, Vietnamese lemongrass beef, and fried yucca, all personal favorites.
“It’s items that you might find on a menu someplace, but you wouldn’t find any three of these items on any menu any place,” Crump says. “I’ve got Thai food, next to Indian food next to North African food.”
For skeptics who would question how Crump can respectfully replicate dishes from so many cultures, Crump counters that he and his staff assembled 28 pages of menus while hosting private events over the past 18 years at Clarendon Ballroom.
“I’ve had every party for every possible demographic you can imagine, retirement parties, chambers of commerce, weddings from different people from all over the world,” he says. “It’s their biggest investment in food that they’ll ever make maybe. They trusted me with it, and I feel like I’ve stepped up to the challenge.”
“It’s got an honesty to it, it’s not just a fast food version,” Crump goes on to say. He cites the Renegade’s hummus as an example, explaining how kitchen takes pains to par-cook the chickpeas, peel them, then cook them some more, resulting in “the most velvety hummus ever.” He says he’s gone through “I don’t know how many different kinds” of tahini paste in search of the perfect one.
“I feel like I’ve got arguably as good a hummus as any Lebanese place in town,” Crump says. “Is that authentic? I don’t know. But it’s arguably as good.”
Every item on there is something he likes to eat. Adding a stage to the venue was meant to fill a hole for live music in the neighborhood, he says, describing the move as “a huge risk.” Dishes on the menu also correlate to the latitudes where Stumptown’s coffee beans grow.
Fans of Mister Days will find the space in a similar configuration, just painted in all black, with far fewer screens. Crump cut the number of TVs from 50 to 18.
There are plenty of newly installed power outlets around the space to encourage remote workers to set up shop during the day.
Even though The Renegade is built around Crump’s own personal tastes, he hopes it will be a hangout that appeals to everyone else in Clarendon: “My job is to make people happy,” he says. “I don’t have another job.”