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Good Grub, On the Go

The term “fast-casual dining” might seem like an oxymoron—or even an underhanded attempt by restaurateurs at letting their customers know that their business is a notch above McDonalds—while still cheaper than Hyde Park. But the model of juxtaposing higher quality food with speedy service is rapidly becoming the standard for the food and drink industry. [...]
Danny Hamen



The term “fast-casual dining” might seem like an oxymoron—or even an underhanded attempt by restaurateurs at letting their customers know that their business is a notch above McDonalds—while still cheaper than Hyde Park. But the model of juxtaposing higher quality food with speedy service is rapidly becoming the standard for the food and drink industry.

Since the arrival of the first Chipotle burrito —whom have undoubtedly help put the fast-casual dining experience on the map — business owners are catching on that consumers don’t enjoy explaining to their server that they are in a hurry, only to receive an eye roll and the irking potential for saliva in the bottom of their Pepsi. Perhaps this speaks to the humanity of our times—instant satisfaction and quality ingredients for fewer than 10 bucks, the holy grail of grub philosophies. Columbus restaurants like North Star and Piada have proved that splitting the difference between casual dining and fast food is really not that extreme of a business model, but moreover an innovative foodie phenomenon.

Being in a rush doesn’t mean the quality of your diet has to take a nosedive into Big Mac territory, for these Columbus restaurants have embraced this new standard—to eat, drink, be merry, and have the option to GTFO in under 20 minutes.

Greek Express Multiple Locations

Family owned and operated, Greek Express brings the classics to the limelight. Served with fries, Greek Express’s flagship $7 gyro smothered in that mysterious goopy white cucumber and yogurt sauce has certainly made a mark on the Greek dining scene. With six locations under three different names –—Greek Express, Acropolis, and No. 1 Euro shop—you are likely to be in close vicinity to a steamy pile of lamb leg on pita. Get in, get a gyro, try not to pronounce the G, get out, and forget that lambs are simultaneously the cutest and most tasty creatures in the animal kingdom.

Pizza Cucinova 1187 Olentangy River Rd.

When I think “artisan pizza,” my mind drifts to a horrifying scenario where I just spent 40 bucks and three hours of my life waiting on a lackluster margarita pie prepared by a condescending, mustachieod chef named “Luigi.” Pizza Cucinova understands my fear of high-class pizza commitment by bringing the artisan pizza to the fast-casual arena without having to surrender quality tomatoes. The restaurant’s “craft your own pizza” model—made in two to three minutes with unlimited toppings for $8—makes me regret poor pizza choices at other traditional spots in the past. However, if you are unable to trust your pizza instincts, Pizza Cucinova has a variety of chef’s creations -like Steak & Gorgonzola and Wild Mushroom that are sure to transform you into a pizza connoisseur—without forcing you to take out a second mortgage on your home.

Yats Cajun Creole 1386 Grandview Ave.

You don’t have to be submersed in colorful beads on Bourbon Street to get decent Cajun anymore. Since Yats Cajun Creole arrived in Columbus, it has been bringing soulful cuisine to our hungry faces without simultaneously crushing our wallet and watch. Even though the food comes out faster than a ragtime trombone solo, each dish is slow-cooked with oodles of Dixieland love. For $6-10, you can get a kickin’ drunk chicken, vegan black chili, or a gob of mouthwatering gumbo before you can say jambalaya 10 times fast. The food is flavorful and nourishing, and fits the niche of fast-casual dining with a welcoming kick of Nola spice.

Bibibop Asian Grill Multiple Locations

Yes, it is really fun to say, and even more so with a mouth stuffed with teriyaki vegetables. Inspired by the Korean dish bibimbap, literally meaning “mixed rice,” Bibibop is making a hell of a hullabaloo in the fast-casual scene by offering healthy, Asian-inspired dishes that typically start with a bowl of sticky rice. For about $8, you pick a protein, a sauce, and toppings—the “choose your own adventure” of neo-Asian cuisine-—which should certainly be paired with edamame and a cup of miso soup. There are no fryers in Bibipop—only steamers and a grill—so you don’t have to hate yourself for eating out on a Monday night. Soon, you will find your go-to dish—the one that brings you Zen, fulfillment, and a happy Buddha belly.

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Food & Drink

You’ll like Buckeye Donut’s newest treat a la lot




Columbus’ favorite donut shop will be rolling out [literally] a brand new treat just in time for the annual Columbus Food Truck Festival.

We think you’ll like it a la lot.

Ice cream and donuts will converge in perfect harmony for Buckeye Donuts Apple Fritter A La Mode! That’s right, a cool scoop of vanilla ice cream will rest on top of the fan favorite sweet and fruity fried pastry, all drizzled in sticky caramel. You might need a napkin (or sleeve) for this one.


This special goodie will be available Friday and Saturday from 11:00 AM- 11:00 PM only at the Columbus Food Truck Festival on the Scioto Mile.

Click here for our advise about how to optimize your experience at the foodie fest.

BEHOLD! The newest member of the Buckeye Donuts Family: Apple Fritter A La Mode! 🍩🍦Get your hands on this bad boy…

Posted by Buckeye Donuts on Thursday, August 15, 2019
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Food & Drink

Rossi or Ratssi? Rodents force closure at Short North restaurant




Someone is getting assigned to some “Charlie Work” after The Rossi Bar and Kitchen was served a red sticker by the Columbus Public Health Department.

The Short North restaurants was issued an emergency order yesterday because of “rodent activity in the basement prep area.” Reportedly, inspectors discovered dead rats in traps and excessive rat feces in the bowels of the 895 N. High St. building.


