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Heaven on a Bun

This summer I made it a mission to travel the depths of the Midwest in search of the region’s best burger. There was Pete’s (since 1901) in downtown Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, which boil their burgers. The Jucy Lucy (sic), a cheddar-stuffed monstrosity, from a dive bar in Minneapolis. The Cashew Burger at the Anchor [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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This summer I made it a mission to travel the depths of the Midwest in search of the region’s best burger.

There was Pete’s (since 1901) in downtown Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, which boil their burgers. The Jucy Lucy (sic), a cheddar-stuffed monstrosity, from a dive bar in Minneapolis. The Cashew Burger at the Anchor on Lake Superior or the “original” Butter Burger at Solly’s Grille in Wisconsin. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try those whipped up at the American Legion Post 67 in Lake Mills (only open Fridays), but I found enough evidence that we live among the fertile crescent for flipped patties.

So as a carnivore by nature, I was more than skeptical when an acquaintance suggested I try the Eden Burger, the flagship item at the all-vegan restaurant of the same name, opened in the former Daredevil Dogs location. Made with sautéed pumpkin seeds, beans, rice, onions, and a blend of spices, topped with a standard set of lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle, Eden sauce and “vegannaise,” the Eden Burger was going to be a tough sell against the lingering taste of the deliciously greasy Wedl’s burger I tried this past July.

I asked Eden Burger’s Chad Goodwin how on earth they intend to convince a meat eater like myself that his creation was an equivalent delicacy.

“I guess you just let them try one of our burgers,” says Goodwin. “With the Village Idiot next door we get a great confluence of customers who come through. We could talk all day to people and try to convince them, but that’s not what we’re about. We are not trying to make the impossible burger that bleeds, or imitate meat. We just wanted to make something, whatever your dietary preference, that you can always come in and enjoy.”

No, opening a vegan burger chain has not been a lifelong passion for Goodwin and his partners Sebastian Kovach and Alex Raabe. In fact, it’s only been a little over a year since the trio changed their eating habits and became vegan. Entrepreneurs at heart—they’ve collaborated on everything from app design to screen printing and videography ventures—they saw a gap in the restaurant scene and filled it with Eden Burger. They literally altered recipes found online in a trial and error test kitchen for months, filled with more than a few inedible failures, to come up with the base for the menu.

“There were no places in Columbus that served traditional American fare for vegans,” says Goodwin. “Of course you can go to any restaurant and they’ll have a vegetarian option, and with Portia’s and the Loving Hut, there are plenty of vegan-centric menus, but we wanted to get away from kale and quinoa and things that are stereotypically vegan. We thought it was a much easier transition if we offered people items which they think that they have to give up.”

Truth be told, it’s a very easy transition. After trying a double Eden Burger, their hand-cut fries made with sunflower oil, and a frozen banana-based peanut butter shake, the spot has instantly become a staple in my diet. Forgive me dear city if I’ve grown bored of that famous burger across town these days. The burgers of Eden are not a substitute mind you, but are damn good “burgers”, a healthier alternative—and an exercise in helping the owners realize the loftier mission of the concept.

“We envisioned a place that was covered with plants and served an all plant-based menu,” says Goodwin of how it all began. “We wanted the aesthetics to match the mission, which was to create an overall greener planet by doing our part in making burgers, fries and shakes using no animal products.”

In addition to the “burgers,” Goodwin and his team also make “tender” burgers with breaded and fried tempeh. The Buffalo Tender Burger, was a particular highlight, not mocking but replicating the taste of a hearty and spicy chicken sandwich (I’m a sucker for Wendy’s). By the time this goes to print, they’ve expanded to lunch hours and have also experimented with weekend brunches—as the world definitely needs more sausage gravy for vegans. For a carnivore, Eden Burger is certainly the best of both worlds.

“You don’t have to sacrifice anything you love, you just have to change the supply chain,” says Goodwin. “Our burgers are just as good as, if not better than, any other burger in the city, it’s just that ours just happens to have a supply chain that helps save the world.”

Eden Burger is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 1437 N High St.

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Food & Drink

10 unique vendors announced for Hilliard’s community market

614now Staff

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They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but that's not the case with one local city. A brand new community market is coming soon to Old Hilliard!

Center Street Market, a new community market, set to open next month with the intention to support local food and retail vendors, according to its Facebook

So far, 10 vendors have been announced: Al’s Delicious Popcorn, Bakes by Lo, the Cheesecake Girl, Coffee Connections of Hilliard, Dumplings of Fury, Legacy Station (from the owners of Legacy Smokehouse), Meatball Mafia, Pitabilities, Rime Time Curiously Crafted Pops, and Serendipity.

Scroll down to see photos and learn more about these vendors.

For more information on the Center Street Market anchor, Crooked Can Brewing Company, click here.

Al’s Delicious Popcorn

Al's Delicious Popcorn offers 60+ flavors of gourmet popcorn in a variety of colors and sizes.

Bakes by Lo

Serving up specially handmade decorated cookies to satisfy your sweet tooth.

The Cheesecake Girl

Creative made-from-scratch cheesecakes made locally and deliciously.

Coffee Connections of Hilliard

Fresh locally roasted coffee and espresso, teas, chai, bagels, donuts, muffins, scones, cookies, full catering services and more.

Dumplings of Fury

Tender, succulent, traditional dim sum.

Legacy Station (from the owners of Legacy Smokehouse)

Experience the Tradition of Central Texas Barbecue at Legacy Smokehouse. Bringing a little taste of Central Texas to Central Ohio.

Meatball Mafia

Two-time Food Truck Fest winner, Meatball Mafia offers hot, juicy meatballs smothered in cheese and sauce.

Pitabilities

Mediterranean and American flavors at Pitabilities, with fresh ingredients made-to-order just the way you like it.

Rime Time Curiously Crafted Pops

Creative popsicles Seasonal produce, specialty ingredients, and creative pops. Made with science, delivered on wheels, eaten with love.

Serendipity

Serendipity; The art of happy discoveries will offer vintage, repurposed, and handcrafted home decor, gifts and furniture.

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Food & Drink

Insanely creative ice cream shop now treating Short North

614now Staff

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A Mexican-style ice creamery is now open in the Short North.

Dulce Vida Ice Cream Factory opened its doors for the first time Thursday at 1127 N High St. 

The unique, family-owned ice cream shop specializes in unique, fruit-forward treats like the "Crazy Pineapple," berry paletas, and Mangonada. Dulce Vida also serves hot foods like Mexican Street Corn, tamales, walking tacos, and tortas.

Dulce Vida also has locations at 4201 W Broad St. and 6140 Cleveland Ave. See way more offerings on Instagram.

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Food & Drink

Hilliard’s 1st brewery is finally tapped

614now Staff

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Hilliard's first brewery is officially open! Hop heads can now gather at Crooked Can, an Orlando-based brewery located at 5354 Center St.

The 4,000-square-foot taproom currently has a handful of brews available, with plans to roll out a total of 16 in the future.

When the weather improves, guests can enjoy their High Stepper American IPAs and McSwagger’s Own Amber Ales on Crooked Can's 7,000-square-foot patio.

The brewery anchors Hilliard's Center Street Market, expected to open in March.

Through final construction projects, Crooked Can will be open 5-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu.; 4-11 p.m. Fri.; 2-11 p.m. Sat. and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.

For more information, visit crookedcanohio.com.

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