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Food fans across the country got to know Chef Chris Hodgson as he logged 3,500 miles in his Hodge Podge food truck on the Food Network's “The Great Food Truck Race.” With the help of his girlfriend (now wife) and sister, Hodgson won second place in 2011 thanks to his whimsical menu and boy-next-door charm.
Cleveland foodies met Hodgson the year before through his first food truck, Dim and Den Sum. His first food truck was also the city’s first, ushering in a new cuisine craze. When foodies spotted the rolling kitchen, a big red octopus with fangs spray painted on its side, they knew fancy fish tacos were close at hand.
Hodgson developed the idea for his truck after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu and living in New York City, where food trucks were already common. Clevelanders liked gourmet food more than ever, he thought. And they liked cheaper prices, too.
When Dim and Den Sum opened, customers flocked to the truck, but so did controversy over competition to brick and mortar restaurants. Hodgson worked with the City of Cleveland to champion special food truck legislation.
In 2012, Hodgson joined partner Chef Scott Kuhn to open his first restaurant without an odometer, Hodge's. Upscale, but playful, the restaurant features wood paneling and comfy red leather chairs sans any stuffiness. Better still? The ridiculously spacious Euclid Avenue patio is an ideal spot to tip back a few cold ones during warm-weather months or, as Clevelanders call it, patio season.
In addition to Hodge’s, Hodgson and Kuhn have been spreading their stardust around Northeast Ohio as a consulting chef and partner in the Driftwood Restaurant and Catering Group, which runs Bin 216, Welshfield Inn, Washington Place Bistro and Inn, Cibrero Italian Kitchen and Green Rooster Farms.
The décor inside Hodge’s helps whet your appetite for creations like hanky pankys, gussied-up nachos with Caribbean jerk chicken, and truffle and porcini ravioli. And you can’t even get mad when it’s time for the check because the bill arrives in a red envelope that reads “The Damage.”
Opened in March 2012, Hodge’s integrates an upscale approach into the playful style of cuisine that Cleveland Food Truck Pioneer and Chef Chris...