Connect with us

Food & Drink

Consider the Cousins

“There’s a real sparkle to Columbus,” says Sabin Lomac from his home base of Los Angeles. “What we bring, which is an authentic experience, I think that fits into the fabric of the food scene you have established here.” And with that statement, I can already see the exaggerated eye rolls of Columbus foodies loyal to [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

Published

on

“There’s a real sparkle to Columbus,” says Sabin Lomac from his home base of Los Angeles. “What we bring, which is an authentic experience, I think that fits into the fabric of the food scene you have established here.”

And with that statement, I can already see the exaggerated eye rolls of Columbus foodies loyal to an already over-saturated army of food trucks. How dare a couple of  out-of-towners try to infiltrate our lovingly crafted scene with something boosted under the auspices of Shark Tank? But hear them out, the experience they are selling is an “affordable luxury” that’s not exactly common to Ohio, and even to the most discriminate tastes, their lobster rolls are damn good.

Cousins Maine Lobster literally started with two cousins, Lomac and partner Jim Tselikis, wanting to leave behind the corporate grind to give the masses the same nostalgia that harkens back to their summers growing up in Portland, Maine, at family picnics teeming with freshly caught and cooked lobster, corn on the cob, and whoopie pies. After pitching the idea on Shark Tank, and winning over Barbara Corcoran, who then invested in the company, the cousins now have a very lucrative food truck venture, with spots in 15 American cities and plans for brick and mortar shops the world over, Columbus being the latest, was an easy fit.

“We are a very tight-knit company right now, and that’s what we planned from the beginning,” says Lomac. “When I was there at our opening I could tell that this is a city where people rely on word of mouth to get their recommendations. A lot of people were telling me that they just don’t have this there, so there’s a reason for the hype.”

Indeed, though there may not  be lobster caught on the shores of Olentangy or Scioto, when you visit a Cousins truck in landlocked Ohio, you’re going to get lobster directly from the source. Maine lobster, being one of the most sustainably harvested products on the planet, is what runs the business, and Cousins have taken great strides to ensure that quality in every one of their menu items. Tselikis and Lomac started simple, sourcing from the local lobstermen they’ve grown up with, but now employ eight of their own wharfs from Casco Bay southward down the Atlantic coast. It’s a model that couldn’t be replicated any other way.

“It starts with the best lobster in the world,” says Tselikis. “You’re going to get bread shipped from Maine for the roll. You’re going to get lobster, the entire lobster, tail, knuckle, and claw, cooked and shipped the minute it’s off the boat. A couple years ago you couldn’t get that anywhere else but Maine.”

Obviously the best way to try the lobster is in their signature rolls — served either Maine style (served chilled, with a touch of mayo) or Connecticut style (served warm, with butter and lemon). But beyond the  rolls, which is their bread and butter (loads of drawn butter by the way), they also have savory clam chowder and bisque, also shipped directly from Maine — as well as their decadent whoopie pies, which are a Maine delicacy that resembles a gargantuan soft Oreo in a variety of flavors. But if a roll is not your forte, they’ve also adapted their lobster to more Midwestern tastes, including lobster tots, lobster quesadillas, and some highly recommended lobster tacos.

Cousins has only been in Columbus for a little over a month, but in the few instances in which I observed the operation, there was a line down the street. Whether that was indicative of the fresh Hollywood sheen or the addictive New England manna they serve was yet to be seen. What is apparent is that the concept of “affordable luxury” ought to do very well in a part of the country that is new to the roll, and while they may very well grow to a point that becomes unsustainable and out of control, for now, we should embrace what Cousins does well, which besides the food, is provide the little things we ask for in a purely Midwestern dining experience.

“We pride ourselves on our customer service,” says Lomac. “That fits right into the hometown feel of Columbus. At our truck, you’re going to get  somebody who smiles, who says ‘thank you’ and genuinely appreciates your business. It’s Maine hospitality. It’s nothing fancy, no frills, but it’s exceptional service.” •

For a full menu and information on where Cousins truck will over the summer, visit cousinsmainelobster.com.

