Connect with us

Food & Drink

Behind the Handle: @BreakfastWithNick

Kelsey Lawrence

Published

on

Welcome to Behind the Handle where we go behind the likes and hashtags to see what makes Columbus bloggers tick.

Everyone loves breakfast but Nick of @breakfastwithnick lives it. Exploring the best breakfast spots in Columbus and beyond, he’s generated over 14.3k followers and created a brand that is recognized throughout the city. Such a following is no easy feat though, so we connected with Nick to get some insight into how he was able to create and maintain his brand.

A writer at heart, Nick began his online ventures through his blog in 2007, before Instagram was a thing. Once Instagram started taking off, he got onboard.

“It didn’t take me long to recognize that social media is an important extension of blogging,” he revealed. “Especially since food and drink is such a visual world in how you engage people with it. It made perfect sense.”

Although he had prior blogging experience, Instagram was a completely different world. The nuances of Instagram had to be learned which he admitted to struggling with in the beginning.

“For me there was the early question of ‘Is this a private vs a public profile?’ Initially, I was just sharing everything around me, which was family related things and as I’ve grown and realized the power of Instagram, I began to find the balance of how to genuinely share about your life while also not providing details that people don’t need.”

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

After navigating the murky waters of Instagram, he began gaining more followers. When asked about the moment he felt his Instagram had reached success, he said “For me the mark I would deem somewhat successful is when I would run into people on the street and they would say ‘Hey, you’re @breakfastwithnick, I follow you on Instagram. So that would tell me yeah, people are making the connection between who you are and people are interested enough to follow. That, and when people would say “Oh we found this spot because you posted about it on Instagram.” That’s kinda the mark of success for me.”

Nick noted that success is difficult to define and depends on one’s personal goals.

“I think the mark of success for anyone is when you can do it in a genuine way, so you’re honest and truthful about who you are and your experiences. That more than anything will make people want to follow along and stick with you.”

But how did he do it? He explained that while Instagram is largely visual, he employs other elements in order to develop a connection between the himself and the viewer.

“Me and my wife Beth, who runs @breakfastwithnick with me, we are both believers that Instagram shouldn’t just be about pretty pictures but being an activation point. It’s fun to share a beautiful picture of my breakfast. It’s even better when I share info about it or a description of it that  helps people decide if that’s somewhere they would want to go or encourages them to check it out or have an adventure of their own.”

Nick is also a big believer of giving credit where it’s due.

“When we think of using Instagram from the food angle, especially with restaurants, we look for a way to humanize it. So pictures of great food is awesome but pictures of the restaurant owner or chefs are even better. You know, highlighting people who deserve the credit for making that look so awesome. That’s a big thing for us too. Being able to show that side of the industry too.”

Being so active on Instagram, as well as his other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it can get overwhelming. He talks about the importance of taking time to step back.

“There are definitely times where we do give ourselves permission to say ‘we don’t have to be on the phone posting about this.’ There are a lot of times when i’m excited to share things but i will share them after the fact.We’ll just get pictures done really quickly and then  go on and actually be present in the moment.”

As a final piece of wisdom, he gives some much needed advice to all the Instagrammers out there who get caught up in the amount of followers or likes they get.

“It can be super stressful if you’re tying your self worth to how many times someone pressed the heart button on a photo you have. That’s not what that’s supposed to be about.”

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Restaurant Review: El Lugar and Alpine bring Spanish, German tapas to German Village

Avatar

Published

on

Displayed proudly along the wall behind El Lugar’s bar are rows and rows of canned seafood—not the ingredient of choice one might expect from an upscale tapas and pinchos restaurant, located in a city with a culinary scene that typically fawns over either traditional American, or fresh and local food. Nevertheless, the Espinaler cans of tuna, razor shells, and cockles reside there like a dare for those with adventurous enough appetites to try some of the finest seafood in the world. 

