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Second Helpings

Success is never satisfied — it’s always hungry. Somewhere between critical mass and escape velocity, every entrepreneur eventually finds the enviable opportunity to expand. But growing out (or up) isn’t always an option. That quaint little sandwich shop or sweet spot easily loses its eccentric charm when a business boom actually undermines a burgeoning brand. [...]
J.R. McMillan



Success is never satisfied — it’s always hungry. Somewhere between critical mass and escape velocity, every entrepreneur eventually finds the enviable opportunity to expand.

But growing out (or up) isn’t always an option. That quaint little sandwich shop or sweet spot easily loses its eccentric charm when a business boom actually undermines a burgeoning brand. Sometimes, staying small and simple means starting over in a new space, and struggling to find familiarity with a new clientele.

“I knew it was time to open another location when we had two to three-hour wait times,” noted Joe Kahn, owner of Condado.

“I had come into this market knowing that Columbus was the test market capital of the country. What I didn’t know was how great people were out here, how culturally diverse it was, and just how loyal people are if you have a great product.”

The distinctive “Day of the Dead” decor and build-to-order tacos with a sushi-style ordering menu have helped Kahn hone both his service model and supply chain. That was one of the key lessons he carried from his original Short North location downtown to Columbus Commons.

“I knew we had to make sure our systems were in place, management in place — and we were to the point that my recipes never changed, and our product went out with our highest standard of freshness,” he said. “My philosophy is throw out a $1,000 dollars in product if it’s not up to my standards to make a 1,000 new customers.”

What started as an experiment in Columbus has become a springboard to the next level. The appeal of what Kahn calls “West Coast Gringo Tacos” found an enthusiastic audience in Central Ohio, with ample offerings for vegetarians, vegans and those going gluten-free.

And his commitment to locally-sourced ingredients will pull fellow Ohio suppliers like Koki’s Tortillas and Middlefield Cheese into new and near markets like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati as well.

Koko Tea Salon & Bakery didn’t need national notoriety or tea leaves to know a bigger space was in their future.

Though their organic offerings — including red velvet cupcakes made from beet juice instead of dye — were already huge hits, the tiny shop in Gahanna’s Creekside community couldn’t even accommodate a baker’s dozen for private tea parties.

“I think the good thing about starting in a tiny location is you learn what you actually need, as there is no room for anything superfluous,” explained owner Ava Misseldine. “As soon as I saw what has become our second location, I knew it was the perfect space.”

Misseldine recently opened their downtown location in the former ballroom of the old Seneca Hotel on East Broad Street — a distinct departure from the petite, dollhouse scale and detail of her original location. It features marble floors, 25-foot ceilings with windows to match, and a mezzanine with seating for more than 100 guests.“At first, the space was a bit overwhelming with all of the possibilities of things we could put into it,” she said. “But then you take a deep breath, step back, and say, ‘Okay, what do we actually NEED?’”

“The great thing about Columbus is the people are not only adventurous, but they have that Midwestern kindness,” noted Misseldine. “I’m planning on offering the space to charities to use for free for their large fundraising events. We’re really going to do a lot of good with that space. I can’t wait.”

Lots of factors drive an expansion. More seats means more customers, but only if there are also more parking spaces.

“We wanted to stick with the same comfortable feel. We knew the Press Grill had the right vibe, so we wanted to preserve that, while obviously adding some parking,” explained Scott Kay, co-owner of the Short North diner that recently expanded into Grandview.

The new location of Press Pub on 5th Avenue has had several facades in recent years. The former Graffiti Burger and short-lived Starbucks was once a Friendly’s ice cream parlor — though few hints remain of any of those varied incarnations.

“I don’t think there was anything wrong with the spot,” Kay said. “We did expand the building a little bit. We knocked out the front wall and the back wall for more seating and put on a bigger patio.”“We’re trying to get open for lunch right now. People only have so much time to eat lunch, so we want to get folks in and out just like we do on High Street,” he noted.

“Our kitchen is big enough to handle it, but the challenge is trying to figure out the flow with more space and bigger parties.”

Unlike some expansions that only tend to find new customers, Press Pub appears to be growing with them as well.

“Some of our clientele used to be single and lived in the Short North,” Kay said. “Now they’re married with kids and live in Upper Arlington or Grandview, but they can still come in for that same burger. We’re starting to see a lot of familiar faces.”

The opportunity to expand even brought a smile to Vicki Hink, owner of The Angry Baker. Her Olde Towne East eatery already brought folks in from across city, despite the limited seating. Finally the right-sized spot in Victorian Village opened up — and so did she.

“After being in business for six years, we have hit just about every road block possible — and we’re a better business for it,” Hink revealed. “Whether it is an oven breaking in the middle of a Sunday brunch or unexpected construction issues, you learn to just move forward, make it happen, stay positive, and not look back.”

“Until now, nothing seemed to be the right fit. What was most appealing about this location is that it is two store fronts, which works perfectly for us,” she said. “We can have a much larger restaurant where we can serve more customers, but also have a bakery side where we can focus specifically on pastries, bread, and cakes.”

Aside from the obvious architectural and cultural comparisons between both neighborhoods, the success of any second location still comes down to the people who call it home.

“In OTE we have customers who have lived there for 30+ years, as well as customers who are students or young professionals,” Hink noted. “Victorian Village is very similar to that, and we cannot wait to immerse ourselves in the community and start forging those relationships.”

“Expectations are high, but people are very open-minded and excited to try new things, especially when it comes to food and drink,” Hink explained. “Although Columbus is a growing city, it still maintains the small town charm that allows entrepreneurs to thrive.”

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Food & Drink

Clintonville Brunch Crawl: We dare you to squeeze all 3 stops into 1 day




Clintonville is lovely this time of year, especially when you make three separate stops for brunch. 

