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Community Plates

Lunch is hardly the most inspiring meal of the day. It lacks the depth of dinner, the boldness of breakfast, and is often little more than a midday dividing line marked with another boring burger eaten on the go. I’ll admit, that’s my routine too, eating lunch in my lap while waiting at a stoplight. [...]
J.R. McMillan

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Lunch is hardly the most inspiring meal of the day. It lacks the depth of dinner, the boldness of breakfast, and is often little more than a midday dividing line marked with another boring burger eaten on the go.

I’ll admit, that’s my routine too, eating lunch in my lap while waiting at a stoplight. But today I picked up a stack of pizzas, a few dozen baked potatoes, three gallons of clam chowder, some crab legs, and a pile of bagels, scones, and coffee cakes. So much, I barely fit it all in my car. Yet, I didn’t eat any of it—and lunch has never been more inspiring.

That’s because I started “running” for Community Plates, a volunteer corps of drivers who close the gap between restaurants that throw leftover food away and shelters and food pantries that desperately need it.

“Once you do your first run, you’re kind of hooked,” confessed Susan Keiser-Smith, the organizer for Community Plates in Columbus. “The person who started it here was my neighbor, so I originally volunteered as a runner. She was a student also working full-time and eventually asked, ‘Would you like to take this over?’ So, I did.”

Community Plates offers a streamlined solution to a complex problem: plenty of restaurants have extra food and ingredients at the end of the day, but no practical way to deliver them consistently to organizations that can put them to good use. Improvised and ad hoc solutions tend to fail or fall short over time—like a well-intentioned machine, just not a well-oiled one. Every microwave oven on the planet has a button for popcorn, yet we still lack the technology to redirect food destined for the dumpster to folks who are hungry.

Founder Jeff Schacher had drifted into software development after a stint as an aspiring actor and part-time waiter in New York. His software company now helps restaurants manage labor and inventory throughout the country. Executive Director Kevin Mullins was a pastor whose passion for fighting America’s growing hunger crisis was inspired by his children. They and their classmates had organized to pool their lunch leftovers together to send home with fellow students who may not have had enough to eat for dinner.

And that was the impetus for the idea. Connect people with a few clicks and allow them to organize themselves. Community Plates was created to be push-button simple, just like microwave popcorn.

Signing up is just as simple. In less than five minutes, I’d logged onto their website, created my volunteer profile and was on my way to my first run. From your smartphone, you can easily see where and when food needs to be picked up, where it needs to go and how close both locations are to your regular route or destination. Imagine Uber meets Meals on Wheels.

“We now have more than 300 runners signed up in Columbus, and between 50 to 70 runs a week,” said Keiser-Smith. “When I started, I thought it would mostly be students. But there are a lot of retirees as well.”

“When I got to the Whole Foods at Easton for the first time, there was a receiving manager who directed me to the loading dock and all of their bread was clearly labeled,” noted Richard Hood, a recent volunteer who also happens to be an Uber driver and independent broker for outsource manufacturing.

The familiar convergence of simplicity and efficiency found in Community Plates was not lost on him.

“My first run was to Faith Mission downtown. A lady in chef’s coat came out and her face lit up,” he explained. “I’m out there driving anyway, so why not put some of those miles toward helping people?”

“One of the design features of Community Plates is that you can take a single run. The commitment is literally only to do it once,” Hood noted. “Then you can then adopt a run, which means you’re committing to do that same run however often they need it.”

“If you adopt a run, and say you’re going on vacation or can’t get it for some reason, you can drop the run and someone else will pick it up that one time,” Keiser-Smith explained further. She said most runs are eventually adopted, but new donors are always creating new ones. Current Columbus donors include notable local and national names, like Cameron Mitchell restaurants, Hot Chicken Takeover, Pistacia Vera, City Barbeque, Red Lobster, Starbucks, Little Caesar’s, and Bob Evans.

“Most of the shelters and food pantries are downtown, so that tends to be where most of our runs are delivered,” Keiser-Smith said. “But there are also food pantries in Dublin, Worthington, and Westerville. Some people think there isn’t as much need in the suburbs, but there is—much more than you think.”

To get involved, run on over to communityplates.org/columbus-oh

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Food & Drink

National Brisket Day is Tomorrow!

Julian Foglietti

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Photo by Brian Kaiser

With meat shortages starting to take their toll and National Brisket Day around the corner here's a roundup of some spots you can go to to get your brisket fix.

Legacy Smoke House

With their main location in Hilliard and a food truck moving throughout the city, Legacy Smoke House is a solid choice for brisket on National Brisket Day, just be sure to get there while supplies last. Enjoy!

Pecan Pennys

Just off Main Street, Pecan Pennys is ready to fulfill your brisket needs. If your looking to feed a family though be sure to get your orders in advance as they're requesting 24 hours notice on dinner bundles.

Ray-Ray's Hog Pit

With locations in Franklinton, Westerville, Clintonville and Powell Ray Ray's Hog Pit is open for business with brisket stocked at all locations. #NationalBrisketDay is the best day!

Hoggy’s Restaurant and Catering

Located on Bethel Road, Hoggy’s will be stocking brisket for both dine-in or carryout. Feel free to stop in or stop by!

The Pit

With a new location opened up on Parsons Ave. The Pit BBQ will be offering brisket for the National day. Celebrate with some tasty brisket!

City Barbeque

City Barbeque will be offering brisket for the National day! So get excited and get ready for some yummy BBQ brisket!

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Community

{UPDATED} Indoor Dining: what’s NOT opening?

