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Food & Drink

3 food trends benefitting health, environment at Portia’s Café

Laura Dachenbach



Food trends aren’t difficult to spot these days. Simply observing recipes pinned on Pinterest and tallying a few search terms often yields a good idea of what’s making it to our tables, or at least what we think we should be eating. If this data holds, then “You are what you eat,” is a phrase more people are taking seriously. From novel flavors to health benefits to sustainability, the reasons behind our eating patterns seem to be increasingly driven by a more mindful approach to eating.

Few of today’s trending foods are new. What is new is an awareness of their benefits. Recently I sat down for lunch with Portia Yiamouyiannis, owner of Portia’s Café, a vegan restaurant with the mission of creating positive change through food, to discuss about how some of these trends are hitting the Columbus food scene.

Fermented Foods

Between seeking unique flavors and food that is more naturally processed, foodies are finding the answer in fermented foods. Fermentation preserves food naturally through lactic acid, which is produced by natural bacteria added to food, which then feeds on its sugars.

Asian and African foods have long incorporated fermentation techniques from miso soup to kombucha tea to a lassi yogurt drink. The signature flavor that fermented foods have can lie between sour and savory, with a bit of a tangy bite.

Fermentation can extend the freshness or shelf life of a food or beverage, but it also add certain health properties as well, including omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics, which promote gut health.

Illustrations by Sara Moore

“Usually why people get into fermented foods is because of the good bacteria it gives them,” said Yiamouyiannis, who points to her stock of kombucha teas, an especially popular item. “If you look from ten years ago to now, [the popularity] just grew exponentially. And people start[ed] making their own kombucha. So that’s another cool thing.”

So the fact that fermented foods have become popular is a no-brainer for Yiamouyiannis. Foods that are both healthy and appetizing are filling a gap between bland and beneficial, or flavorful but unhealthy.

“They hear [kombucha] is healthy for you and it tastes good, and they have a choice between water and kombucha, or pop and kombucha, they’re going to go for the kombucha.”



Technically classified as fungi, mighty mushrooms are becoming increasingly popular in a more plant-forward food world. Hybrid burgers made of both ground beef and ground mushroom hit mass distribution with the SONIC signature Slinger, giving a nod to consumers who want to reduce the amount of saturated fat and calories of a traditional burger, without sacrificing much taste. And taste seems to be driving the mushroom trend.

While the pungent flavor and aroma of fermented food might take some getting used to, mushrooms have a springy texture and an earthy, umami flavor that are appealing to an array of eaters.

For those who desire, mushrooms can be an easy and satisfying substitute for meat.

“This [trend] is taste, and then it’s health. But the health is freaking off the charts for mushrooms. … They can be anti-carcinogenic, anti-tumor, pro-immune system, and good for the liver,” explained Yiamouyiannis.

Those properties are due to the antioxidants, selenium, and vitamin D found in mushrooms. Now that mushrooms are becoming better known for nutrition, other types of mushroom offerings are becoming more common. Portia’s offers a 14-mushroom blend, used to add a unique flavor and an extra dash of health.

“I have it in different coffee drinks,” said Yiamouyiannis. “You can put it in miso soup. It does make it taste richer, but it you know you’re also getting all those healthy properties.”

Oat Milk

While oat milk has been around for a while, it was the Swedish brand Oatly that put oat milk in the spotlight, ahead of other plant-based milks. Suddenly, grocery stores were hard-pressed to keep the product in stock.

Oat milk has a more desirable texture than most plant-based milks, making it a more palatable swap for dairy products in coffees and teas.

“This is a very cool, neutral flavor with a creaminess. It’s perfect for coffee shops. It’s perfect for people that can’t do dairy, that aren’t even vegan.”

Oat milk has an additional benefit of being relatively allergy-friendly. And since oats require less water than a product such as almonds, and can be grown domestically (unlike coconuts) oat milk is also a more sustainable product.

Despite its sustainability, oat milk is still a pricey drink choice. But Yiamouyiannis believes that will change. “Until [a certain number of] people jump on the bandwagon of getting oat milk it’s going to be expensive for a while, but it’ll get cheaper as we go.”

Try kombucha, mushroom coffee, and a full assortment of vegan dishes at Portia’s Café, located at 4428 Indianola Ave. Visit

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Food & Drink

National Brisket Day is Tomorrow!

Julian Foglietti



Photo by Brian Kaiser

With meat shortages starting to take their toll and National Brisket Day around the corner here's a roundup of some spots you can go to to get your brisket fix.

Legacy Smoke House

With their main location in Hilliard and a food truck moving throughout the city, Legacy Smoke House is a solid choice for brisket on National Brisket Day, just be sure to get there while supplies last. Enjoy!

Pecan Pennys

Just off Main Street, Pecan Pennys is ready to fulfill your brisket needs. If your looking to feed a family though be sure to get your orders in advance as they're requesting 24 hours notice on dinner bundles.

Ray-Ray's Hog Pit

With locations in Franklinton, Westerville, Clintonville and Powell Ray Ray's Hog Pit is open for business with brisket stocked at all locations. #NationalBrisketDay is the best day!

Hoggy’s Restaurant and Catering

Located on Bethel Road, Hoggy’s will be stocking brisket for both dine-in or carryout. Feel free to stop in or stop by!

The Pit

With a new location opened up on Parsons Ave. The Pit BBQ will be offering brisket for the National day. Celebrate with some tasty brisket!

City Barbeque

City Barbeque will be offering brisket for the National day! So get excited and get ready for some yummy BBQ brisket!

