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Old School, New School

Welcome back to Old School/New School, your local guide for a great dinner and nightcap. The rules are simple: your destinations for dinner and a nightcap can be either an older or newer concept, but they can’t be both and you have to be able to walk from one destination to another. For this edition, [...]
Aaron Wetli

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Welcome back to Old School/New School, your local guide for a great dinner and nightcap. The rules are simple: your destinations for dinner and a nightcap can be either an older or newer concept, but they can’t be both and you have to be able to walk from one destination to another. For this edition, we are having dinner at a Bexley institution followed by glass of wine at the new place next door. This is going to be fun.

GIUSEPPE’S RITROVO 2268 E Main St.

Giuseppe’s Ritrovo is the kind of place that is hard to imagine the neighborhood without. The kind of place where, according to owners Vesna and Giuseppe Mangano, dinner isn’t served to customers, but to friends. It’s the kind of place where you can celebrate a baptism or celebrate the memory of a family member. You are going to dig it.

Originally opened twenty-two years ago, Giuseppe’s was first a coffee shop with a takeout selection of prepared food including pastas, sauces and sandwiches. It didn’t take long for word to spread or for customers to start asking for the food to be prepped and served to them. You know, like in a restaurant.

According to Vesna, “In less than two weeks, we were making food for customers. We didn’t have any idea what we were doing and for a time served the meals on our wedding china.” As business grew, operations expanded and eventually the current model of Giuseppe’s was opened.
Sporting a small but sleek patio with a view of Main Street, a large curated (don’t say stocked) bar, and both a dining room and a private dining area, Giuseppe’s simultaneously looks classic and modern and offers both contemporary and classic Italian fare representing all Italian regions. Pro tip: Get the lamb shank special if it is offered during your next visit.

The recipes can be attributed to Giuseppe himself, who in his own words: “has been around food my whole life.” Raised in the region of Reggio Calabria (the most southern tip of the Italian boot), Giuseppe can make all things Italian, reps the spices from his home in the South of Italy, and endorses classic entrees.

Vesna, on the other hand, is fond of the pizzas, which led to some good natured banter between the two about the challenges of working with your spouse. Finishing each other’s sentences and interjecting themselves into each other’s anecdotes, the Manganos are truly a team and the restaurant is certainly a family business—so much so that both of their fathers have worked in the restaurant, along with Vesna’s brother and a host of other family members.

Serving up classic Italian comfort food, treating customers like family, and having the ability to make each other laugh has led to the Manganos hosting more than a few famous clientele dining at Giuseppe’s. In 2015, The Rolling Stones (specifically Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger) stopped by for dinner and according to their road manager, had the most normal dining-out experience in decades. John Glenn and wife Annie were regulars for years, and unlike The Stones, Glenn was always happy to sign an autograph or to talk to a child about being a real life spaceman.

Now that you have met some awesome people, eaten a great meal and imbibed a top-shelf cocktail, let’s walk outside and travel one door to the west for that nightcap.

HOUSE WINE 2262 E Main St.

House Wine has been in Worthington for more than a decade, but their Bexley location has only been open since July of 2018 (therefore qualifying for my arbitrary rules). However, in that short amount of time, House Wine has made a splash on the local scene and is helping introduce locals to affordable, quality wines as well as local and regional craft beer.

House Wine is quaint and cozy and makes the most of their limited space. Four seats at the bar, three small tables, and one large table that is perfect for a group of eight, are your seating options. And that makes House Wine a great location for that cozy after-dinner glass of wine. Or bottle. That’s why Uber was created.

House Wine certainly has the ability to be pretentious, but isn’t—the result of owner/operator Donnie Austin’s philosophy on owning a wine shop. Austin reports, “I want to offer my customers great wine and great beer without breaking the bank.” Mission accomplished.

And Austin should know what makes wine great. He quit his job as an engineer at Honda to follow his wine passion, which would eventually lead to becoming a sommelier and then opening two wine shops.

A draw to the store and a fun way to learn about wine is the Enomatic wine dispenser, which in essence is a vending machine for wine. Offering sixteen different varietals and coming in one, three, or five ounce pours, this machine (along with assistance from a store employee to help guide you) is a great way to sample different nightcaps.

I know some readers are thinking about how they love wine, but that their significant other loves beer, and therefore this Old School/New School may not be for them. No worries friend, House Wine has you covered and offers eight taps of craft beers as well a full selection of chilled cans and bottles. You can even fill up your growler at House Wine. You just have to take it home to drink it.

House Wine does not offer food selections, but does allow for you to bring in food from any local Bexley restaurant. In fact, you can even place a carry out order at Giuseppe’s and bring it into House Wine to eat. (Although, you might miss seeing Mick Jagger.)
So there you have it: a blueprint for some delicious grub while making new friends, followed by a quaint and cozy wine nightcap. Park once, drink twice, support local.

