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5 Very Veggie Brunches: Savory and sweet without the meat

J.R. McMillan

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Cover photo by Brian Kaiser

For the uninitiated omnivore, vegan and vegetarian options may seem scarce, even in a city as innovative and inviting as Columbus when it comes to inclusive cuisine. Long gone are the heyday of hippie joints with lean offerings long on salads, yet still short on something you could sink your teeth into—not that the stereotype was ever entirely accurate.

Though there is certainly far more fare from which to choose than there was a generation ago, veteran vegans and vegetarians may reluctantly admit midday meals and evening eats have always been easier to accommodate than traditional morning menus. And anything a little later, maybe with a little liquor, is almost impossible to find. Even Oddfellows’ unambiguous “Classy as F*ck Brunch Buffet” couldn’t last forever. Woodhouse Vegan’s Monday/Tuesday pop-up persists, though with any luck their new digs in Italian Village will revive the tradition.

Brunch is more than breakfast’s big brother. It’s at least as much a social imperative as a search for sustenance. Be it boozy or just bougie, the leisure class case for more conscientious consumption still remains somewhat shaky. Brunch is about familiar comfort foods, and requires rousing a gaggle of friends whose idea of weekend decadence may not be implicitly plant forward.

But this is when sneaky vegans and vegetarians can show the skeptics exactly where Columbus secretly shines, with approachable spots and unassuming options that might just change the minds of many who can’t imagine brunch beyond bacon.

THE ANGRY BAKER | 891 Oak St.

This Olde Towne East eatery has inspired two o shoots in the Short North and Upper Arlington. But the atmosphere of the original is still a strong draw with scratch-made breads and pastries that are all vegan by design.

Go for the Brioche French Toast Sandwich stuffed with eggs and swiss with a side of maple syrup for dipping—or the Fork & Knife Burrito, filled with potatoes, avocado, black beans, and mozzarella then baked and topped with two eggs, salsa verde, sriracha, and green onions. Make either vegetarian choice vegan with seitan and cashew mozz instead. Be sure to grab something sweet to go.

Check out: theangrybaker.com

ALCHEMY KITCHEN | 1439 Grandview Ave.

The more robust sibling of the Parsons Avenue café, the Grandview location offers an expanded menu with holistic nutrition that makes it far more than just another juice bar. (But seriously, if you don’t order a smoothie, you’re missing out.)

Toasts are tempting, especially the Baconana, topped with almond butter, banana, coconut bacon, smoked sea salt, and maple on whole wheat. But the standout here is still the Mexican Shakshuka, a twist on the Mediterranean staple with sunny-side eggs in a spiced pepper and tomato sauce, black beans, avocado, Bulgarian feta, pickled chilies and red onions, cilantro, and a slab of farm toast.

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Check out: alchemyjuicecafe.com

BLUNCH | 2973 N High St.

Perfectly blurring the line between breakfast and lunch was always the point at this High Street haunt just south of Weber. With a generous mix of vegetarian selections, there’s plenty here to keep everyone happy— including a drink menu from bloody to bubbly with a solid slate of local craft brews.

The Veggie Benedict with sautéed vegetables on a panko-crusted portabella with poached eggs and roasted red pepper-cashew sauce is the vegetarian spin on a morning mainstay. For something less savory, you can’t go wrong with a Pancake Flight of sautéed bananas foster, blueberry lemon ricotta, and sweet potato with toasted marshmallows.

Check out: blunchcolumbus.com

LITTLE EATER | Multiple locations

“Produce inspired” is more than just a mantra for this quaint Clintonville location now with a sister shop in the North Market. Bright, white, subway tiles are as synonymous with the brand as the seasonal selection of locally sourced ingredients.

Start with the Spinach & Leek Frittata, with an unexpected balance of dill, turmeric, and feta—or the Mushroom Quiche with shallots and Gruyère. For something with some crunch, try any of their toasts, from Avocado Toasted Seed Mix with olive oil and sea salt on a slice of Lucky Cat bread to Pistachio Nut Butter with strawberry-citrus jam on a Matija Breads ciabatta.

Check out: littleeater.com

PORTIA’S CAFÉ | 4428 Indianola Ave.