Whether the weather is gracing the charming little burgh with a healthy dose of vitamin D or giving it a couple spins around the Lazy Susan that is Ohio’s climate, a trifecta of morning food destinations is sure to keep your mood afloat.

BLunch  • 2973 N High St.

Yes, we know that Columbus now is home to a Drunch AND a BLunch.

Snicker all ya want—if you do, you’d be missing out on one of the culinary scene’s welcome newcomers—a half-day cafe that carries the comforts of a First Watch, but with the sophisticated execution of Tasi or Katalina’s.

The White Family has decades of hospitality under their belt—the family owned Galena’s Mudflats until recently, and dad Jeff has been running the OSU Faculty Club for the past 20 years.

Those two were training grounds for son Jeff, once a young, eager dishwasher and now head chef for the White’s new “daylight eatery and bar.” Mom Jane, despite her own admission that in the family’s tavern-running days breakfast didn’t get served until halfway through afternoon, now relishes an intimate spot where people can maintain their own balance between booze and breakfast.

A full-bar at brunch is a rarity in the peculiar little burg, and positioned near Lineage, Old Skool, and Condado, BLunch could be the perfect starting point for a casual Clintonville crawl.

Then again, you may not have another stop after Chef Jeff gets done with ya. He and the White family have concepted a bennies-and-batter focused menu, where you’ll be sure to come back after a healthy amount of indecision. Me? I’ve been dreaming about the Bananas Foster pancakes (topped with ice cream) and the huevos rancheros over masa cake for weeks. – Travis Hoewischer


Dough Mama • 3335 N High St.

Dough Mama is the top of my list for my favorite breakfast joint. I love so much about this place.

The atmosphere is super chill, laid back, and inviting. The food is so so good. I would call it comfort food with an extra sprinkle of love and thought.

From pie to salad, it’s all good.

They use a variety of local and seasonal ingredients and support some of my favorite local delicacies with Dan the Baker bread and Thunderkiss coffee … YUM! They also have a variety of vegan and gluten-free options.

I am smitten with the Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy muffin. This place is my go to for a yummy drippy egg, roasted potatoes, salad, a sweet treat and a perfect cup of coffee.


My husband loves Grammie’s Sammie and a piece of Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie. I somehow manage to splurge here and feel really really good about it.

Their menu has some great staples but they also always have specials that look and are amazing.

Right now they serve both lunch and breakfast during the day and I’ve heard it through the grapevine that they will soon be open in the evening and serving dinner. I cannot wait to see what delicious dishes they create for that menu. – Jana Rock

Baba’s • 2515 Summit St.

Baba’s is my go-to breakfast spot in Columbus. You can grab a breakfast sandwich on their homemade griddle muffins (aka little pillows of heaven), order a rack of ribs, or in the spirit of Alabama Worley, have a slice of perfect pie and a cup of Thunderkiss coffee.

Their delicious baked goods are made in house, they smoke all of their own meats and their produce and coffee are all sourced locally, though their espresso will send you to the moon.

The service is fast, their team is super-friendly and there are never any pretentious vibes in the super chill atmosphere they have created on the corner of Hudson and Summit.

They’ve made a beautiful impact in their short existence in the SoHud neighborhood, fostering local artistic connections and bringing beautiful new mural art that rotates different artist from the community throughout the year. Don’t forget to grab one of their perfect cinnamon rolls for later. — Vanessa Jean Speckman

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Food & Drink

Harvest Pizzeria sowing last seeds in German Village




Eight years ago, Harvest Pizzeria cropped up in a small space in German Village. Today, the local pizza chain announced the closure of its flagship location.

Harvest Pizzeria German Village will open its doors for the final time on Saturday, April 27th.

“Despite the success of Harvest in German Village and our strong ties to the neighborhood, the owner of the property will not honor our renewal of the lease,” wrote founder Chris Crader in an email. “…the landlord’s demands for a new lease at a higher rate would not allow our little pizzeria to remain viable.


Crader added that he is proud of the strides Harvest German Village has made over the years, and thankful for the community that’s supported it. He hopes they can return to the neighborhood when the right spot presents itself.

As far as the employees go, Crader wrote that with the success of the other locations, the German Village workers will be able to join a team at another restaurant.

“Harvest sincerely thanks all of its loyal supporters and we hope to see you at our other locations soon,” wrote Crader.

This news follows the announcement of the Grandview Harvest closing back in February. Read more here.

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Food & Drink

Crawfish boils claw their way into Columbus Saturday

Mike Thomas



What’s the deal with crawfish boils? Sure, they’re delicious, but as a true land-lubbing midwesterner, my knowledge of this particular culinary phenomenon is fairly lacking.

That said, I definitely can’t tell you why there are multiple crawfish boils going down this Saturday. Best not to overthink it—just enjoy the experience!

Pecan Penny’s |113 East Main Street
Saturday at 4 PM – 7 PM

Sponsored by Brewdog, downtown BBQ joint Pecan Penny’s is kicking off patio season with an all-you-can-eat Crawfish boil, complete with giveaways and a DJ.


Rehab Tavern | 456 W Town St
2 PM – 6 PM

Rehab’s own 4/20 crawfish boil kicks off at 2:00. Your $15.75 entrance fee will net you a pint of beer in addition to all-you-can-eat crawfish and fixins’!

Can’t make either of these, or want to try the boil experience before committing to a large-scale event? Check out Kai’s Crab Boil or Boiling Seafood Crawfish—both on Bethel Road —for first-rate seafood experiences you won’t soon forget.

Why are there two crawfish boils on the same day? Why are there two crawfish restaurants on the same road? We may never know, and honestly, who cares? Crawfish is the bomb! Just put on your bib and get crackin’!

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