November 2008 Issue
Blue Olive Jazz Club
As dining experiences go, sharing great food with loved ones is as good as it gets.
That is, until you offer a jazz aficionado the opportunity to wine and dine with the likes of Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Suddenly, those dear friends and relatives don’t stand a chance.
But patrons at the Blue Olive Jazz Club in downtown Canton get to revel in both familiar company and musical legends ― not to mention a hip atmosphere where cool tunes and upscale cuisine are always on the menu.
It’s hard to tell that executive chef Scott Welch and several of his family members opened the Blue Olive Jazz Club just seven months ago. (Its sister property, the 250-seat Chronicles the Restaurant, is housed upstairs and is currently undergoing renovations.) Whether it’s the sprawling club’s earthy interior of brick pillars, oak tables and brown-leather seating, its black-and-white images of icons such as Holiday, Davis and Coltrane, or its inviting mixture of fine dining and comfort food ― including the 5-inch-thick Frenched Pork Chops and the popular Lobster Macaroni and Cheese: a blend of fresh lobster, gnocchi, truffle-laced bread crumbs and gorgonzola, brie and goat-cheese cream ― the Blue Olive Jazz Club feels like a destination that’s been beloved in Canton for decades.
“It doesn’t get any cooler around here than this,” says Welch, an Alliance native. His 24 years’ worth of restaurant experience lends plenty of credibility to the Blue Olive Jazz Club’s kitchen. After all, only an experienced and confident chef could offer creative entrees such as Shrimp and Grits Chipotle, a heaping concoction of cheese grits, rock shrimp, bacon and mushrooms, topped with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and a dollop of goat cheese, and served with a honey-chipotle glaze.
On a recent Tuesday night, patrons at the long bar sipped cocktails such as the signature Blue Olive Martini (garnished with olives stuffed with gorgonzola cheese) while basking in the sounds of a four-piece band of local musicians and a singer who channeled Roberta Flack for a rendition of “Killing Me Softly.” On that evening, the laid-back, high-end ambiance of The Blue Olive Jazz Club could have easily matched that of a more noted jazz club in New York City or Chicago.
Which, says the chef, is precisely the idea.
“It’s simple,” Welch says. “We’re trying to bring the energy of big-city life to Canton.”