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Food & Drink

Sips of Summer: 12 picks to quench your thirst

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When it gets hot, you gotta find a way to deal, and we at 614NOW understand and sympathize. Here are our recommendations to help you cool down when the temperatures rise.

16-Bit | Hulk Hogan
What’s more summery than lemonade? Boozy lemonade. And what’s more summery than boozy lemonade? Dropping in a frozen red, white, and blue bomb pop in the center of the drink! The iconic popsicle from your childhood is back and you’re gonna need a front row seat to your own sip down, brother!

Matt the Miller | Blueberry Basil Limoncello Martini
Skip the regular menu. Here’s a martini for brunch instead! Two of summer’s favorite flavors come together in one glass with Stoli Blueberry and Limoncello, along with basil, lemon juice and simple syrup.

The Bottle Shop | Carribean Queen
The Bottle Shop is known to whip up just about any creation you can think of, and their tiki drinks are quintessential summer vibes. Of course, the classic mai tai is available in these aesthetically pleasing tiki glasses, but our eyes are all on the Carribean queen. The drink boasts a savory over sweet flavor profile thanks to the Rum Zacapa 23 as well as the orgeat (almond syrup) which provides a slight nutty taste. The drink also features earl grey tea-infused falernum to add a floral profile, plus some mint sprigs to garnish.

Standard Hall | Red Sangria
Nothing says summer like a cool glass of sweet sangria. Standard Hall’s Red Sangria is a blend of Pinot Noir, Triple Sec, Absolut Grapefruit, lemon juice, lime juice, and marinated fruit. It comes in a single serving, but once your friends catch a glimpse, they’ll want more than a gulp, so go for the shareable size.

Hubbard Grille | Agave Cooler
Now that you’re grown, hopefully you’ve graduated from stealing your mom’s wine coolers and embarked on a new adult beverage endeavor. But, now we’re sending you back to your roots with Hubbard Grille’s Agave Cooler with A New Amsterdam Vodka, pure agave, pink grapefruit and lime juices, fresh basil; served on the rocks. Your mother would be proud.

Oddfellows | Lushie
With new options nearly every week, Oddfellows’ lushies are a sure fire way to beat the heat this summer. This frozen drink is similar to a slushie you’d find at a gas station, but it’s been upgraded with boujee flavors and booze. Options like The Carter have been featured in the past which is a mixture of Bumbu rum, creme de cacao, and lemon making for a bright orange cocktail perfect for the patio.

Asterisk | Asterisk Orchid
Take time to stop and smell the roses (or the orchids) this summer. From the Asterisk proprietary cocktail menu, a choice of vodka or gin, St. Germain, with notes of lime, rose, and cucumber. A flower in a glass!

Local Cantina | Mango Manzana Margarita
How can you go out for Mexican food without getting a marg to sip on the patio? The Mango Manzana Margarita combines Patrón Silver and Patrón Mango Citrónage with agave, lime, lemonade, and is garnished with an apple slice and a luxardo cherry. By our counts, that’s at least three servings of fruit per glass.

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Two Truths | Penicillin
This is one penicillin shot that even staunch anti-vaxxers will won’t be able to resist. With two scotches serving as a base for this ginger and fresh-lemon infused cocktail, penicillin at Two Truths is good for what ails you!

Huli Huli Tiki Lounge | The Painkiller
And if Penicillin can’t solve what ails you, a good old Painkiller should just about do the trick. This island-inspired cocktail features Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum with pineapple, coconut, and orange with the option to have it served on the rocks, or frozen. Beyond a drink that will take your mind straight to the beach, the bright pink flower garnish coupled with a pineapple slice and a speared cherry makes this drink every bit Instagrammable as it is drinkable.

Light of the Seven Matchsticks | Running with Scissors and Playing with Matchsticks
This signature cocktail at this exclusive speakeasy is everything your mother warned you about. One sip of this high-falutin’ mixture of brown-buttered bourbon, Dolin Dry, Benedictine, and a house ancho syrup, and you’ll see why rules were made to be broken.

The Market Italian Village | Barrel-aged Negroni
Go native while visiting Italian village with this twist on the classic drink from the boot-shaped old country. Vim and Petal Heritage Blend Gin join Cynar 70, Sherry, and Apricot in this smoky, barrel- aged cocktail—Maddon’, that’s good!

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Food & Drink

10 Restaurant Week destinations for date night out

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Sometimes just getting out of the house is the priority. Other times, getting out of the house without the kids is the priority. When that time strikes, get the sitter on lock and hit the town.

Restaurant Week July 15-20 is the perfect time to reconnect with your significant other without breaking the bank. Here are our top 10 picks for date night out during Restaurant Week!

South Village Grille | 197 Thurman Ave, Columbus

South Village Grille is a romantic little spot tucked in a happening strip of Thurman Avenue. During Restaurant Week, indulge in oysters (aphrodisiac), scallops, and even pork chops. Round out your night out with beignets.

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing | 215 N 4th St, Columbus

You may have been to the taproom out back, but have you dined in the front? It’s a beautiful space where beautiful food is served, like lamb racks and Black Forest Chocolate Cake.