Once coupled with the beloved Clintonville Community Market, this Indianola outpost is adding a second location later this year in a familiar space, the same spot as the old Whole World Natural Restaurant and Bakery off High Street, a neighborhood standard for nearly four decades.

Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard

The Garden Breakfast Wrap with tofu eggs, “cheeze,” “sawsage,” tomato, lettuce, and mayo on a gluten-free tortilla is a meal you can hold in one hand. But don’t skip a side of their Rosemary Herbed Home Fries. If sweet is more your speed, their waffles are unmatched with toppings ranging from banana and blueberry to chocolate chip and coconut, as well as seasonal surprises.

Check out: portiascafe.com

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Food & Drink

Too Good To Eat: SuperChef’s stuffed Scriddle Pancakes

@findyourfork

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Pancake my eyes off you, sweet cakes, cause no one stacks up to you.

Feast your eyes on the thickest thiccest pancakes that Columbus has to offer. SuperChef Ohio serves up these jumbo stacks of comfort in style, by combining the culinary flavors of savory and sweet—essentially, the best of both worlds.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuRtmUYAMhu/?igshid=19h0q3u82h40e

Stuffed to the brim with scrambled eggs, deliciously sweet candied bacon, and house-made sausage all covered up in warm maple syrup, these cakes are not to be missed.

Picture this: four of the thiccest, fluffiest, and softest pancakes stacked one on top of each other with hot maple syrup cascading down the sides.

Grab that knife in your hand and take that first slice down all four pancakes all at once. Watch as the warmth from the layered cakes is released, and along with it all the combined flavors of sweet and salty bacon and sausage.

Shove a generous helping of the cakes into your mouth and close your eyes. Feel instantly comforted by the penultimate flavors of breakfast all in one bite.

Take a big swig of coffee (or milk, whatever suits you) and prepare for another bite of breakfast dream come true. Fancy yourself a one-stop-shop for all your breakfast needs? SuperChef Ohio has got you covered.

SuperChefs has locations in Downtown and Gahanna. Visit mysuperchefs.com for more information.

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Food & Drink

5 tasty merchants announced for North Market Dublin

Regina Fox

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You now have five more reasons to be excited for Dublin's North Market with its recent announcement of merchants. North Market veterans and newbies alike are coming together for the first phase of committed businesses for the Bridge Park public market.

Momo Ghar, Dough Mama, Market Bar, Coastal Local Seafood, and The Dublin Farmer's Daughter will occupy five of the 19 stalls.

“Like we have done for 143 years at our downtown location, we are successfully curating the best-in-class fresh meats, seafood, bakery, and produce categories for the Bridge Park facility that will provide a unique experience for visitors,” said North Market Executive Director Rick Harrison Wolfe.

In case you're not hip to the dynamite dumplings, Momo Ghar will be opening a third location inside North Market Bridge Park. As Food & Wine so affectionately wrote, “Once you try this food, you will never have any problem finding your way back here.”

Dough Mama is yet another Central Ohio favorite, serving "stick-to-your-bones" comfort food with a twist, according to the website. Guests can enjoy homemade biscuits, sandwiches, soups, desserts, pastries, and more.

Market Bar will be quenching the adult thirsts of North Market Bridge Park goers with a variety of craft beer and fine wines to go. This concept is owned by Pete Volker and Wayne Lin.

Central Ohio seafood distributor Ian Holmes, owner of Coastal Local Seafood, will bring his expertise to the North Market Bridge Park merchant community. Upon opening their first retail shop at North Market Bridge Park, Coastal Local Seafood will be able to provide the same wonderful seafood ingredients for home chefs and will also serve on-site menu items such as lobster rolls and crab cakes. Dublin residents and guests can look forward to enjoying fresh oysters at the New England-themed raw bar.

The Dublin Farmer's Daughter is a new concept from the owners of Copia Farm, partners Caitlin Bergman and Dan McLeod. This venture will focus on the highest quality ingredients sourced from our farm and other local farms said Bergman in a release.

