50 female chefs in 50 states

Chef Karen Small has owned Cleveland's The Flying Fig for almost two decades, infusing sustainable agriculture from small farms and local food artisans into her menu. 


March 2018


Chefs Karen Small and Jill Vedaa make CLE history as James Beard semifinalists

"In light of the nomination, I keep thinking about how long I’ve been at the Flying Fig and all the amazing people I’ve worked with over the years. It’s the staff’s commitment to my vision that truly led to this nomination. Long before farm-to-table became a catchphrase, we made a commitment to local purveyors and, more importantly, a promise to our customers to offer clean, beautiful food.”

freshwater cleveland

February 2018

Midwest Traveler: Northeast Ohio's old and new taste traditions

Karen Small is the godmother of the Cleveland farm-to-table scene, using lessons learned from her Italian immigrant grandparents and the decade she spent raising sheep and cows and canning for the winter on a back-to-the-land homestead.

Minneapolis star tribune

February 2018


Karen Small’s Sweet Sixteen

For Small, her lifestyle was the logical endpoint of the self-reliance and taste for simple, local food that her Italian grandparents had taught her. She’d grown up admiring the way her grandfather cured his own sausage and grew figs and tomatoes in his tiny backyard in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood.

Edible cleveland

Spring 2016


Flying Fig's Karen Small, Salt's Jill Vedaa semifinalists in James Beard Awards

This is not the first time the area has produced two recognitions in the same year, but it is the first time both are women: Karen Small of The Flying Fig in the Ohio City neighborhood and Jill Vedaa of Salt in Lakewood.

February 2018


30 Essential Restaurants

As Ohio City continues to change at hyper-speed, we're increasingly grateful for Karen Small and her unpretentious bistro. While concise, the locally sourced seasonal menus offer enough variety for everybody at the table, and that includes the vegetarians. 

Cleveland Scene

August 2018

25 Best Restaurants: Flying Fig

Still focusing on sustainable ingredients, Flying Fig continues to forge its own path after nearly two decades.

cleveland magazine

May 2018


Flying Fig quietly maintains its wonderful place in Cleveland's culinary world

What's hip? Maybe it's being truly independent. As in its owner's unpretentious approach to offer whatever and whenever while waving the sustainability flag. If that's hip, fine. If it's having an award-winning owner-chef who doesn't sound her horn often, maybe that's it, too.

May 2018

Local female chefs recognized

Cleveland's tantalizing food scene is sizzling and now two local chefs are cooking up some national buzz.


March 2018

James Beard Restaurant & Chef Awards Semi-finalists

Karen Small, owner and executive chef of The Flying Fig, is nominated for Best Chef, Great Lakes. The 2018 James Beard Awards Gala will take place on Monday, May 7, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

James beard foundation

February 2018

Get The Scoop On The James Beard Award Semifinalists

Karen Small and Jill Vedaa share three dishes that left a mark on them.

cleveland magazine

May 2018


Karen Small: Chef/Owner of The Flying Fig

Small’s legacy move came with the opening of Flying Fig in 1999, a seasonally focused eatery surrounded by little else than the West Side Market and Great Lakes Brewing Co. While Ohio City now is a thriving artisan food district, with craft beer bars, restaurants and food businesses dotted all along West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue, little has changed at Flying Fig, apart from the next-door addition in 2010 of an artisanal market.

Crain's Cleveland Business

February 2015