When Things Seem Scrambled, Look on the Sunny-Side

Clark Pope, founder and namesake behind Pope's Kitchen, a regional sauce and cocktail mix company catering to the Greater Cleveland area, will be serving either live-fire omelets or shrimp and grits on July 10th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the first Gather in Glenville community brunch. The choice is up to you.

 

No stranger to variety, expect the classic dishes to be unique. 

 

"We are deliberately inconsistent," says Pope, referring to his array of artisan sauces and spreads. "Some of our products, if you look carefully, are not always the exact same shade." 

 

Take Pope’s Bloody Mary Mix for example. Its bold and spicy flavor has won over mid-day drinkers around the city, despite its variance in coloring. Mixologists at Bar Cento, Flying Fig, and Jukebox have all used the locally made mix, while its slipped it’s way onto shelves at retailers such as The Grocery OHC and Nature’s Bin in Lakewood. A complete list of where to find Pope’s goods is available on their website.

Pope's Kitchen at the Legacy Village Retail Lab

 

Though he won’t be selling his usual products at this installment of Gather in Glenville, Pope's ready to order brunch meals are just another extension of his philosophy. There's no doubt each omelet will be one of a kind.

 

He’ll start each the same: simply, with farm fresh eggs, letting visitors choose from a medley of seasonal vegetables and toppings. Once the omelet has been cooked to your liking, Pope plans on plating each dish with ripe fruit, buttery Cajun cornbread, and a freshly baked sweet potato tart.

 

If the South is speaking your name, then try the Creole inspired shrimp and grits with lightly sautéed shrimp, grits blended with cream and cheese, topped with freshly cut chives. It’s decadent, delicate, and delicious, served with the same accouterment. 

 

Pope defines his products by their simplicity, taking historical recipes and infusing them with a modern twist. His mint maple syrup, used for specialty drinks like mint juleps, is a personal family heirloom. Honoring the past is more than just nostalgia, however. Pope believes in the way things used to be made.

 

"Why do you need all of the extra things?" asks Pope. "Why would you put gluten into a hot sauce? The further back in time you go, the more simplistic the food was."

 

From Fig & Cocoa Spread to Burning River Hot Sauce, Pope’s recipes are a testament to honoring history and doing it right (with some tongue-in-cheek). If popularity is any indication, his Margarita Mix has become a testament to his process.

Pope's Kitchen at Night Market Cleveland (August, 2015)

Pope's Kitchen at Night Market Cleveland (August, 2015)

 

It's easy to see the connection between food, tradition, and community: a correlation Pope has been fostering since his beginnings in the culinary arts. "My goal is to help other people grow," he says. 

 

For Pope, connections are not just about doing business. Collaborations like Gather in Glenville are more than the sum of their parts. They’re about identity, rejuvenation, and the people behind them. "My family moved here in 1980," says Pope. "I've been a part of the greater Cleveland community for quite awhile."

 

A mentor to several small companies, Pope is not a novice when it comes to building relationships in the area. Nova Williams of N’Dulgence Catering Co., an up-and-coming chef whom conceived the other half of the Gather in Glenville brunch club menu, is a person whom Pope has helped to further her own business. 

 

"It's simply the combination of keeping the money in the general area, and quality,” explains Pope. It’s a beneficial supply chain that enriches regional farmers, Pope himself, as well as the taste buds and health of his customers.

 

To savor Pope’s concoctions in person, visit the ticket link in advance to reserve your seat at Gather in Glenville’s July brunch club. See you on the 105!

photographs by Breanna Kulkin

Michael Marefka