Photos by Julian Foglietti

El Lugar is a shared effort by co-owners Enis and A.J. Ndreu and Elidon Hizmo to bring new and authentic European flavors to Columbus. Their two new restaurants, El Lugar and Alpine, sit next door to one another and provide different, yet complementary experiences of Spanish and German cuisines. One side boasts a more family-friendly selection of meats, cheeses and hearty vegetables, while the other is fresh Mediterranean flavors of citrus and seafood. Both share an intriguing selection of signature cocktails. 

In contrast to El Lugar, Alpine features cuisine that showcases flavors from across Germany. Nicholas Paxton, the executive chef at both restaurants who was tasked with transforming the owners’ vision into menus, is neither German nor originally familiar with German food, so he brought in consultants more familiar with the region to help develop the recipes. “I love the authenticity that we provide here on the Alpine side,” Paxton said. “There’s a broad spectrum of what German food can be.”

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Alpine is continuing the tradition of authentic regional food that has helped characterize German Village, where it and El Lugar are located. The two restaurants replaced Juergen’s Bakery, a community staple that provided Columbus with Bavarian-style fare for 50 years. Co-owner A.J. Ndreu said they’d been looking for a spot in the area to open up another German restaurant (they also own Wurst und Bier in Worthington), so when the opportunity presented itself, they jumped.

“I used to buy all my pastries from Rosemarie [Keidel, Juergen’s Bakery’s owner],” A.J. Ndreu said. 

“We just connected and she’s like, ‘I’d love for you to take over and make a German restaurant out of it.’ ”

With that, he and his cousin launched into bringing to life their concepts for German and tapas restaurants, which they’d been developing for a decade.

One of the most instrumental sources of inspiration for A.J. has been traveling around Europe. He lived in France, where he fell in love with French food. But once he experienced all the different ways Spanish cuisine used seafood, beef and pork, he was convinced otherwise. “I thought French food was the best cuisine in the world until I started going to Spain.”

The simplicity of Spanish food is a challenge for Paxton, who says his tendency when developing a recipe is to mess with its components. Spanish cuisine, in contrast, consists of ingredients that can speak for themselves; all Paxton has to do, he says, is figure out how they work together and wait for inspiration to hit.

Back in 2008, Anthony Bourdain traveled to Catalonia for his show “No Reservations” to explore the same flavors that intrigued Ndreu and Paxton. At a little bar about half an hour outside of Barcelona, Bourdain tried Espinaler’s canned seafood, and asked, “How can any chef do better for you than that?” Ndreu was captivated.

“I was like, ‘What the hell is he talking about? It’s canned,’ ” Ndreu puzzled. “So […] I went, and I was amazed. It’s unbelievable. It’s some of the best seafood I ever ate.”

After that, A.J. spent years trying to find a way to bring Espinaler’s products to Ohio, and he finally uncovered an opportunity in El Lugar. But besides the seafood, El Lugar also features Vermut Lacuesta—not the vermouth used for lining a martini glass, but a wine-like drink to be enjoyed on its own or in a cocktail. It also offers the Spanish serrano and ibérico hams, which can be cured for years. The more expensive of the two, ibérico ham comes from black pigs fed an acorn diet and can take up to five years to reach peak flavor.

Next door, Alpine’s menu describes dishes like leberkäse (a meatloaf) and wurstteller (a selection of sausages). Diners can also order raclette, available by the scrape, over any meal. But not forgetting that it’s still in the United States, Alpine offers a handful of American classics during happy hour. These include mini cheeseburger sliders, tater tots with beer cheese dip, and fried chicken wings, among others. 

Alpine and El Lugar present their guests with foreign foods that encourage diners to explore the culinary diversity of Europe. Portion sizes, particularly at El Lugar, may be a bit smaller, but Paxton hopes Columbus diners will recognize the value in great, unique-tasting food and finding excellence in unexpected places.

“We don’t want you to fill up on it. We want you to taste some amazing flavors that nobody else is doing,” Paxton said.

