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Columbus Brunchin’ – Hampton’s on King

614now Staff

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You get some eggs, a choice of meat, a style of potato, and if you’re lucky, the option of chocolate chips in your pancakes. It all usually kind of blends together, tastes more or less like the greasy griddle it was cooked on, and probably smells overwhelmingly of salt.

That said, I found it surprising that Hamptons on King—the dimly lit bar known for their stellar patio and cheap drinks—actually got me excited about brunch again. To be fair, Hamptons have been boasting a reputable lunch for sometime, so it was only natural for them to throw their hat into the brunch ring.

In order to give the bar an edge on the Columbus brunch scene, Hampton’s owner Matt McLeod wanted to do something different: breakfast sushi. If you are like me, you are picturing seaweed, eggs, and raw fish. It’s not that, I promise. Imagine bite-sized breakfast portions, like a miniature twisted cinnamon roll or a couple of eggs wrapped in bacon on a tiny piece of toast. Yeah, that’s more like it.

“I’ve personally never seen breakfast sushi done at an actual restaurant or anything—I’ve just kinda seen people do it on the Internet. I thought it looked good, and ended up playing around with it. It tasted great, and it was kind of what I thought we should have as one of the focuses.”

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The fun take on breakfast is piloted by Desmond Calhoun, sous chef and man in charge of Hampton’s menu. In addition to his Detroiter grandmother Dotty’s secret biscuit recipe, his approach is pretty simple.

“First things first, I need fresh stuff. What a lot of people don’t know that fresh can actually be less expensive than buying things with preservatives. And no microwaves.”

As a member of the brunch serving elite, I know all too well that the deployment of GFS trucks and microwaved food is, well, the norm. “I can taste a microwave. People can taste if is has been half-assed,” he assures me with a laugh as he hands off my first plate. First up is the B.E.A. Roll: scrambled eggs, bacon, and avocado stuff the shell of a flaky crescent roll, making for a bite-sized delight to dip into the housemade pico de gallo. As promised, the ingredients are on-point, the eggs pasture-raised at Copia Farms, a family homestead in Johnstown, Ohio.

And of course, the brunch menu is only as good as its bloody mary—and theirs has plenty of housemade goodness, too—from the hot sauce in the glass to the buffet of pickled vegetables and candied bacon atop it.

It was savory sushi for the main course, and the sweet Strawberry Roll for the palate cleanser. Thinly sliced strawberries served in a strawberry cream-stuffed, tightly rolled, vanilla pancake, it’s light and fluffy, and packs away nicely on the hot summer morning.

Well, fortunately for me, the food kept coming. Dotty’s Biscuts. Homemade Jam. (Three kinds!) Grits with avocado. Fried chicken with pork gravy. I don’t remember much of what happened during this time, but I do know that it eventually involved heavy waddling. After a few strong drinks and a couple empty plates, I napped the rest of my Sunday away, belly full of a renewed faith in brunch.

The new brunch menu at Hampton’s on King (234 King Ave.) is available until 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

[symple_button url=”https://www.hamptonsonking.com/food-c1vjv” color=”black” button_target=”_self”]Menu[/symple_button]
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Food & Drink

We Sheet you not, Sheetz is coming to Columbus

Mike Thomas

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Regional gas station chains seem to accumulate cult followings of loyal customers. While word of a new convenience store coming to town may not seem like a big deal at first, just ask your friends from Pennsylvania about Sheetz.

The popular chain of convenience stores and coffee shops headquartered in Altoona, Pennsylvania has announced an expansion into the Columbus market with this remarkable hype video posted to Facebook:

Sheetz locations offer fresh, made-to-order food options that set the chain apart from the usual gas station fare.

No open date for the Central Ohio location has been announced at this time. For more, visit www.sheetz.com/

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Raising the Steaks: Ruth’s Chris returns to Columbus with new Short North digs

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With no shortage of local competitors welcoming carnivores, Ruth’s Chris Steak House has opened its doors in the Short North. After shuttering its Crosswoods location in 2016 due to “market changes,” the Florida-based steakhouse is back in the Bus.