Trillium Kitchen & Patio | 2333 N High St, Columbus

Trillium is a modern kitchen with a splendid patio, often times hosting live entertainment! Wine and dine your loved one with Trillium’s diverse wine list, tasty Restaurant Week menu, and romantic digs.

The Keep Kitchen & Liquor Bar | 50 West Broad Street Mezzanine Level, Columbus

With the watermelon salad in the first course, BBQ chicken in the second, and strawberry shortcake for the third, this summer-time menu will be the perfect seasonal date. And the dark wood ambiance will make you want to cozy up close to your date.

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The Boat House at Confluence Park | 679 W Spring St, Columbus

Suggested wine pairings with every course during Restaurant Week will help direct you and your lover down a path of sensuality. And if you’re lucky enough to get seated by the fireplace, the heat will turn up even more, literally.

M at Miranova | 2 Miranova Pl, Columbus

M recently underwent a stunning remodeling that is sure to wow your date. The menu features both surf and turf, so your taste buds will be wowed, as well.

Asterisk | 14 N State St, Westerville

This intimate supper club will really encourage you to relight the flame between you and your significant other. And with familiar favorites like ravioli, meatloaf, and chicken pot pie, you’ll go back to your roots and remember why you feel in love in the first place.

Lindey’s | 169 E Beck St, Columbus

We know it’s hot outside, but Lindey’s patio is worth the sauna experience. This restaurant is the epitome of romance and can be yours to experience for just $35 during Restaurant Week.

Spagio | 1295 Grandview Ave, Columbus

Spagio is the perfect spot for a nice dinner and, with a window on Grandview Avenue, people watching. Let the conversations flow over seafood, pastas, and prime cuts of steak during Restaurant Week.

The Market Italian Village | 1022 Summit St, Columbus

For a fun, light-hearted date with lots of character, this is your destination. Exceptional quality, outstanding service, and approachable atmosphere: The Market Italian Village.

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Food & Drink

Newly-remodeled M at Miranova has the most unique cocktails ever

Laura Dachenbach

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After a quick spring break, M at Miranova is back and open to the public with a new look, shedding its old browns and bronzes for pops of purple and elegant, cooling grays. The 18-year-old fine dining establishment is ready to show off a beautiful wooden floor, its terrace with spectacular views of the river and the city, its lounge made for an evening of small bites, an almost complete menu change, and its new line of seasonal signature cocktails.

Two Ships (Photos by Brian Kaiser)

Developed by award-winning bartender Cris Dehlavi and the beverage team, the line showcases the classic flavors of summer: coconut, pineapple, lemon, and rum.

M at Miranova aims to welcome all, and the line covers a spectrum of tastes. There’s something for everyone at your table, from the light, refreshing oral mix to the heavier, spirits-forward drink, all with an emphasis on superb and fun presentation.

“Gone are the days of the plain old glass,” said Dehlavi from behind the bar, bringing forth her concoctions.

Magic Elixer

The appropriately-named Magic Elixir, a beautiful balance of spirits and flavors, comes to your table as a blue liquid (thanks to butter y pea tea) poured over ice and garnished with flowers. Your server will add a vial of lemon tableside and ask you to stir as chemistry turns the drink a beautiful lavender. Botanist gin and an aloe vera liqueur give the drink a taste as sophisticated and surprising as its presentation.

“There’s nothing like the look on somebody’s face when you put something down in front of them like that,” said Dehlavi.

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The AHA!, a simple and refreshing drink combines a California Brut sparkling with pineapple and coconut flavors, and comes served in light- bulb shaped glassware, a nod to its moment of creative inspiration.

“We really wanted a low-proof cocktail, and kept playing with different ideas. Nothing was working,” said Dehlavi. “My daughter loves coconut water and she had coconut water in the fridge one day and I had a swig of it […] and I thought, ‘What about pineapple liqueur, coconut water, and bubbles?’ and it worked.”

AHA!

Ordered solo, the Two Ships combines Don Pancho rum, amaro, banana, and bitters over whiskey rocks. Ordered for two (or as a taster for four), the drink comes in a globe suspended on a wooden stand containing a blown glass ship and a bit of dry ice for effect.

The creamy You’ve Met Your Matcha and the rich Great Vieux round out the summer line. Your server will snap a Polaroid of the latter, but each of the drinks plays to an audience of Instagrammers, so your own phone is welcome, too. After all, it’s an experience—an impressive, yet accessible array of cocktails, and Dehlavi notes a few are already starting to become favorites.

You’ve Met Your Matcha

“I think presentation is super-important,” said Dehlavi. “We take a real culinary approach to our cocktails. Just like a culinary approach to food, you can put a piece of salmon on a plate with some asparagus and there it is, or you can make it gorgeous. And we always think about that with cocktails, too.”

M at Miranova is at 2 Miranova Pl. To book a reservation, visit matmiranova.com.

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