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Dough Show

Finding a slice of the Big Apple—and a pizza tossing champ—at Leone’s Pizza. Since my family moved to Columbus from Brooklyn in December, something has been bothering my four-year-old: the pizza. Specifically, the Columbus method of cutting pies into rectangles. He’s a kid raised on classic slices, with crusts that fold into your mouth and [...]
Linda Lee Baird



Finding a slice of the Big Apple—and a pizza tossing champ—at Leone’s Pizza.

Since my family moved to Columbus from Brooklyn in December, something has been bothering my four-year-old: the pizza. Specifically, the Columbus method of cutting pies into rectangles. He’s a kid raised on classic slices, with crusts that fold into your mouth and frame the toppings with a crisp exclamation. So began my family’s quest to find New York pizza in our new hometown. When Googling brought me to a photo of Ryan LaRose, owner of Leone’s Pizza, tossing a crust that was literally on fire, I added his shop to our must-visit list.

Leone’s has the feel of a Brooklyn pizza shop, right down to the limited seating. (LaRose tells me that about 70 percent of his business is carryout). Still, there was another family of four eating there the night we visited, and LaRose immediately helped us settle in. When I tried to order two small pies, he suggested getting a large half-and-half instead, saving us money. Fifteen minutes later, LaRose placed a bubbling pizza, half cheese, half Tartufo (mozzarella, mushrooms, and truffle oil) in front of us. My son’s eyes widened at the sight of the golden crust as he exclaimed, “Finally! Triangles!” We ate it all, save for one slice we took home to try with a beer (Leone’s is on the waiting list for a liquor license). I’m happy to report it held up.

I spoke with LaRose and Manager Sidney Sanders to learn more about Leone’s. It was the day after they captured the People’s Choice Award at Slice of Worthington 2018, and LaRose was proud to add to the prizes he’s accumulated for both acrobatic pizza tossing and his outstanding food.

What’s the Leone’s story?

RL: I’ve always wanted my own shop. I’d just lost my job at a pizza shop around here, and I was on Craigslist looking for a job and this place was up for sale… So, alright, I’ll open my own place. Got it, and there’s 10 trophies [recognizing Leone’s] sitting around here.

What do you recommend a first-time Leone’s visitor order?

RL: Cheese. Because, If you don’t do the dough, the sauce and the cheese right, than why… would you get anything else there?

How did you get into dough tossing?

RL: “Acrobatic pizza tossing.”


RL: The first pizza shop I worked at, they had these magazines, and on the back there’s an advertisement for a plastic throw dough. So I bought one. I’m 17, and I’d just started making pizzas. I went to [my] first competition in 2007, [and] I won… I think if you’re going to do something like [run a pizza shop], everyday, its the same thing over and over. So if you’re going to do something for the rest of your life, why not make it fun and win shit?

What’s your signature move?

RL: There’s a move called the bicycle (he demonstrates holdinging the dough vertically and spinning it backwards towards him). What I did was reversed it and made it roll forward. The guys call it the LaRose.

Where is the coolest place your pizza tossing has taken you?

RL: Paris [as a member of the US Pizza Team]. We had foie gras on top of the Eiffel tower, and then they asked us to toss pizzas because we’re all pizza guys, and we did. We took the elevator down to the bottom and did a show right in front of the Eiffel tower. I had one of those stupid berets on too.

Do you have a memorable pizza tossing mishap?

RL: In 2009… when I got 4th place [at the World Pizza Olympics in Italy], I should have won… but instead, I thought, “let’s try something new,” and I laid on my stomach, and I tried to toss pizzas like (he makes tiny hand gestures)…

SS : …with an inch of space!

RL: I guarantee you, if I didn’t do that, I would have won. I was the first person to light dough on fire in a competition! And that was the [competition]… I was so mad at myself.

What made you decide to do New York style?

RL: It’s what I love. I mean, it’s what I grew up on, that’s what my family ate on Fridays, that’s what I was taught…

SS: That’s what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ate.

RL: That’s what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ate! That’s actually fair.

(I tell them about my son’s enthusiastic reaction his first New York style pizza in Ohio.)

RL: He’ll never forget that. I think that’s the main reason why I opened this place. You remember the first pizza you had. When you see that again when you’re 30, your heart breaks.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. Leone’s is located at 5413 Sinclair Rd.

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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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