Jon Cropf leaving Drawing Room

Chef Jon Cropf at The Drawing Room, August 21, 2014. Grace Beahm/Staff

Jon Cropf, whose creative cooking at Drawing Room forced Charleston diners to rethink their reflexive dismissal of hotel restaurants, is leaving his post.

“I couldn’t be happier for him, or sadder for us,” says Jon Weitz, owner of Avocet Hospitality Group, which operates The Vendue Hotel and Tides Folly Beach. Cropf served as executive chef of BLU Restaurant and Bar at that property before being named to Drawing Room’s opening team.

“He’s been with us eight years,” Weitz says. “He came in as a 23-year-old sous chef and really stuck with us through everything.”

Reached by phone, Cropf says, “Yes, I’m moving closer to family, but it’s been extremely tough and difficult decision for me, because I’m leaving the family I have here, and that’s the community of chefs.”

Cropf adds it’s hardest to leave the producers and purveyors with whom he’s developed relationships.

According to Weitz, Cropf is moving to Virginia to take a job at a standalone restaurant. A graduate of Johnson & Wales, Cropf worked in Lake Tahoe before relocating to South Carolina.

In 2015, Jeff Allen reviewed Drawing Room (then known more formally as The Drawing Room) for Charleston Magazine. He wrote, “Order the beet salad, and chef Jon Cropf presents his own edible painting… There is smoked goat cheese dolloped amid a scattering of anise-tinged ‘soil,’ small dustings of molecular revisionism that strike the ideal balance between heritage and innovation. Such creativity seems worthy of the McCrady’s kitchen.”

Weitz says Cropf has been invited to join the search committee to select his replacement.