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Lent Lowdown: 5 of our favorite Friday fish spots

Mike Thomas

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Not having grown up in the Catholic tradition, I have little firsthand experience of Lent. To me, a consummate junk food junkie, this time of year has meant a chance to snag a discounted filet-o-fish from McD’s and not much else.

Not content to wallow in ignorance through another season of Lent, I took to Google to learn the meaning behind this religious observance. While I’m still a few credits shy of a degree in theology, good old Wikipedia managed to shed some light on the history and tradition behind this time of prayer, penance, and self-denial.

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Even if some basic research yields a wealth of knowledge on the subject, the widely known facts remain essential to the experience of Lent. If you’re observing tradition, you’re probably giving something up for 40 days. You might be fasting, or spending more time in prayer. But for all the faithful, a big unifying factor is the “no meat on Friday” rule that typically leads to an uptick in fish consumption.

Looking for the best places to score the goods on these meatless Fridays? 614NOW has you covered. Refer to this list of favorite local establishments that are ready to serve your Lenten needs.

Old Bag of Nails | Multiple Locations

This popular central Ohio chain stocks plenty of seafood favorites year round, but Lent is truly their time to shine. Dinners, platters, or po’ boys – blackened, Cajun, or fried. This menu is overflowing with the sea’s bounty, but the star of the show is the British Style Fish & Chips ($13.99).

Queen’s Table | Find the truck

The official meal of Comfest—The Fish Boat—is actually available year-round, but it’s not the easiest to come by. Queen’s Table operates as a food truck throughout the year, so be on the lookout for the Columbus seafood classic next time you need a lent-friendly lunch. (Sites like street food finder are a big help in tracking down your favorite mobile eats.)

Mitchell’s Fish Market | 1245 Olentangy River Rd, Columbus

Need I say more? For a high-end Friday night out, you really can’t go wrong with this campus-adjacent seafood joint from Columbus’ culinary king.

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City BBQ | Multiple Locations

Each year on honor of Lent, Columbus’ BBQ favorite adds fish to their normally red-meat centered menu. Now through April 4, dishes featuring southern-fried catfish and Atlantic smoked salmon join the party. City BBQ’s catfish is some of the best around, and is definitely worth seeking out at least once during this limited annual appearance.

Rooster’s | Multiple Locations

We all know it’s a fun casual joint, but did you know they have fish on the menu? Easily lost in the shuffle between dumpster fries and the biggest wings around, Rooster’s generously-sized battered fish sandwich comes in at a very wallet friendly $7.59. And after all, cheese-covered tots are Lent friendly, aren’t they?

Of course, fish fries will be going down across numerous churches throughout the season. This handy list from WBNS will help you find one close to you.

What are your go-to places to eat during Lent? Let us know in the comments.

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Food & Drink

Keep calm: Geordie’s English restaurant announces opening date

Mike Thomas

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No, we aren’t talking Geordi LaForge, chief engineering officer of the USS Enterprise. As it happens, “Geordie” is a slang term referring to people from from the Tyneside area in northeastern England.

Geordie’s is also the name of an English restaurant coming soon to the city’s south side at 1586 S. High St – the former location of Columbus Explorers Club.

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After months of red-tape and construction-related delays, Geordie’s co-owner Glenn Hall-Jones has confirmed an opening date of May 31 for his establishment, which seeks to replicate the true English pub experience right here in Columbus.

So we had a test day in the kitchen Sunday. Just a few of the dishes from the Geordie’s menu. Traditional English Sunday…

Posted by Geordie’s Restaurant. on Monday, May 20, 2019

Once open, Geordie’s patrons can expect beer offerings from the United Kingdom, such as Newcastle Brown Ale, Guinness, and more, along with taps pouring local craft beer. There will also be a full bar and food menu full of favorites from across the pond.

Keep calm and check this spot out on May 31.

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Food & Drink

New, unique brand of ice cream hitting freezers near you soon

614now

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Just in time for summer, a new ice cream company will be expanding into the Columbus market! Perry’s Ice Cream Company, Inc., a Great Lakes regional brand and Upstate New York’s #1 ice cream choice, will begin stocking over 600 local freezers and scoop shops with its unique flavors like:

  • Bad Breakup (Sea salt caramel chocolate ice cream with milk fudge swirls and fudge-filled hearts)
  • Grasshopper Pie (fudge swirls and mint ice cream will tingle your taste buds while the crème-filled cookies add a refreshing crunch)
  • Off the Grid (Chocolate ice cream with peanut butter swirls and chopped peanut butter cups)

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The ice cream will be also appear at a number of local events, such as the Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest, Ohio State Fair, and at Huntington Park for Clippers games.

As a result of this expansion into both Columbus and Cleveland, Perry’s has created 49 jobs in Ohio and will directly invest about $6.3 million in the state in 2019.

The Great Lakes-regional and Western New York-based, family-owned company has been making ice cream for more than 100 years and prides itself on its slow-cooked, exceptionally creamy and delicious ice cream made from local ingredients. 

For more information, visit PerrysIceCream.com

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Food & Drink

“Cinco stars” for new and improved Cinco Tacos

Mike Thomas

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Located in the heart of downtown Columbus near the intersection of Broad and High, Cinco Tacos has been serving the lunch crowd for quite some time. Like many of its fast-casual peers, it was a decent enough place to grab a quick meal that was just a notch above fast food burger chains.

Now, under new ownership, Cinco is done settling for “good enough.” This means more than just a fresh coat of paint on the walls, but a completely new menu highlighting traditional Mexican preparations, executed with patience and care.

Already a veteran of the food truck scene, Fransisco Garcia took over Cinco Tacos a short time ago, and quickly got to work making the space his own. First, he put together a staff well-versed in traditional Mexican cooking. He and his team got to work, completely overhauling and expanding Cinco’s array of offerings.

The results speak for themselves, with tacos, burritos, and other diverse items bursting with authentic flavors that put their Americanized counterparts in the national chains to shame.

Carnitas taco, “suprema” style. Photos by Kelsey Cowan

The secret to Cinco’s superior fare seems to be in taking the time to let flavors develop. The house-made barbacoa takes up to 8 hours to prepare. The carnitas take even longer, and it’s time well spent – both of these proteins are exceptionally tender and flavorful.

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Small touches also demonstrate the care that Garcia takes in his approach to cooking. Not satisfied to serve just another taco, he sources yellow corn tortillas from a purveyor in Chicago that are simply the best available in the region, and perhaps beyond.

On this menu, classic sides like chips and various salsas (all made in house) are joined by unique offerings like pozole – a rich Mexican soup with pork and hominy that is a rarity even among the city’s many traditional Mexican establishments.

Cinco’s pork belly taco – one of the restaurant’s rotating specials

In keeping with the great flavors found on its regular menu, Cinco features a lineup of killer specials that rotate depending on availability of ingredients. The pork belly taco, made with pork belly hand-trimmed and marinated in house, offers an explosion of juicy, porky flavor. Topped with Cinco’s next-level guacamole, this is one special to look out for.

With the new-and-improved Cinco Tacos open for business, it’s hard to justify visiting chain restaurants. Cinco has everything you would find at those other places (plus much more) but with deep, traditional flavors. Try it yourself the next time you’re downtown looking for a quick lunch, or make a special trip of it – Cinco is definitely worth it.

Cinco is located at 1 S High St, Columbus. They currently serve lunch through 4PM, with plans to expand to dinner service in the future.

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