Picasso's tuna tower, one of its many entrees. (Jen Fouts-Detulleo)

Picasso’s tuna tower, one of its many entrees. (Jen Fouts-Detulleo)

By Nick Sellers  

A new locally owned restaurant is now situated and operational on County Line Road and is aiming to carve out a place as a go-to, neighborhood spot for those in western Madison and the wider area.

After moving their restaurant – Picasso’s Grill – from Athens in Limestone County, owners and married couple Matt and Michelle Crawford hope to keep much of their customer base while tapping into the ever-expanding area of west Madison along the border of Madison and Limestone County.

“We just had an opportunity to move to Madison and we jumped at the chance,” Matt said of the location, which sits at a corner spot of the Publix Shopping Center previously occupied by Carson’s Grill.

Matt, a Rochester, N.Y. native, experienced a gradual shift in his career after earning degrees in mass communications and photography. He eased into jobs in the restaurant business and eventually moved to Charlotte, N.C., where he bartended as well as booked gigs for a friend’s band.

It was in Charlotte where he met Michelle; both were involved with a catering business and began a conversation after catering a mansion event in the Charlotte area.

Years later, the Crawfords decided to move to nearby Athens, which is home for Michelle. It was there that they decided to open the family business.

The menu for Picasso’s Grill, Matt clarified, consists of inventive American dishes, many of which have been inspired by his previous culinary experience.

“We really do everything fresh here,” he said. “We work with a lot of local produce to supply us here.”

A robust array of appetizers, ranging from Americana classics like wings and fried green tomatoes to jerk-chicken quesadillas and goat cheese fritters.

Soups and salads are available for light lunchers, and sandwiches such as the BLT, ribeye melt, club sandwich and Po’boy bolster the entrée menu.

A traditional coastal area dish, shrimp and grits, is offered as an entrée with a vegetarian option attached to the dish at the request of the customer. Fish and chips and lemon chicken help round out the entrée menu in addition to “Mama’s Sirloin,” a dish inspired by an old favorite of Matt’s that was prepared and served to him as a child by his mother.

“We’re an American grill,” Matt said. “It’s your favorite menus all rolled into one.

The signature entrees include the blackened trout and the Picasso’s ribeye. The $12 Picasso’s pasta consists of “linguine with fresh tomatoes, spinach, parmesan, and a white wine garlic sauce,” according to the menu.

The southern chicken, zucchini cake & ratatouille and Picasso’s ribeye round out the signature entrée menu.

Complementing the versatile food menu is the vibrant and spirited wall art. In one corner of the restaurant near a lounge area, a tricycle seat painted red mimics a bull head.

Michelle said she hopes monthly art shows and alcohol tastings will become a regular part of the restaurant.

It’s all part of the local appeal of Picasso’s Grill – a cornerstone of what Matt and Michelle hope to create.

“We get as much local meats as we can,” Michelle said, adding that the family home produces herbs used in some of the dishes offered at the restaurant.

“What we say here is, “Eat local, eat fresh,’” Matt said.

Picasso’s Grill is located at 12060 County Line Road in Madison and can be reached at 256-262-4655.