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Restaurants picked for the Slow Food Columbus list

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Restaurants that make it through the rigorous wringer to have the Snail of Approval on the Slow Food’s lists are the anti-fast food joint. The restaurants are focused on local ingredients, food that tastes good and is actually good for you (because that can exist), a low environmental impact and every part of production of products is fair. The group announced its very first Columbus list and the global movement was very selective in the Columbus restaurants that it chose.

Heirloom Cafe: The restaurant is located within the Wexner Center, and patrons can actually see herbs growing under lights behind the register. Breakfast is served all day, and Heirloom serves up seasonal ingredients in all its dishes.

Portia Cafe: Located in North Columbus, Portia Cafe takes healthy options seriously, not even serving ice in their filtered water because they think without ice is the healthiest way. Kind instructions also help patrons figure out the best (and classiest) way to eat a lettuce wrap while attempting to not look too foolish. It’s not easy.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (of course): Is there any list Jeni won’t make? From the milk to the ingredients to the flavors that change with a drop of a hat, Jeni’s makes it fresh and has expanded her franchise all over Columbus and even to other states.

Skillet Rustic Urban Food: Tucked away into German Village, the breakfast eatery is almost never without a line spilling out the door no matter the weather, and it always seems to be worth it. Serving breakfast and lunch with hearty, fresh meals most patrons don’t care that they have to wait an hour outside for a table in the small restaurant.

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Food & Drink

Burger Bonanza: New restaurant opening in downtown tomorrow

614now Staff

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Burger fans in Downtown Columbus will soon have a new option to enjoy, according to a report from Columbus Business First. Belly Burger, a new concept from restaurateur Jeff Kover, will open this Friday at 26 N High St.

The location is the former site of Oliver's, which Kover purchased over a year ago from previous owner Yavonne Sarber.

Belly Burger will expand on Oliver's burger-centric menu while providing an update to the look and feel of the space. Once open, the menu will feature straightforward offerings with single, double, and triple three-ounce patties, a chicken sandwich, and fries for a side. Boozy milkshakes are also on the menu.

For more information, visit the Belly Burger on Facebook.

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Portia’s Diner takes root on High Street

Regina Fox

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One of Columbus' favorite vegan restaurants has taken root in a new location. Portia's Diner is officially open at 3269 N High St. in the former Whole World Natural Bakery and Restaurant in Clintonville.

https://www.facebook.com/PortiasCafe/posts/3132161976810359

Portia's Diner offers comfort foods like pancakes, waffles, hamburgers, and burritos—all made with the same high-quality vegan, non-GMO, organic products customers have come to expect from Portia's.

Portia's Diner is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8am- 3pm. Visit portiascafe.com for more information.

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Local nonprofit catering company announces new downtown cafe

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Nonprofit catering company and workforce development program Freedom a la Cart has announced plans to open its first full-service cafe + bakery and survivor resource center in downtown Columbus next summer at 123 E Spring St.

A nonprofit catering company and workforce development program that empowers and employs survivors of human trafficking, the Freedom a la Cart Cafe + Bakery will serve fresh-baked pastries, scratch-made meals, and locally roasted coffee under the direction of Consulting Chef BJ Lieberman. The menu will feature Freedom a la Cart favorites from the catering menu, as well as additional “a la minute” selections such as avocado and tomato tartini and house made brioche cinnamon toast.

The flagship cafe + bakery is expected to employ about 20 survivors, doubling the current number of survivors in Freedom’s workforce development program. The cafe also allows Freedom to extend its workforce training program to include valuable front-of-house job skills like point of sale operation, customer service education, and barista training, thereby broadening survivors’ marketability to transition into jobs in the community.

Skill-building and bonding will extend beyond the kitchen to the new “Freedom Home”—2,500 square feet of program and office spaces on the cafe’s second floor for survivors to call their own. The space will include a lounge area, a computer station for job searching and educational assistance, a trauma counseling office, and an area for group gatherings.

“In less than ten years, we’ve seen Freedom a la Cart evolve from a food cart to a successful catering operation, and now, a full-service cafe and community resource center,” said Paula Haines, Executive Director of Freedom a la Cart. “The Freedom Cafe + Bakery will not only allow us to share Freedom a la Cart’s delicious menu offerings with more of the community but will also broaden our outreach and advocacy efforts for human trafficking survivors throughout Columbus.”

Starting in the Summer of 2020, Freedom a la Cart Cafe + Bakery will be open to the public for breakfast and lunch from Monday through Saturday from 7am- 3pm. Catering orders will continue to be accepted at freedomalacart.org/catering/ or by phone.

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