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Los Gauchos

PINS Mechanical Co.

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Hey Pinheads. We're so excited to hear that our world is beginning to reopen! Many of you have reached out asking about our opening plans so we wanted to provide a brief update on Pins Mechanical Co. While we fully trust and support the decisions of our local leaders, it’s our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our team members and guests, while not sacrificing the experience that makes Pins, Pins! With that in mind, none of our locations will be opening in May. There are many unknowns with COVID-19 and we hope that taking this extra time will help our guests and teammates feel better about the measures we’ve put in place to keep all of us safe. For example, on top of our already stringent cleaning procedures, we’re installing UV technology at all locations (ensuring you always have clean balls to play with). We’re looking forward to welcoming back our kick-ass team to train and adjust to this new normal. Once our people feel comfortable + confident, we’ll know it’s time to get rollin’ again! Thank you for your incredible support, online sales, photo shares + kind words over the last two months. Even when you couldn’t show up, you showed up and we’ll never forget it! We’re hopeful that everyone will be safe and smart as we begin to reopen the doors to the small businesses that make our communities so special. See you soon, Pinheads!

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Old North Arcade

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Dear friends, . As you are most likely aware, Governor DeWine has permitted the reopening of bars and restaurants for dine-in seating effective 5/21. We are very grateful that our leadership is now offering businesses the choice to do what they think is right. We offer no judgment for the bars and restaurants that are/have chosen to open. However, for our particular business, and for our staff, we still think it's too early. We are going to remain closed this week and next but do hope to open soon. Your understanding and patience is greatly appreciated and we cannot wait to see you all. It is important to us that we apply an extra layer of safety and precaution on top of the govermental recommendations. Tentatively, we are looking at the end of May to reopen in a very limited capacity but we're following local and national developments very closesly so will be quick to bail if things turn south. Your continued support has been quite humbling. Thank you. Stay healthy, support local, and be more than kind to one another. . Cautiously optimistic, . ONA Staff

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Watershed Kitchen + Bar

101 Beer kitchen

They are delaying opening dine-in service until May 26th.

Matt the Miller's Tavern

Stay tuned on social for patio and dine-in updates!

J. Gumbo's

J. Gumbo's will continue to stay open for online ordering for pick up and delivery - stay tuned for dine-in updates.

Mouton on High

The Whitney House

The Whitney House will be opening Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 11 am.

The Guild House

Stay tuned for opening dates!

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Stay safe everyone 💕

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Smoked On High

Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace

The Woodbury

The Woodbury will be opening its doors for dine-in service on June 1 2020.

Roosters

Roosters are not opening dine-in until May 26th 2020.

The Eagle

The Eagle is temporarily closed - stay tuned on social for updates!

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In light of the government mandated closure of dine-in business for an indeterminable period of time, we’ve made the incredibly hard decision to temporarily close The Eagle Columbus. . Given the truly unprecedented and quickly evolving nature of this health crisis, we’ve been forced to make the best decisions we can, with the information we have. As the true scale of this crisis has been revealed, it’s become impossible to deny the impact this mandate will have on our business and team members. This decision was made as all of our decisions have been: with the health, happiness, well being and best interests of our guests and team members in mind. . The state of Thunderdome Restaurant Group is strong and we look forward to seeing and serving you all on the other side of this. Truth, courage, and be well.

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Lavash Cafe

Tiger + Lily

Tiger + Lily is sticking to carry out for the time being. Follow them on social for updates for dine-in!

Yats Grandview

Red Lobster

Red Lobster is continuing to stick to curbside pickup, delivery, or touchless pick-up.

Harvest Pizza

Bareburger Columbus

Bareburger is opening for dine-in on May 26th, 2020.

Mezze

City Barbeque

Local Cantina - Creekside, Grandview, Dublin, Westerville, Hilliard Locations

Creekside Local Cantina is delaying opening indoor dining until May 26, 2020.

OH Pizza and Brew

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Coronavirus

Don’t be that guy/gal who forces your favorite bar/restaurant to permanently close; here are the rules

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Once the flood of COVID-related documentaries start to infiltrate our Netflix and Hulu feeds, one of the most debated topics will be which smoking gun the auteur chooses. NBA player Rudy Gobert recklessly rubbing his hands over every microphone during a press conference days before testing positive comes to mind first. The spring break bro who wouldn’t let the virus stop him from raging will make its rounds. Even the scene at Standard Hall made some people’s skin crawl.

The Ohio Investigative Unit will be doing its best to monitor situations at restaurants and bars in order to prevent any future anecdotes like the ones listed above. Local law enforcement agencies will be assisting the OIU to make sure that establishments are complying with the Dine Safe Ohio order. With the issues that were brought up following the opening of outside dining on May 15, the OIU has made specific stipulations for patrons to follow:

  • 6-foot social distancing between employees AND members of the public
  • patrons must be seated while eating and/or drinking 
  • no more than 10 people to a table
  • no billiards, video/arcade games, dancing, or card playing
  • patrons must follow specific guidelines put in place by restaurant/bar

For those who have no shame dancing by themselves in public, you’re golden. However, patrons can be written up for not following the OIU’s guidelines. 

Some people may be able to shoulder a citation, but bars and restaurants are the ones who have the most to lose here. In a press conference on May 18, Gov. Mike DeWine mentioned that OIU will issue citations that could result in the permanent loss of liquor licenses.

So once again the ball is in the consumer’s court: follow these very simple rules and avoid the risk of putting your favorite restaurants and bars out of business for good. In 2020, being spring break bro is the worst look.

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