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{UPDATED} Indoor Dining: what’s NOT opening?




Los Gauchos

PINS Mechanical Co.

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Hey Pinheads. We're so excited to hear that our world is beginning to reopen! Many of you have reached out asking about our opening plans so we wanted to provide a brief update on Pins Mechanical Co. While we fully trust and support the decisions of our local leaders, it’s our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our team members and guests, while not sacrificing the experience that makes Pins, Pins! With that in mind, none of our locations will be opening in May. There are many unknowns with COVID-19 and we hope that taking this extra time will help our guests and teammates feel better about the measures we’ve put in place to keep all of us safe. For example, on top of our already stringent cleaning procedures, we’re installing UV technology at all locations (ensuring you always have clean balls to play with). We’re looking forward to welcoming back our kick-ass team to train and adjust to this new normal. Once our people feel comfortable + confident, we’ll know it’s time to get rollin’ again! Thank you for your incredible support, online sales, photo shares + kind words over the last two months. Even when you couldn’t show up, you showed up and we’ll never forget it! We’re hopeful that everyone will be safe and smart as we begin to reopen the doors to the small businesses that make our communities so special. See you soon, Pinheads!

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Old North Arcade

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Dear friends, . As you are most likely aware, Governor DeWine has permitted the reopening of bars and restaurants for dine-in seating effective 5/21. We are very grateful that our leadership is now offering businesses the choice to do what they think is right. We offer no judgment for the bars and restaurants that are/have chosen to open. However, for our particular business, and for our staff, we still think it's too early. We are going to remain closed this week and next but do hope to open soon. Your understanding and patience is greatly appreciated and we cannot wait to see you all. It is important to us that we apply an extra layer of safety and precaution on top of the govermental recommendations. Tentatively, we are looking at the end of May to reopen in a very limited capacity but we're following local and national developments very closesly so will be quick to bail if things turn south. Your continued support has been quite humbling. Thank you. Stay healthy, support local, and be more than kind to one another. . Cautiously optimistic, . ONA Staff

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Watershed Kitchen + Bar

101 Beer kitchen

They are delaying opening dine-in service until May 26th.

Matt the Miller's Tavern

Stay tuned on social for patio and dine-in updates!

J. Gumbo's

J. Gumbo's will continue to stay open for online ordering for pick up and delivery - stay tuned for dine-in updates.

Mouton on High

The Whitney House

The Whitney House will be opening Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 11 am.

The Guild House

Stay tuned for opening dates!

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Stay safe everyone 💕

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Smoked On High

Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace

The Woodbury

The Woodbury will be opening its doors for dine-in service on June 1 2020.


Roosters are not opening dine-in until May 26th 2020.

The Eagle

The Eagle is temporarily closed - stay tuned on social for updates!

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In light of the government mandated closure of dine-in business for an indeterminable period of time, we’ve made the incredibly hard decision to temporarily close The Eagle Columbus. . Given the truly unprecedented and quickly evolving nature of this health crisis, we’ve been forced to make the best decisions we can, with the information we have. As the true scale of this crisis has been revealed, it’s become impossible to deny the impact this mandate will have on our business and team members. This decision was made as all of our decisions have been: with the health, happiness, well being and best interests of our guests and team members in mind. . The state of Thunderdome Restaurant Group is strong and we look forward to seeing and serving you all on the other side of this. Truth, courage, and be well.

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Lavash Cafe

Tiger + Lily

Tiger + Lily is sticking to carry out for the time being. Follow them on social for updates for dine-in!

Yats Grandview

Red Lobster

Red Lobster is continuing to stick to curbside pickup, delivery, or touchless pick-up.

Harvest Pizza

Bareburger Columbus

Bareburger is opening for dine-in on May 26th, 2020.


City Barbeque

Local Cantina - Creekside, Grandview, Dublin, Westerville, Hilliard Locations

Creekside Local Cantina is delaying opening indoor dining until May 26, 2020.

OH Pizza and Brew

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Don’t be that guy/gal who forces your favorite bar/restaurant to permanently close; here are the rules




Once the flood of COVID-related documentaries start to infiltrate our Netflix and Hulu feeds, one of the most debated topics will be which smoking gun the auteur chooses. NBA player Rudy Gobert recklessly rubbing his hands over every microphone during a press conference days before testing positive comes to mind first. The spring break bro who wouldn’t let the virus stop him from raging will make its rounds. Even the scene at Standard Hall made some people’s skin crawl.

The Ohio Investigative Unit will be doing its best to monitor situations at restaurants and bars in order to prevent any future anecdotes like the ones listed above. Local law enforcement agencies will be assisting the OIU to make sure that establishments are complying with the Dine Safe Ohio order. With the issues that were brought up following the opening of outside dining on May 15, the OIU has made specific stipulations for patrons to follow:

  • 6-foot social distancing between employees AND members of the public
  • patrons must be seated while eating and/or drinking 
  • no more than 10 people to a table
  • no billiards, video/arcade games, dancing, or card playing
  • patrons must follow specific guidelines put in place by restaurant/bar

For those who have no shame dancing by themselves in public, you’re golden. However, patrons can be written up for not following the OIU’s guidelines. 

Some people may be able to shoulder a citation, but bars and restaurants are the ones who have the most to lose here. In a press conference on May 18, Gov. Mike DeWine mentioned that OIU will issue citations that could result in the permanent loss of liquor licenses.

So once again the ball is in the consumer’s court: follow these very simple rules and avoid the risk of putting your favorite restaurants and bars out of business for good. In 2020, being spring break bro is the worst look.

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