Rossi will remain closed until the facility is cleaned, holes in the basement are repaired, and the rats are under control, according to a post from Tom Sussi, a local licensed and insured Private Investigator.

Sussi added that sources informed him that employees are not being paid on time.

Rats!The rodents forced a popular Short North restaurant to shut its doors.The Columbus Public Health Department…

Posted by Tom Sussi on Thursday, August 15, 2019

In an Instagram post, Rossi announced it’d be closed “for the next few days due to emergency repair.”

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Food & Drink

Fried, Smothered, & Loaded: Vegetarian Junk Food

Mitch Hooper



Whenever the words “vegetarian” or “vegan” are thrown around, people’s defense walls go up as they instantly imagine bland salads or unseasoned tofu. Since both diets have become wildly popular trends in the world of eating, they are often associated with exclusive, healthy, clean, natural, raw, whatever…eating.

As a vegetarian, I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. Sure, we vegetarians eat our share of salads, and occasionally tofu is substituted for chicken on our health-conscious dishes, but that’s not the full picture of our plates. Whether it’s loading up on carb-heavy sides, covering things in cheese (or vegan “cheese”), or living off the appetizer menu; living a plant-based diet can be just as much fun and games as any other fare – and here are a few dishes from around Columbus to prove it.

AM Philly

Angry Baker Olde Towne East | 891 Oak St.

Angry Baker has found a way to cover things in cheese and still please the vegans. The AM Philly comes loaded with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and peppers with tofu scramble atop a fresh and soft hoagie bun. To keep it in true “cheese/steak” form, they top the entire masterpiece with vegan cheddar cheese and a little vegan mayo. The sandwich is every bit as flavorful as a regular Philly, plus it’s just as messy to eat. I recommend a few squirts of Sriracha on it, but then again, I recommend that on everything

Buffalo Mac

Woodhouse Vegan Pop-up | 1038 N High St.

Keeping it cheesy, but plant-based, comes from the vegan pop-up at Oddfellows with the Buffalo Mac. The entree is relatively simple, but that just means more chances to really focus on flavor. The Beyond Meat “chicken” strips are marinated in buffalo sauce to really pack a punch and then is topped with more buffalo sauce and dairy-free ranch dressing with a bed of dairy-free mac and “cheese” to dig into. It’s finished off with some raw red onion and scallions to fully recreate that buffalo-style experience. Keep an eye out for Woodhouse’s first brick-and-mortar location setting up shop in the Italian Village.

Fried Cauliflower 

Hadley’s Bar + Kitchen | 260 S Fourth St.

Cauliflower is the new favorite vegetable amongst dieters for being low-carb. It’s inviting to a variety of flavors, and it can be used in many creative ways. At Hadley’s, the fried cauliflower resembles the bar-style boneless wings you might be craving since ditching meat. It’s the little things you miss as a plant-eater (like dipping sauces). So finding a place that offers three different sauce options—Dr. Pepper barbeque, house hot, and General Tso’s—is quite a gratifying moment. Dunk these addicting suckers into Hadley’s house-made ranch or bleu cheese and you’ll be fighting your carnivorous friends off as they ask to try a bite.


Parma, Italy

Melt | 4206 Worth Ave. & 840 N High St.

Usually Melt’s sheer amount of dairy usage is enough to scare off any vegan within a 10-mile radius, but that all changed once Melt added an entire menu dedicated to vegan options. There are tons of options to choose from, but the Parma, Italy might take the caloric crown when it comes to plant-based indulgence. The sandwich features vegan chicken (or fried tofu) smothered in basil marinara with roasted garlic and vegan mozzarella cheese all in between two crusty pieces of garlic toast. It might not hurt to park a little further away from Melt just to burn a few extra calories on the way to and from devouring way too much food. 

The Joe Vegan Sloppy Sandwich

Lineage Brewing | 2971 N High St.

“Have some more sloppy joes! I made ‘em extra sloppy for you!” If that scene from Billy Madison still haunts you any time you go to break out some Manwich from the cupboard, put that canned sauce down and go to Lineage. Immediately order a beer to wash away the memory of the lunch lady, and then snag the Joe Vegan sloppy sandwich off the menu. It’s a hearty combination of lentils and kidney beans in the iconic sloppy joe sauce, and it’s topped with raw onion and your choice of vegan cheese sauce or cheddar cheese. Throw in a side of potato chips and it’s like being a teenager all over again except this time you didn’t have to steal your dad’s beer.

Vegan Barbeque Jackfruit

Alchemy | 625 Parsons Ave. 

& 1439 Grandview Ave. 

Jackfruit is a delicate fruit that tastes almost nothing like fruit. It’s a great vessel for sauces and flavorings, but if it’s not cooked properly, it can turn into a mushy mess. Thankfully, Alchemy has perfected this process with their vegan take on a classic barbeque pulled pork sandwich. The jackfruit is tender, but stays in form on the roll. For added texture and taste, the sandwich is served on a crunchy ciabatta roll with carrot cabbage slaw in an herbed cashew cream.

Brussel Sprouts

Barrel On High | 1120 N High St.

Don’t turn your nose up on Brussel sprouts, these green brain-looking vegetables are great for absorbing flavor and they have that “meaty” taste. At Barrel on High, these Brussels are oven-roasted and tossed into a Thai chili sauce making them potentially your new favorite thing. While the Thai chili brussel sprouts are worth tripling up on and calling it a dinner, might I point you in the direction of the Impossible Burger as well. The Impossible Burger has grown to fame because it resembles every aspect of meat while remaining plant-based, and Barrel’s straight-up approach of making an American classic go vegan will have you double checking the menu to make sure it’s not actually beef.

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