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Game Day Destination: Urban Meyer’s Pint House offers food, fun, and football

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Head coach, decorated collegiate champion, and the reason Jim Harbaugh probably can’t sleep at night; these are just a few of the many hats former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer wears. Though Meyer has stepped down as head coach of the Buckeyes’ football team, his tenure with the program has grown roots in the Columbus area. And now that Meyer is fully into his life after football, he’s added the hat of restaurateur to his repertoire.

Now open in Dublin Bridge Park is Urban Meyer’s Pint House—a joint venture between the former Buckeye coach and Corso Ventures. According to Justin Kintz, Corso’s Marketing Director, the restaurant will riff off the concept of Corso’s Short North Pint House with Meyer calling some of the shots just like he did on the sidelines with the Bucks.

“It’s still a pint house, a great place to come and watch the game, we just gave it a Dublin twist,” Kintz said.

This Dublin twist and location comes from Meyer himself as he and his family currently call the suburb their home. The restaurant’s interior matches this Dublin description as it features a simple and approachable setup that still manages to feel quietly chic. Multicolored wood paneling on the walls gives way to strings of simple but tasteful exposed bulbs across the ceiling, as rows of high definition TVs line the walls, playing sports.

The new eatery’s menu contains the expected (and solidly crafted) slate of sandwiches and pizzas one would expect from a sports pub, but with an elevated twinge. One of the Pint House’s featured dinner entrees is linguine with clams which is a borrowed recipe from its sister restaurant, Forno Kitchen + Bar. Kintz explained that Meyer had become somewhat of a regular at the Short North bar and restaurant.

“Urban loves Forno, and his favorite thing there is the linguine with clams,” said Kintz, “So he brought it over.”

The dish is made up of littleneck clams on linguine with Roma tomatoes, white wine, garlic, and lemon, and is available for $19. Other dinner entrees include salmon, petit filet, house battered buttermilk chicken tenders, and Pasta Forno, a rigatoni dish in vodka sauce.

Another menu item borrowed from Forno is their arancini appetizer. The fried risotto balls with Fontina cheese and San Marzano sauce, are now also a favorite appetizer at the Urban Meyer Pint House as well.

“It’s the best-selling item there,” said Kintz.

While the eatery serves lunch and dinner currently, they will soon be rolling out a brunch menu of their own as well. Additionally, each Wednesday the restaurant will feature a special of beer-broiled chicken, fries, and beer for $10, with drinks coming from a rotating series of breweries that is scheduled to change bi-weekly.

Take one look at the restaurant’s name though, and you should know that it isn't just known for its eats. In fact, it’s in the establishment’s libations that patrons will find the most direct nod to the former Buckeyes football coach. 

In a collaboration with the Columbus-based Land-Grant Brewing Company, the pint house worked to create its very own beer in tribute to Meyer. 7-0 Ale is a 5% ABV Kolsch-style Ale that’s light-bodied, crisp, and easy drinking. The beer is available in both cans and on tap.

It’s name, 7-0 Ale, is a figure that appears frequently throughout the taphouse, one that diehard Buckeyes fan will likely catch. It references Meyer’s perfect 7-0 record in tilts with the rival Michigan Wolverines during his seven seasons in Columbus.

Additionally, the pint house features over 20 $7 craft pours alongside a list of canned and bottled beers and ciders for $4.50 and $5.

And beer isn’t the only thing on the drink menu either. In addition to a litany of champagne and wines with both glass and bottle prices, a menu of fun cocktails are available for purchase.

According to Lintz, the Frosé cocktail at Forno (made up of frozen rosé wine, Absolut Grapefruit, fresh strawberries, and lemon) has become a favorite of Meyer’s wife, Shelley Mather Meyer, so much so that it’s been given space on the menu at Urban Meyer’s Pint House, referred to as Shelley’s Frosé. Beside a list of signature and custom cocktails, the restaurant offers the Monster Mule, a 96-ounce Moscow Mule; a jumbo martini that serves four; and Shelley’s Punch Bowl, a mixture of Belvedere, Lustau rose vermouth, lemon, hibiscus tea, Peychaud’s, raspberry, and cava, served out of a giant flamingo vessel.

The restaurant, located at 6632 Longshore Dr. in Dublin, is Monday through Thursday from 3 pm until closing, Friday and Saturday from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. until close.

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