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Strip Mall Surprise: Italian gem tucked away in Reynoldsburg

Aaron Wetli

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Welcome to Strip Mall Surprise, a place to celebrate the history, atmosphere and cuisine of some of the best restaurants in the 614. There are only two requirements: delicious food and a strip mall storefront. For our inaugural edition, we traveled to Scali Ristorante in Reynoldsburg for some of the tastiest, authentic Italian food in Central Ohio.

Owning a restaurant has always been Frank Scali’s dream, and he found the perfect partner for that endeavor in his wife Judy. The couple met while working together at an Italian restaurant (the former Baci Ristorante on South High), and it’s safe to say that food is in their blood. Frank’s family hails from Southern Italy and Judy’s from Northern Italy and those influences marry (literally and figuratively) into their relationship and culinary styles.

Opened in 1993, Scali is the kind of restaurant where regulars become friends and friends become family. The Scalis chose to open their restaurant in Reynoldsburg because there were no Italian restaurants on the east side at the time. The Scalis attribute their success to making connections, friends and lasting relationships.

For seating options, Scali has a cozy dining area, full-service bar and counter that looks directly into the kitchen. The kitchen is clean and open, and the chef and his crew run a tight shift while laughing and joking with the talented and tenured wait staff.

Scali also offers a quality array of wine for dining in and retail wines to go. For dinner, we chose a bottle of 2010 Rosso Di Montalcino which had a medium body with hints of spice and fruit. Like most wines on the menu, the price was right and the bottle was unique.

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THE APPETIZER

The Shrimp Cognac was exactly what it sounds like. Recommended by our server Andrea, it featured large shrimp sautéed in Cognac and topped with Gorgonzola—rich and creamy with a smoky finish.

ENTREES

Our philosophy going into the evening was to not pick items (food or drink) that we could find at other local Italian restaurants. We knew that Scali served authentic Italian cuisine so that is what we ordered. Megan chose the Vitello Saltimbocca.

Thinly sliced veal topped with prosciutto, cooked in a white wine butter sauce and topped with sage, this dish is every bit as enticing as it sounds. The food came out of the kitchen piping hot, and the textures and flavors complemented each other supremely. While this dish was filling, it was not overbearing.

I ordered the hearty, mouthwatering Brasciole—Frank’s favorite dish to make. For those not familiar, this dish is comparable to a meatloaf but consists of sirloin stuffed with salami and capicola ham, and mozzarella, Romano and provolone cheeses—all baked together in a red sauce. This entrée is a Master’s level class in the union between meat, cheese, sauce, and pasta—and you need to study the syllabus.

DESSERT

At this point in the evening, we were reaching maximum capacity, but Judy talked us into looking at the dessert menu. We weren’t planning on ordering anything, but our meal was impressive enough to warrant taking a peek.

The delicious Cannoli filling consisted of ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, cinnamon and vanilla and was custom made by Judy, who also makes the Tiramisu and Panna Cota. (If this was the Cannoli from The Godfather, I can understand why Clemenza wouldn’t leave it in the car.) 

So there you have it, a delectable and authentic Italian dinner served by a locally owned family business that just happens to be in a strip mall. If you find yourself east of route 71 (or in the Eastern Time Zone), make a reservation at Scali Ristorante – you won’t be disappointed.

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Food & Drink

3 cocktails to try at home with High Bank Distillery’s new Professor Rum

Mitch Hooper

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Making cocktails at home is hard—that’s a statement we won’t get much debate from with the drinkers at home. Maybe it’s the magic the bartenders in this city wield that make our drinks so damn delicious, or maybe it’s just our lack thereof. But sometimes all you need is a few tricks of the trade to become a master of your own home bar, and that’s where High Bank Distillery comes in.

Fresh from the still comes High Bank’s newest bottle release: Professor Rum. Stock & Barrel stopped by the facility, kitchen, and bar to see how we could concoct our very own cocktails at home with the rum. Here are three options for you to try. Or of course, just simply stroll down to HBD and have one of their cocktail wizards whip you up a delicious elixir.

Rum Julius

1.5 oz. Vanilla Infused Professor Rum .75 oz. Demerara Simple Syrup
1 oz. Half and Half
2 oz. Fresh Orange Juice

Instructions: Combine ingredients in a shaker and shake well. Garnish with orange zest and mint sprig.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

Peat's Me

1.5 oz. Professor Rum
.5 oz. Laphroaig
.25 oz. Simple Syrup
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters 2 Dashes Cardamom Bitters

Instructions: Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir. Pour over a big ice cube and garnish with lemon peel.