Alpine and El Lugar are located at 525 S 4th St. in German Village. Find out about Alpine at alpine614.com and El Lugar at ellugar614.com.

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

They’ll be nothing to wine about at these 9 local wineries

614now

Published

on

Everyone knows that Columbus is a craft beer city, but fortunately for those who never got acclimated to the yeasty drink, there’s wine. We may not have the best climate for grape growing, but these nine wineries around Columbus are breaking down barriers and serving up delicious bottles to vino lovers.

Camelot Cellars Winery | 901 Oak St, Columbus

Camelot Cellars, an award-winning Urban Boutique Winery, handcrafts all their own wines sourcing premier juices from vineyards all over the world. Offerings include retail wines by the bottle, wine tastings, flights, and event spaces.

Via Vecchia Winery | 2050 S High St, Columbus

This family-owned, urban winery is tucked away off a private lane and hosts 7700 square feet of exclusive venue space. With original exposed brick archways, wood ceiling beams and limestone walls, every experience is sure to be unforgettable.

Wyandotte Winery | 4640 Wyandotte Dr, Columbus

Wyandotte Winery is the first and oldest winery in Central Ohio, conveniently located just miles from Easton Town Center. With wines made from Ohio grapes and a beautiful patio to enjoy them on, you’re sure to enjoy your experience at Wyandotte Winery.

Signature Wines | 3816 April Ln, Columbus

Unlike many urban wineries, Signature Wines makes wines predominantly from whole grapes  and juices brought into Columbus from predominately California and Ohio using traditional, small scale winemaking techniques.  Stop into the Winery to enjoy a glass of wine in a comfortable atmosphere.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Hidden Lakes Winery | 650 Winchester Pike, Canal Winchester

Hidden Lakes offers a delightful selection of house-made, award-winning wines and unique craft beers. Along with beverages, enjoy food from the newly-updated kitchen while taking in the scenic lakeside view.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant | 4230 The Strand, Columbus

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants celebrates moments that matter with chef-crafted food, award-winning wines, and life-long friendships. Outstanding wine, modern fare, Napa-inspiring tasting room: Cooper’s Hawk.

Good Vibes Winery | 2 S State St, Westerville

Good Vibes Winery is an urban winery located in Uptown Westerville, offering guests a wine experience, bistro samplings, and a beautiful environment to be enjoyed by friends and family.

Plum Run Winery | 3946 Broadway, Grove City

Plum Run Winery is a family-owned winery focusing on small batches of quality wines made from locally sourced fruit. A 3-acre vineyard located five miles south of the winery provides many of the grapes for the estate wines. Stop by and enjoy the wine and hospitality!

Powell Village Winery | 50 Liberty St, Powell

As one of the first wine négociants in Ohio, Powell Village Winery sources, blends, and produces small lots of high quality vinifera wines from America’s notable grape-growing regions. From bold & dry to sweet & fruity, they strive to create a diverse range of distinct wines for every taste.

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Tuttle Mall getting a lot sweeter thanks to 2 newcomers

614now

Published

on

Malls have changed a lot over the years. Remember Waldenbooks? Was KB Toys your go-to as a kid? Heck, even Sears will soon be nothing more than a memory.

While mall establishments are frequently lost to the sands of time, it’s rare that you see a former retailer return to a mall it’s already vacated once. Well brace yourselves, sweets fans, because a gooey, sugar-frosted favorite is making a comeback at Tuttle Mall.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Of course we’re talking Cinnabon, which was last in operation at Tuttle some years ago, and is now listed as “coming soon” on the mall’s directory. But wait! As tempting as it will be to fill up on cinnamon rolls after this long absence, you’ll want to save room for this other coming attraction: it seems Duck Donuts is also setting up shop in Tuttle.

Hop on the treadmill and give your dentist a heads-up, mall lovers—sweets are back at Tuttle in a big way!

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