The new restaurant promises a fine-dining experience tailored especially to the Columbus market and its location.

Photos: Rebecca Tien

“Knowing that we are across from the convention center, this is one of our bigger locations to allow room for a larger bar, private dining rooms and main dining room,” says Maria Policastro, general manager of Ruth’s Chris Columbus. “We kept the Short North Arts District culture in mind during every step of the design process as well, making sure we included elements that incorporated the downtown skyline and ever-present Ohio buckeye trees.”

Indeed, the entrance feels homey and features local art on display to bring some “Columbus” to the space. The building was once home to a hotel, and while undeniably formal, the dinner-only restaurant nevertheless offers a warm and welcoming feel. The waitstaff has its service down to an absolute science. Hand-polished wine glasses top each table and every element of the dining experience is expertly attended to.

Regardless of whether diners care to indulge in one of its more than 250 wines or a vintage-inspired craft cocktail, the main event here is the food. Its extra-thick-cut, wet-aged USDA prime steaks are broiled in a trademark 1800-degree oven and served sizzling on a 500-degree plate so every last bite stays warm.

“From our food to our service, Ruth’s Chris really stands out on its own,” said Policastro. “Ruth believed in treating her guests and employees as family, so that’s how we treat them too—by being warm and welcoming and paying attention to every little detail.”

Ruth Fertel mortgaged her home in 1965 and purchased Chris’s Steak House, a 60-seat restaurant located in New Orleans. After a fire forced her to move locations and rename the restaurant, she settled on Ruth’s Chris Steak House, hence the somewhat strange moniker.

Fertel, who died in 2002 at 75, would likely be shocked to see the size of the private dining rooms in the Columbus restaurant that bears her name. “Our private dining rooms are some of the largest at any Ruth’s Chris,” says Policastro. “When designing our private dining rooms, it was important to us that we made enough space to accommodate our customers in this busy area, along with larger parties who choose to dine with us after visiting the Convention Center or coming from the Ohio State University nearby.”

The private dining rooms each have their own unique Columbus vibe, with names like the Goodale, Victorian and Buckeye Rooms. Which is fitting because, “we’re around the corner from Columbus’ historic Goodale Park, we’re part of the Victorian Village, and we are in the heart of Buckeye nation,” Policastro said. Ruth’s Chris Steak House Columbus is already seeing its private rooms booking up for upcoming events and holidays. “We cannot wait to host these special moments for those who live in and visit the Short North Arts District.”

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse is located at 511 N High Street. Learn more at ruthschris.com/restaurant-locations/columbus.

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Easton’s “dramatic” rooftop bar and restaurant opens this week

614now Staff

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Heads up, Easton, a snazzy new concept is opening this week. Restoration Hardware, or RH, will open The Gallery at Easton Town Center and RH Rooftop Restaurant & Park and Wine & Barista Bar on Thursday, December 12, at 11am.

According to a release, The Gallery "represents the brand’s quest to revolutionize physical retailing," with "immersive experience features artistic installations of luxury home furnishings in a gallery setting."

The three-story, 55,000-square-foot space will serve as "one of the most comprehensive collections of luxury home furnishings in the world."

The "dramatic" Rooftop Restaurant will offer "a year-round, skylit garden escape offering a timeless, ingredient-driven menu beneath a soaring atrium with retractable glass walls, and sparkling crystal chandeliers.

The restaurant will open onto a landscaped park with outdoor lounge spaces and trellised London plane trees.

Situated just off the grand stair, the Wine & Barista Bar will serve craft espresso, fresh-baked pastries, and artisanal wines to enjoy in the Rooftop Park.

This development will act as the anchor for Easton's new $500 million expansion.

RH Columbus, The Gallery at Easton Town Center is located at 4120 Worth Ave., Columbus. For more information, visit eastontowncenter.com.

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