5 Stormy Nights

2 oz. Chinese spiced rum
.25 oz. lime juice
.25 oz simple syrup
Goslings Ginger Beer to Float

Instructions: Combine rum, lime, and simple syrup in a shaker and shake. Pour over ice in a copper mug and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wheel.

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Food & Drink

Where’s the beef? At 614 Burger + Beer Week, coming soon!

Regina Fox

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On the 18th of September, some great folks—the powers at be only know who—determined this would be the day humankind celebrates the juicy, succulent, greasy creation we've come to know and love as the cheeseburger.

And on October 7 through 12, your good friends here at (614) decided those would be the days we'd celebrate burgers and beer here in Columbus!

Burger + Beer Week, presented by (614) Magazine and Ohio Beef Council, is your chance to enjoy $6 burgers and local beer specials at 75+ of Columbus’ top restaurants:

Some restaurants will discount their menu mainstay burger for the event while others will whip up entirely new creations you can only get during Burger + Beer Week.

And thanks to our friends at Columbus Brewing Company, Seventh Son Brewing, Platform Beer Co - Columbus, and Land-Grant Brewing Company, you'll be able to greasily grab for a specially-priced pint to wash down your meal.

But, perhaps the best part of Burger + Beer Week is the opportunity to give back. Now through October 12, you can enter to receive dinner for four people at six Burger & Beer Week restaurants plus a craft beer gift package, with each unique entry equally a $0.25 donation to the Columbus Diaper Coalition!

Be sure to RSVP to the event and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for loads of burger giveaways, like this one we have going on right now with Ted's Montana Grill!

Burger & Beer Week is made possible thanks to: Ohio Beef Council, Gordon Food Service, Trinity Homes, Lamar Advertising of Columbus, OH, Financial Providence Group, The Brew 105.7, WNCI 97.9, The Wasserstrom Company, BMI Federal Credit Union, Stock and Barrel, Yelp Columbus, and 614now.

**No tickets are needed for this event but you can view participating restaurants & menus as they're added at EAT614.com soon!

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Food & Drink

10 deals and steals for National Cheeseburger Day

Regina Fox

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Google defines a cheeseburger as "a hamburger with a slice of cheese on it," but we all know it's so much more.

It's an extension of your dominant hand during the summer months. It's something you can look forward to grilling up after a long workweek. It's your favorite food.

Today, we celebrate all this and more with National Cheeseburger Day.

Below are deals and steals to take advantage of on this glorious holiday. Happy eating, Columbus!

Applebee's | Multiple locations

Classic Bacon Cheeseburger and endless fries for $6.99

https://www.facebook.com/applebees/posts/10157546306359334:0

Red Robin | Multiple locations

A Gourmet Cheeseburger and Bottomless Steak Fries are just $5 with the purchase of any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage.

Ted's Montana Grill | Multiple locations

Burger + fresh-cut fries deal for just $6. Click here for a chance to win a $25 gift card!

https://www.facebook.com/tedsmontanagrill/photos/a.105938556277/10157371679961278/?type=3

Dairy Queen | Multiple locations

Dairy Queens offering two for $4 Super Snack deal, which includes mix-and-match snacks including choice of a cheeseburger, a small sundae, fries, pretzel sticks, or chicken tenders.

https://www.facebook.com/dairyqueen/videos/751031365356013/

Burger Theory | 175 E Town St

You can get a free burger at all Burger Theory restaurants located in Holiday Inn hotels, while supplies last.

Wendy's | Multiple locations

You can get a free Dave's Single with any Wendy's purchase with an offer on the mobile app. The deal lasts until September 30.

McDonald's | Multiple locations

Download the chain's app to get a sandwich for $1, including Big Macs! The offer is available until September 30.

Houlihan's | 3150 Tremont Rd, Upper Arlington

Get the Houlihan’s Burger with cheese and fries for only $5.

Bareburger| Multiple locations

From 3pm- 6pm, you can get a BOGO deal on Bareburger's American or vegan Golden State burger.

Burger King | Multiple Locations

Get a cheeseburger for 59 cents with a mobile order on the chain’s app. Limit one coupon per person.

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