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The New Gastronomy

By definition, a gastropub is any drinking establishment that also serves high-end food. Presumably, one could classify a place like Clintonville’s O’Reilly’s a “gastropub,” if only for the mammoth burgers covered in piquant peppercorns, a delicacy that’s arguably the best burger in town. But in a food scene where the gastropub has ascended from trend [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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By definition, a gastropub is any drinking establishment that also serves high-end food. Presumably, one could classify a place like Clintonville’s O’Reilly’s a “gastropub,” if only for the mammoth burgers covered in piquant peppercorns, a delicacy that’s arguably the best burger in town.

But in a food scene where the gastropub has ascended from trend to staple, it’s imperative that chefs and bartenders alike rise to the challenge of stretching the spectrum of average gastropub fare. Come for the barrel-aged, prohibition cocktails and craft beer, stay for the free-range chicken and lamb shank kebabs.

For Westies Executive Chef Jeremy Cook, the gastropub is defined “by being unique, with a chef who is passionate about the food and keeps things fresh, flexible, and constantly changing.” A simple order of nachos may seem an easy task, but with Cook’s al pastor nachos, it means pork shoulder marinated for days in anchiote, heaped with fresh pico and a kick of ancho crème. It’s a destination dish. 

Fortunately, the Columbus food scene has embraced that next level, and any gastropub worth its weight in truffles aims for such quality. Since charcuterie and select cheeses have become commonplace, a destination dish for a gastropub must transform tavern classics into something rooted in tradition that offers surprising flavor. For the Sycamore, it’s prawns in a fresh horseradish-tomato relish that serve as peel-and-eat shrimp.

Still, for all the small-plate indulgence, a gastropub tends to be measured best by the quality of the burger. It’s something that places like Bar 145 and 101 Beer Kitchen have taken to heart, providing endless options, from cream cheese to artisanal bacon to the ultimate hangover sandwich.

No matter how the gastropub is defined, as long as Columbus diners crave upscale jalapeño poppers or cumin-fried chickpeas to pair with their sundry libations, the phenomenon will be a permanent fixture in our culinary landscape.

101 BEER KITCHEN, 7509 Sawmill Rd. Dublin

To understand the difference between a middle-of-the-road tavern and a gastropub, look no further than 101 Beer Kitchen’s update on seven-layer dip – ancho-rubbed shrimp, chorizo refried beans, smoked pico, and house-made chili-lime chips. If you do look further though, you’ll discover craft beer – loads of it.

BAR 145, 955 W Fifth Ave. 

The Toledo import (no worries – water sourced locally) expanded to Grandview, where it serves dishes like house truffle fries, tempura-battered green beans, and roasted bone marrow, in addition to its signature burgers – all cooked to a perfect medium-rare 145 degrees.

WOLF’S RIDGE BREWING, 215 N Front St. 

Taking a nod from CBC (see next page), this up-and-comer combines bar, restaurant, and microbrewery (a gastropubbery?). In addition to its own selection of nine ales, dubbels, and tripels, Wolf’s Ridge serves everything from cheese plates to lobster tails.

THE SYCAMORE, 262 E Sycamore St. 

The Sycamore eschews traditional ground beef burgers, opting instead to change up the tavern favorite with bison, turkey, and quinoa and chickpea, accompanied on the menu by gourmet tacos, quality entrees, and a robust selection of wines and large-format beers.

COLUMBUS BREWING COMPANY, 525 Short St. 

CBC was at the forefront of the trend before most people had heard the word “gastropub.” While its taps dispense nothing but Ohio craft brews – headlined by its own beloved creations – the kitchen whips up elevated dishes like herb-crusted walleye and Columbus Pale Ale BBQ pork sandwiches.

THE CREST GASTROPUB, 2855 Indianola Ave. 

An easy way to tell if it’s a gastropub – look at the name. The Crest fully embraces its namesake concept, offering dishes with locally sourced ingredients, microbrews, and handcrafted cocktails garnished with herbs grown onsite in a comfortable, upscale bar atmosphere.

THE PEARL, 641 N High St. 

Cameron Mitchell is probably best known for fine dining, but The Pearl bridges the gap between thoughtful, delicious cuisine and energetic barroom atmosphere. The rotating selection of barrel-aged cocktails and punches keep the mood lively for multiple rounds of starters and plates of oysters.

ARCH CITY TAVERN, 862 N High St. 

With its respectable selection of microbrews, scotches, and Watershed cocktails, as well as its Short North store front, Arch City leans more toward bar than restaurant, but the moule frites, goat cheese and tapenade, and lamb, salmon, and roast beef sliders show off its culinary flare.

WESTIES GASTROPUB, 940 S Front St. 

The newest addition to the Columbus scene, Westies has the bones of a high-end, polished tavern – a plethora of big TVs and a four-seasons patio – with an approachable menu of European-made-modern fare like potato pierogies, fish and chips, and shepherd’s pie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Food & Drink

Slice into our top picks for National Pizza Party Day!

Mike Thomas

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May 17 is National Pizza Party Day—a celebration that is near and dear to our hearts at (614). And what better day of the week for an office pizza party than Friday?

To help you and your gang decide which pie(s) to go with on this momentous occasion, take a look at this roundup of some of our most primo pizza content. Bone apple teeth!

The best pizza in C-Bus according to Columbest Voters

The results for Columbest 2019 were announced in the May issue of (614) Magazine, with Harvest Pizzeria taking the top spot in the “best gourmet pizza” category, and Mikey’s Late Night winning “best traditional.”

26,000+ Columbest voters can’t be wrong. Let these hometown heroes provide the pie for a pizza party you won’t soon forget!

