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Behind the Handle: @BreakfastWithNick

Kelsey Lawrence

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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.”

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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.”

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Food & Drink

Too Good to Eat: Hubbard Grille’s Short Rib and Shrimp shareable

@findyourfork

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If looks could krill, you would be on the floor. Literally.

Hubbard Grille's Short Rib and Shrimp shareable dish will knock you right out of your seat because it will hit you hard and fast with flavor and more.

Photo by Angela Lee of @findyourfork

Imagine this: the most tender and delicious pulled beef short rib layered on a bed of the creamiest and cheesiest white cheddar grits with tomato jus. Top the bite-sized goodness off with a perfectly tender and seasoned prawn, add some color and texture with delicately placed microgreens and take that first bite.

With that first bite, you’ve just experienced one of the most delicious flavor profiles that the Columbus food scene has to offer. Second bite and your taste buds are just begging, pleading, and crying for more. Third bite and you are already shamelessly scraping off every last drop, speck, and flavor from the dish with your spoon.

You might actually even pick up the dish with your own two hands and unashamedly lick the plate clean. You might also start bargaining with your fellow table mates to negotiate the remaining pieces on the plate.

No judgement here. We have all done it at one point. You gotta do what you gotta do, am I right?

Hubbard Grille is located at 793 N. High St. in the Short North. To learn more + view the menu, visit hubbardgrille.com.

@findyourfork your average noodle connoisseur, taco devourer, and mimosa lover. When she's not busy snapping pictures of her latest yummy foodie adventures, you'll find her at your local coffee shop casually relaxing with a pastry in hand and a latte in the other.

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Food & Drink

Beloved burger joint opening in Hilliard next week

614now Staff

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Swensons Drive-In is expanding their central Ohio footprint in just a few days. The Hilliard stand will open at 4810 Cemetery Rd. on Monday, September 23.

Hilliard will be the third stand in Columbus with a locations in Dublin and Polaris.

The Akron-based burger chain prepares their burgers, including the signature Galley Boy, using premium cuts of beef ground fresh daily and made to order. The buttered and toasted buns only add to the juiciness of the meat.

https://twitter.com/SwensonsDriveIn/status/1175043808268099585

Apart from the greasy goodness that is Swensons food, one of the other reasons to patronize the stand is its car-side service. From the comfort of your pajama pants, Swensons Curb Servers will be at your window, eager to take your order and sprint, literally sprint, it back to the kitchen for preparation. Just be sure to not drop a single Potato Teezer between your seat because we all know that is the land of no return.

Visit www.swensonsdriveins.com for more information.

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Food & Drink

Review: Matt & Tony’s dishes out classic comfort food in downtown

Regina Fox

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I've gotten to try a lot of interesting cuisine with this job, but it's rare that I get the opportunity to sample a mother's spaghetti recipe outside of my childhood home. This is the type of experience that Matt & Tony's Wood Fired Kitchen, which recently opened inside the former CBC Restaurant space, offers its guests.

At Matt & Tony's, you don't have to sneak off to the bathroom to Google what a menu item is so you don't look ignorant in front of your date, and that's what makes it so great.

The menu bodes familiar comforts like fried chicken, fish & chips, veal parmesan, and burgers. There's no proprietary flare or fancy sauce smears around your plate—it's all just damn good food.

I sampled Madeline's Spaghetti & Meatballs, which is straight from the cookbook of co-owner Matt Rootes' mother. The sauce was sweet and plentiful while the meatballs were hearty and succulent. I didn't want to gorge myself on the first entree, but I couldn't seem to stop twirling those perfectly-boiled noodles around my fork...

Next up was a Wood Grilled Steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli. I heard once that butter wasn't a carb, so I spread it on thick and cut myself a piece with a crispy fat edge—juicy, tender, and lean. I didn't eat all 12 oz., but I very easily could have.

The Fork N' Knife BBQ Ribs at Matt & Tony's are straight out of a BBQ fairy tale. This healthy helping of slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone meat is smothered in sauce and almost impossible to put down. You may not be excusing yourself to Google what you just nervously and unknowingly ordered, but you'll probably require a bathroom mirror to make sure you've wiped all the sauce off your mug after devouring these racks.

Feeling like Thanksgiving? Have a little alternative celebration for yourself with Matt & Tony's Half Roasted Chicken with crushed herbs and lemon butter. Slip into a food coma with the sides of potatoes and seasonal vegetable. Dream a little dream of country gravy (which can be found drowning the fried chicken dinner entree).

Rootes says he and his partner Tony Wildman chose to open Matt & Tony's to give the people of downtown an option for high-quality steaks and seafood at a reasonable price without all the "frou-frou." I, for one, think that's exactly what downtown needs.

While so many other restaurants are reaching for globally-inspired dishes made with ingredients you can pronounce, Matt & Tony's is executing classic comfort dishes you grew up on in a warm, inviting atmosphere—it's like a little slice of home on Short St.

Matt & Tony's is located at 525 Short Street and is open 11am- 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 11am- 11pm Friday and Saturday. Visit mattandtonys.com for more information.

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