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Brewery District bakery to close after 10 years

614now Staff

Published

on

The Brewery District will be sans a bakery in just a few short days.

After 10 years, Kolache Republic will be serving its last pastry on Saturday, February 8.

"We are truly grateful to our community of customers, friends, family and staff who have supported us in our pursuit to bring a unique food experience to this vibrant city as Columbus’ first and only kolache bakery," wrote Kolache Republic on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/Kolacherepublic/posts/3438844786142628

Other than deciding it was "time to hang up our oven mitts and start a new chapter," the Czech pastry shop did not provide a reason for the closure.

If you're planning on showing a lot of love for Kolache Republic before it closes, Kolache recommends calling ahead for any orders of a dozen or more.

Kolache Republic is located at 730 S High St.

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Hilliard looking to tap into its first brewery soon

614now Staff

Published

on

Orlando-based Crooked Can Brewing is targeting a February launch for their new taproom and brewery space in Hilliard, according to Drink Up Columbus.

The 4,000-square-foot taproom will be joined by a 7,000-square-foot patio, which will provide outdoor seating for the brewery as well as Hilliard's Center Street Market, which is expected to open in March.

The taproom will also feature large viewing windows where patrons can get a behind-the-scenes look at Crooked Can's new 16,000 square foot brewing operation.

Once open, Crooked Can Brewing will be located at 5354 Center Street in Hilliard. For more info, visit Drink Up Columbus.

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Restaurant Week: High Bank’s $20 deluxe comfort food menu doesn’t disappoint

Regina Fox

Published

on

If you've sequestered High Bank into strictly a booze category, you're missing out on one of the most well-executed comfort food menus in Columbus, especially during Restaurant Week.

Weighing in at a mere $20 per person, High Bank's three-course menu is so tantalizing, you'll struggle to pick just one dish from each. Believe me, I certainly did.

Course 1: Choice of Garden Salad, Nacho Fries, Loaded Baked Potato, Five Ways Spaghetti

With great power (being tasked with choosing just one starter) comes great responsibility (making sure I pick the best). Luckily, there really is no wrong move.

Ever had Taco Bell's Nacho Fries? High Bank's are better. Crispy, battered fries smothered in melty queso, seasoned beef, refried beans, and a generous heap of sour cream make for an elevated, indulgent, heavyweight starter. The portion is definitely big enough to share, but I wouldn't blame you if you didn't.

Course 2: Choice of High Bank Bacon Cheeseburger, Queso-Rito, Spicy Chicken Sandwich, High Bank Bowl

Since stick-to-your-bones food is officially back in season, you have to get down to High Bank for their fried chicken menu items. The chicken is battered using an incredibly light and crunchy buttermilk, fried, then dusted with cayenne that leaves a warm glow on your palate—not too hot, not too mild.

Restaurant Week features two chicken entrees: the Spicy Chicken Sandwich and the High Bank Bowl.

The sandwich is an instant comfort food classic, but the High Bank Bowl is like the designer version of KFC's Famous Bowl. The mashed potatoes are perfectly salted and buttered, the sweet corn adds just the right amount of sweetness and pop, and the cheese and gravy culminate into a savory sauce. Colonel Sanders would be impressed.

Course 3: Choice of Mint Chocolate Sandwich, Snickerdoodle Sandwich, Oreo Sandwich

At this point, I was almost too full to function, but I had to press on. To absolutely no one's surprise, High Bank's third course did not disappoint.

The Snickerdoodle Sandwich came with two perfectly under-baked snickerdoodle cookies bookending a lump of hard-dip butter pecan ice cream. Drizzles of white chocolate over top sent this dessert into the winner's circle.

I can't remember the last time I felt so repleted, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat, and so should you. At just $20 a head, this is a deal you can't afford to miss.

Click here to check out High Bank's Restaurant Week menu. To learn more about Restaurant Week January 20-25, visit eat614.com.

Continue Reading

No mo’ FOMO

Missing out sucks. That's why our daily email is so important. You'll be up-to-date on the latest happenings and things to do in Cbus + be the first to snag our daily giveaways

Shop Now!

The Magazines

X