Did you know there’s a place in the Short North where you can find an Instagram-worthy cheese pull and parking? Sturgill Simpson and salmon? Bread dough but not dollar dough?
This enigma is not really an enigma at all, but rather The Lox Bagel Shop.
Cash-free and as delectable as can be, Lox Bagel is drawing crowds and pulling “likes” for its hand-rolled, boiled, and baked bagels with such gaily-colored innards as beet and thyme cream cheese, pastrami, cucumber, capers, avocado, and, of course, lox.
The schtick and schmear is all courtesy of Cincinnati transplant-turned Ohio State Buckeye, then Italian Village resident, Kevin Crowley and his partner in crime Silas Caeton. The burgeoning bageler got his start at Northstar, a quick half-mile walk down High Street. From his more than five years at the environmentally-conscious cafe, Crowley gleaned the importance of exceptional food and service and treating people with respect.
“We chose to put our employees as our top priority, even above our guests,” Crowley wrote in an email. “We do this because if we can have an engaged, happy, healthy, and balanced team, then the obvious next step is guests that are well taken care of, as well.”
And well taken care of we are.
What writing lacks in monetary benefits, it more than makes up for in freebies and invitations. I, along with another (614) staffer, was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of “Lox” a few days before it opened. As soon as we got there, I took note of Crowley’s composure during the chaos that ensued on the eve of opening day. Crowley strode throughout the dining area and kitchen—signing papers and crushing inspections—with the one thing business owners who believe in their product are afforded: confidence.
He took us back into the small and toasty kitchen to show us where the magic happens. The kitchen is small in a way that not even a petite, agile person would be able to navigate without the constant “Behind!” or “Ope, I’m just gonna slide right past you” warnings. Tall baking racks with peeled-back plastic reveal trays of post-boiled bagels in their proofing phase. The boiler itself which resembles an art classroom kiln, an assembly line complete with all the best bagel accessories, and tables covered with bread in various phases cluttering the kitchen.
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But, perhaps the biggest obstacle of all for the busy bakers is the massive Wood Stone oven. The glow of the XL-refrigerator-sized oven warms the faces of those keeping a watchful eye over the bagels, making sure each and every one receives a perfect tan and crackling crust.
Also in the kitchen are shiny metal tubs filled with the finished product. Crowley caught me eye-flirting with the bagels and encouraged me to try one.
“Don’t feel like you have to finish it, though,” he assured.
Crowley demonstrated by picking one up, tearing it open with his hands, biting off a mouthful, and discarding the rest in the trash.
My eyes bulged. That was a perfectly good bagel, I thought. Great, in fact.
I followed suit by carefully selecting what I thought was the most blue-ribbon grade bagel in the bunch. But, instead of tossing most of it in the trash after one bite, I enjoyed it down to the last sprig of rosemary.
As we left the kitchen, I gave one final glance to the fallen bagel that wasn’t worthy of Crowley’s time or appetite. Splayed open atop a mess of plastic wrap, latex gloves, and a slew of other kitchen-related garbage, I realized that despite my non-discriminatory palate, not all bagels are created equal.
“[The perfect bagel for us] is a product that has been cold fermented for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days, has a nice, golden exterior crust with a nice textural difference between the exterior and the soft, chewy interior,” wrote Crowley. “[It’s] well seasoned and well seeded in order to provide both a great sandwich making bagel but also a great bagel on its own.”
Starting out, Lox will offer four bagels: everything, plain, seasalt and herb, and sesame. These pieces of bread can be dolled up with several different spreads and jellies. The breakfast bagel is egg and cheese, but can be made your way with bacon, sausage, pastrami, or avocado for an upcharge. The Lox bagel is ready to go at breakfast and/or lunch.There are rotating sides and salads for sale and breakfast sandwiches like pork and veggie. For the featured sandwich, just ask.
I was wiping cream cheese from my cheek with the corner of my fried chicken skin bagel sandwich (cute, Regina, real cute) when Crowley came over to hand me the “perfect bagel.” Browned to perfection, bubbly, full of body. To me it looked like every single one of the bagels coming out of the Lox kitchen. But who am I to argue?
The Lox Bagel Shop is located at 772 N High St Suite 106 in the Short North. It’s open 7:30am to 2 pm Monday-Friday and 8 am to 2 pm on the weekends or until it sells out.
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.
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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
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.
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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.
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.
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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’!