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Columbus Comfort Classics: Winter Edition

Aaron Wetli

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Winter is here and per usual, it’s pretty damn dark and cold out. If you are like me, you take pride in gaining ten extra winter pounds because you take comfort in food. And boy howdy, does this town have some great winter comfort food.

Here is our list of Columbus Comfort Classics. These entrees are guaranteed to chase away the Winter Blues, if only for a few hours. Let’s carb out, heat up, and get started.

The Moltansanti at Mama Mimi’s Take ‘n Bake Pizza | Grandview, Upper Arlington, Clintonville

Everyone yearns for Yellow Brick, is familiar with Meister’s mastery, and has experienced the awesomeness of Adriatico’s. However, if you are expecting to get snowed in, Mama Mimi’s offers you flexibility as their pizza can stay in your refrigerator for 48 hours before baking.

My favorite is the Moltansanti; a pepperoni, banana pepper, tomato, and roasted garlic pizza that blows competition away, just like the eponymous Sopranos character it is named for.

Pro tip: Order online before 4 p.m. and receive 20% off.

Chicken-N-Noodles at Nancy’s Home Cooking | 3133 N High St.

If you haven’t been to Nancy’s Home Cooking, you should probably get your Columbus Card revoked. If you have been to Nancy’s, odds are you have tried the Chicken-N-Noodles.

In short, this dish is composed of a mountain of buttery and rich mashed potatoes and topped with all of the Amish style Chicken and Noodles that can fit on your plate. If that wasn’t enough carbs for you, dinner rolls are also served alongside green beans.

Busters at Jack & Benny’s | 2563 N High St.

Certainties in life: taxes, death, and Jack & Benny’s amazing breakfast. You should reward yourself one with of their Busters after you shovel the walks and driveway. You earned it.

The Jack Buster comes with two hash browns, one bacon slice, one piece of ham, one egg and cheese all topped with country gravy.

The Benny Buster? Sub out the hash browns for two potato pancakes and keep everything else the same. Both busters are only $8.99 each. You’re welcome.

Xiao Long Bao at Helen’s Asian Kitchen | 1070 E Dublin Granville Rd.

Do you know what Xiao Long Bao is? Don’t worry, I didn’t either before I ate at Helen’s. In short, Xiao Long Bao are dumplings and these dumplings rival any other dumpling in Columbus. Even yours, Momo Ghar.

Served in a thick and rich sauce, these handmade dumplings have pork and cabbage and come in a hand rolled and steamed bun.

They may take a minute to arrive at the table, so relax and enjoy the scenery. Perfection takes time.

Taco Al Pastor at Los Guachos | 7370 Sawmill Rd.

Forget about Taco Tuesday, get to Los Guachos Sawmill location for Taco Monday (Taco Monday isn’t a thing, but just roll with it). The Al Pastor is a corn (the way God intended it) tortilla with slow roasted pork, pineapple, onions and cilantro, and on Mondays they are BOGO.

Juicy, hot and bursting with flavor, I recommend ordering four. Oh yeah, there is also a house-made margarita special on Monday. Your Monday just got A LOT better.

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Shakshuka at The Olive Tree Mediterranean Café | 3185 Hilliard-Rome Rd.

I recently moved out of Hilliard after living there for a little over two year and I have to say, the Shashuka at The Olive Tree is my favorite Hilliard entree.

Shaksuka is not quite a soup and not quite a fork and knife entrée. More specifically, it is two eggs served poached in a rich red sauce with pepper and garlic. I order mine with spicy sausage. This entrée will warm you up and the service at Olive Tree is second to none.

Carbonara at South Village Grille | 197 Thurman Ave.

You might be surprised to find one of the heartiest and most delicious pasta dishes tucked away in this corner of the German Village. Then again, you might not be. (I’m not psychic.) Carbonara, campanelle pasta, pancetta, peas, pecorino and an egg yolk round out this classic comfort entrée.

To call this dish rich insults the upper class and at $19, it won’t put too much of a damper on your wallet or working-class sensibilities. You could even sit at the bar and split this entrée with your significant other, but you may wish you had ordered it for yourself.

South Village Grille’s
Shrimp bucatini: artichoke hearts – tomato – baby spinach – herb cream sauce

Chicken Vindaloo at Indian Oven | 427 E Main St.

Baby, it’s cold outside. Well, at least until you get the spicy Chicken Vindaloo at Indian Oven. Then the world is warm and wonderful.

Basmati rice topped with chicken, potatoes, and tomatoes and cooked in a spicy, vinegar sauce makes anyone happier, and, odds are you will have leftovers.

Also, you won’t be cold anymore. Well, at least your temperature won’t be cold. I can’t testify for your temperament.

Indian Oven’s house-made paneer

Lobster Bisque at Lindey’s | 169 E Beck St.

Lobster Bisque at Lindey’s…I really don’t know if I need to follow up that heading with anything, I mean it’s Lobster Bisque at Lindey’s. Eat some there and get some to go. Rich, hearty, hints of sherry and shrimp, this bisque has a little bit of everything.

My advice? Get a bowl at brunch and follow it with an Irish Coffee. That should warm you up enough to tackle shoveling the walks.

Pho Dac Biet at Houng Vietnamese | 1270 Morse Rd.

Nestled away in a strip mall just east of I-71 on Morse Road is some of the best Pho in the city. A family owned and operated restaurant, Houng is an integral part of the neighborhood, and once you eat their food, you will understand why.

The Pho Dac Biet is Pho with rare steak, meatballs, tendon and well-done flank and it is topped with a garden of cilantro and limes. Also, the bowl it comes in is as big as your head. Nice people, budget friendly and piping hot pho. Get there. Get the shrimp spring rolls too.

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Burger at The Rossi | 895 N High St.

If you like Philco, El Camino and Club 185 (and who doesn’t) odds are you will like the Rossi as all three concepts are from the same management group. Plus, we have to have a burger on this list, right? A slight variation on the famous Club 185 Cheeseburger, the Rossi burger pulls no punches, because it doesn’t need to.

Hamburger, cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle, and mayo. Classic.

*Pro tip: save $6 by going at Happy Hour instead of dinner. Order two burgers and get a bourbon after. Wow, I’m smart.

Fried Chicken at The Whitney House | 666 High St.

This entrée is only available on Sundays, but that just means you have a good omen to start your week. Crispy, airy, and juicy with a hint of spice, this entrée is worth waiting the whole week for and comes with Mac and Cheese, pickled vegetables and a sriracha/honey sauce.

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Clintonville Brunch Crawl: We dare you to squeeze all 3 stops into 1 day

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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.

blunchcolumbus.com

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

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Dough Mama • 3335 N High St.

Dough-mama.com

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.

babascolumbus.com

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

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Harvest Pizzeria sowing last seeds in German Village

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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.

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Crawfish boils claw their way into Columbus Saturday

Mike Thomas

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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’!

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