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Food & Drink

Changing seasons at the Sycamore: A new menu approach

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If we’re being totally honest here, the idea of locally sourced food has become so trendy in almost every contemporary dining scene, that it’s easy for this idea to become a place marker: something your favorite local restaurant does out of habit or appeasement for an increasingly conscious customer base.

Peter Nuñez, new head chef of German Village’s The Sycamore, does not fall into this category. His belief in the idea of local sourcing along with recognizing and appreciating our area farmland is nothing short of absolutely sincere.

Photos: Rebecca Tien

“When we talk about local here, we’re not doing it because it’s cool. We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do. I want to help these places stay in business; I want to pay tribute to the people who pick and harvest produce,” he said.

Nuñez, who originally hails from California and is a veteran of the Navy, has worked in restaurants beginning in the year 2000. His culinary career has taken him from Virginia to Phoenix to Easton Mall, and more.

Most recently cooking at The Guild House in Columbus, he slowly developed important relationships with Central Ohio farmers such as Purple Plains Farm, Three Creeks Produce and Bluejacket Dairy. For Nuñez, these bonds have become more important than simply business relationships, with none being more critical than his friendship with the owners of Mitchell’s Berries in Plain City. Nuñez and the owners have developed a close friendship, and they have even given him a small plot on their farm to do with what he wishes.

“I’ve been sober for nine years now; and I needed something else to fill that gap. I found that going in to these farms, in walking these farms, and I got almost obsessed with it,” Nuñez said. Not only are his visits a release for himself, but Nuñez sees them paying dividends to his children as well. He recalls a story where his three- year-old daughter warned him against pulling too many dandelions, due to their importance for pollinators. “I get emotional talking about it; I have chills,” he said.

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And he’s been using this passion to transform the Sycamore’s menu into a tasteful and delicious farm-to-table experience for hungry Ohioans. While a few long-standing menu items such as the hamburger and hot chicken sandwich remained largely the same after Nuñez took over in August, the majority of The Sycamore’s dishes have been majorly reworked or replaced altogether.

Nuñez plans on releasing a new full menu every season from now on and will work to pack them full of locally-sourced options. Keep an eye out for a squash dish called Callavasa—a nod to his California upbringing— that’s served with smoked pumpkin seeds and a pepper vinaigrette. “I’m getting 50 pound bags from Hershberger Farms with so many different types of squash, and we want to feature them all,” Nuñez said.

During a recent visit, I sampled a vegetable dish from the winter menu—a fantastic combination of charred carrots, pea purée, and sassafras vinaigrette from Seven Acre Farm in Dublin.

The heirloom carrots impart a beautifully smoky and almost meaty flavor, deftly complemented by the light, creamy purée and balanced with the vinaigrette’s tangy zing.

With a seasonally changing menu, even some crowd-pleasing favorites have to go. This winter, Nuñez plans to swap out the Sycamore’s guacamole for a rotating hummus dish. “If I could serve guacamole all year, I would, but you have to ask, Is that the right thing to do? with avocado prices, with all these fires in California. People there are trying to rebuild their lives right now.”

And when you’re talking about winter menus, you have to think about hearty entrees to warm you up on cold nights. Nuñez doesn’t disappoint here. Look for a coffee-rubbed short rib (sourced from Blue Ribbon in Cleveland), with whipped sweet potatoes featuring a hickory syrup, all accompanied by bacon Brussels sprouts. Other featured items include a braised pork-belly dish, chicken with mushroom Marsala sauce, and a lobster mac and cheese.

No matter the time of year, expect that The Sycamore will be offering up something tasty and local for you to explore. And, maybe even better, to feel good about eating.

Visit The Sycamore at 262 E Sycamore St in German Village, or at thesycamoregv.com.

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Community

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

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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

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.

Mezze

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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Coronavirus

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

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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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Food & Drink

Craft & Vinyl pairs pints with LPs in new digital book

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For almost two years, Craft & Vinyl has been pouring drinks while music-obsessed patrons flip their fingers through owner Troy Stacy’s vinyl collection. The Grandview area bar also operates as one of the handful of record stores in Columbus. Lump in a recording studio experience and a stage for live music and Stacy has essentially crafted a one-stop-shop for music enthusiasts.

Like most record stores in the area and around the country, Craft & Vinyl is feeling the economic effects of COVID-19. With no patrons to drink craft pints or musicians to fill the store with live music, every side of Stacy’s business has been blindsided.

However, Stacy has found a distinct way to quench the thirst and tame the ears of his would-be customers. With a longstanding tradition of pairing potent drinks with suitable music, Craft & Vinyl is finally bringing their mixology vision to book form with POUR and PLAY.

POUR and PLAY is chock full of combinations of cherished classic and modern albums, ranging from Amy Winehouse to Billie Eilish, Outkast to Tame Impala. Each page comes with a display of an individual album along with a brief description, ideal craft beer pairing, and an embedded Spotify link.

The digital book is currently available for presale at a 50 percent discount. You can lock in your copy of POUR and PLAY for $12 by following the link here.

Become fully immersed in the “hopsonic” listening experience by purchasing POUR and PLAY.

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