Pizza – Columbus Style

Did you know Columbus has its own distinct style? Edge to edge toppings, crispy crust, cut pub-style – these are some indications that you’re dining on Columbus’ own signature ‘za. Not sure what we’re talking about? Refer to this list to see what we mean.

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In Pizza We Trust

Need to grab a pie on the go? Look no further than a Pizza ATM conveniently located at OSU campus. Fair warning, since reporting on this a few months ago, we haven’t been back to see if this still exists. Something tells us this was either too weird of an idea to last, or too brilliant to ever die.

C-Bus pizza on the big stage

At this point, our fair city is no stranger to coverage in national publications – and our pizza is no exception. Earlier this year, food blog Rave Reviews included Columbus’ own Rubino’s and Mikey’s Late Night Slice on their Pizza Road Trip roundup of the best pies in the nation.

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Hey, @fussbucket… Nice #BINOS! #SausagePizza

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Deep dish (if you must…)

Is deep dish more your thing? We (I) think there’s something wrong with you, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the sauce-on-top monstrosity you crave. Check out our top picks for the “best” deep-dish style pizzas in town.

Celebrating National Pizza Party Day? Of course you are! Let us know your pizza of choice in the comments.

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Food & Drink

Outerbelt Brewing: small town, huge brewery

Mike Thomas

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With no end in sight for the craft beer boom, upstart breweries are leaving the city behind for the wide open spaces of the suburbs.

According to a report from Drink Up Columbus, Outerbelt Brewing will be the latest to toss their hat into the central Ohio Craft Beer ring when they open their doors in less than a month.

Located in a former Lowes hardware location at 3560 Dolson Ct. near Carroll, Ohio, Outerbelt Brewing is not far from Lancaster.

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Outerbelt is scheduled to open to the public on either June 8 or June 15, depending on construction deadlines. The new brewery will occupy about 25,000 square feet, with about 5,600 square feet set aside for a taproom. Plans also include a spacious 2,000 square foot patio.

Upon opening, Outerbelt plans to offer 10 beers on tap, as well as cold brew coffee.

Look for Outerbelt this Friday, May 18 at the Columbus Craft Beer Week kickoff party at Giant Eagle Market District, where some of their beer will be available to try. Outerbelt Beer will also be on hand Saturday at the Six One Pour Ohio Beer Festival at COSI.

To view pictures and to learn more about Outerbelt, check out the full story at Drink Up Columbus.

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Food & Drink

4 brewers talk past, present future of C-bus beer scene

Mike Thomas

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With the rise of craft beer, celebrations of America’s most popular alcoholic beverage are nearly as plentiful as the varieties of suds found on supermarket shelves.

Whether it’s a day set aside in honor of a given style (IPA day is observed Aug. 2) or a pseudo-holiday cash grab from a major international brewery, (Arthur’s Day is not a thing, Guinness) beer fans have plenty of occasions throughout the year to toast their favorite drink.

In honor of Columbus Craft Beer Week (May 17-25), (614) spoke to Columbus brewers Colin Vent at Seventh Son Brewing, Dan Shaffer at Land-Grant, Craig O’Herron at Sideswipe Brewing, and Chris Davison, at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing in order to explore the beginnings of brew in the capital city, where it stands today, and what the future might hold.

(614): When you think of Columbus beer history, what comes to mind?

Vent: The recent history is pretty young. We were 7th or 8th six years ago, and now there’s over 50. Barley’s, Smoke House, Elevator, Columbus Brewing Company—those were around for 10 or 15 years, then all of the sudden, Four String, us, North High, and soon thereafter Land Grant popped up, and from there it’s just been crazy. Obviously all of Columbus [beer] history goes back hundreds of years; there used to be major production. Hoster was one of the largest breweries in the country.

Shaffer: I think of Barley’s, CBC, the people that were there at the beginning. We’re all standing on their shoulders. Obviously it’s all come a very long way. I’m trying to think of what the first craft beer I had in Columbus was. It was probably a CBC IPA.

(614): What are some prevailing trends that you see happening with beer in Columbus today?

O’Herron: I feel like we’ve gotten over a lot of the recent trends. We saw a lot of the New England IPAs, and then Brut IPAs to a lesser extent. I don’t know if there’s a trend that’s happening right this moment, but I’m sure we’ll see something new and wacky come around.

Davison: The national trend has been IPA, IPA, IPA, and I think Columbus is a microcosm of that. Ohio is an IPA state, and Columbus is an IPA city even more so than some other cities in the state. We’ve got a lot of the top-tier IPA breweries right now, a lot of people making really good IPA. I think that’s going to continue to rise, and I think we’re going to continue to see more styles [of IPA].

(614): What does the future hold for Columbus Beer? Have we reached a saturation point on how many breweries the city can sustain?

Vent: I don’t know that Columbus could take another 10 or 20 Land Grants and Seventh Sons, but I think it could take another 10 or 20 [breweries] that just want to have an awesome neighborhood brewpub. As many breweries as an area can sustain, that’s what there will be.

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Davison: I think it all comes down to what those breweries are trying to accomplish. Trying to be a production brewery that’s distributing cans across the entire state is going to get harder and harder, not that some won’t continue to grow and do that. I think there’s a ton of room for local brewpubs that don’t even want to sell their beer outside of their own bar. Every bar in this city could theoretically brew its own beer, and there’s no reason the city can’t sustain 500 breweries that are tiny like that.

Shaffer: Obviously people are gravitating towards local. I think it’s really cool that every neighborhood, instead of a watering hole, can have a local brewery. I think we’ll probably see more sours, probably more specialization. IPA’s aren’t going anywhere—there will be more IPA variants. When there is this much competition, you can’t afford to be a generic beer brewery anymore. There has to be something you’re passionate about, whether it’s Belgian or English styles, or pilsners, high-gravity stouts—whatever. There’s got to be something that you can say “this is what we’re all about.”

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