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Deep Dish Dilemma: Which of these 3 pizzerias is your fave?

J.R. McMillan

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“It’s a lovely casserole, but it’s not a pizza,” quipped an equally opinionated eater as we disputed the defining design of a true Chicago pie.

The Gold Coast isn’t alone in its claim of a signature style.

Foldable New York slices are well known, with regional variations from New Jersey to New Haven. California has its quirky toppings and St. Louis a unique blend of provolone, Swiss, and white cheddar.

Detroit deep-dish gets its square shape and crunchy corners from blue steel parts pans pinched from auto assembly lines. Milwaukee might be the closest to our own familiar fare, with square slices and curled nickel pepperoni on a flaky thin crust.

Perhaps the reason no one claims “Columbus Pizza” as its own distinct style is because we’re not pizza purists averse to new ideas or unexpected twists on a classic dish.

We’re a working-class town with working-class tastes and no patience for petty pizza punditry. We don’t forego thumping our chests because we’re mediocre—we’re just magnanimous.

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To understand the curious appeal of Chicago’s claim to pizza fame, you have to understand what it is—and what it isn’t.

“Deep Dish” and “Chicago Style” are not synonymous.

They’re certainly farther removed than their hand-tossed and hand-stretched cousins. Commonly called “Sicilian”, deep dish is all about the crust, and not just the edge. Its thick, airy, and chewy throughout with a base of sauce covered in cheese and toppings.

Chicago-style crust is high on the sides, but only thick enough in the middle to contain layers of filling with the order often reversed — cheese on the bottom, toppings, then sauce.

That’s why a deep-dish pizza takes a little longer than a more traditional one, but a Chicago-style pizza takes closer to an hour.

Columbus boasts a trio of worthy rivals to Giordano’s recent entry into the city’s established Chicago-style pizza scene.

Meister’s Bar

1168 Chambers Rd.

Read Meister’s reviews on eat614.com!

Columbus bar fare is often far better than most restaurants. Even our dive bars defy expectations.

Between King and Kinnear is the home of one of the best pizzas in the city. (Really, I’m pretty sure the place used to be a house.) Craft beer is on tap, but if you’re looking for two-buck PBRs or dollar cans, the daily beer specials are budget-friendly.

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Yes, it’s a sports bar of sorts, but it’s worth the sometimes-tight seating just for the pizza.

The golden crust is a little thicker in the middle than some Chicago-style pies, but the high sides and sauce sequence place it well within spec.

If you’re a local, you can likely order when they open at 4pm and have it out of the oven in less time than it takes to get to Polaris at rush hour.

The proximity to OSU also means they’re open late. Just don’t be the putz who shows up ten minutes before closing for a carry-over order that takes an easy 45 minutes before it hits the box.

Yellow Brick Pizza

892 Oak St.

Read Yellow Brick’s reviews at eat614.com!

How do you get instant street cred for your Chicago-style pizza? You bring in a master to teach your staff how it’s done.

When Lou Tristano decided to close his Grove City restaurant last year, Yellow Brick stepped in to ensure his pizza proficiency didn’t disappear as well.

Though Olde Towne East is far from the suburb Tristano’s called home, the pizza is pretty damned close, right down to the braided edge on the crust that makes it easy to spot in your friends’ Instagram feeds.

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Sure, there was a little hushed fuss about Yellow Brick serving the already famous pie, but pay that no mind. No one poached a pizza here, and Yellow Brick’s menu was already as unexpected and outside-the-box as a pizza place could get. (Hell, Hounddog’s is still serving Smokin’ Joe’s crust more than a decade later.)

Lou’s legacy lives on in his pizza, and working with him to preserve it earns high marks for Yellow Brick and a city that collaborates as enthusiastically as it competes and eats. Columbus is a big pie, there’s plenty for everyone.

Giordano’s

2137 Polaris Pkwy

Giordono’s blew in from the Windy City about two years ago and has been loved and devoured by Cbuses ever since. And since it’s from Chicago, you know it’s legit.

The Wisconsin mozzarella cheese is made specifically for Giordano’s, the heavy-handed sauce smooshes all the way up your nose when you take a bite, and the flakey crust provides a perfectly crispy finish…that is, if you choose to start your deep dish adventure at the tip of the cheesy triangle.

Each Giordano’s stuffed pie is made by six skilled pizza artisans committed to bringing your the Chi-town delicacy right here in Columbus each and every time.

“I grew up on Giordanos and was thrilled when they opened last summer!” wrote eat614.com user @Columbus.twentysomething. “The price may seem a little much for pizza but it is worth every cent! There’s no shortage of cheese and flavor!”

Read more reviews at eat614.com!

Originally appeared in (614) Magazine November 2017

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Food & Drink

Italian Lebanese hybrid restaurant coming to German Village

Regina Fox

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What do you get when you cross Italian food with Lebanese fare? Bistrolino.

The new hybrid restaurant will take over the spot formerly occupied by Harvest Pizzeria at 495 S 4th St. in German Village. A December open date is expected.

Columbus Business First reports Bistrolino is owned by Samer Chedid and Francesco Todisco, who worked together at Aladdin's Eatery. As immigrants, Chedid will bring is Lebanon roots to the concept, while Todisco will contribute his Italian influence.

Todisco told Columbus Business First the menu will be small, offering single-serving baking dishes including zucchini parmesan, braciola, and a Lebanese flatbread called man'oushe.

Keep an eye on Bistrolino's Facebook for updates.

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Food & Drink

Taft’s on Draft: Cinci Brewporium opens first Columbus location in Franklinton

Linda Lee Baird

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After hearing all the hype about Cincinnati’s up-and-coming Over the Rhine neighborhood a few years back, I went to see it for myself. The first stop was Taft’s Ale House, a gigantic brewery inside of a church originally built in 1850, fully renovated for guests’ reveling pleasure. After spending the next few hours sampling beverages and snacking on beer cheese pretzels, I was inclined to believe the neighborhood hype. Did I fully explore OTR that night? I don’t actually remember. But I’m certain that I had a great time at Taft’s. So when I found out that Taft’s was coming to Columbus, the news sounded even sweeter than their Maverick Chocolate Porter.

Taft’s Brewpourium Columbus spans nearly 6,000 square feet in the Gravity development, including over 2,000 square feet of patio space. Like the development itself, Taft’s is building an artistic theme into its new offering. “Our actual design is going to be kind of focused on ‘80s/‘90s pop art,” said David Kassling, Managing Partner for Taft’s Brewing Company. “Being that Franklinton definitely has its art roots, we think that’s a great way to ingrain ourself in the community.”

Kassling said that the word brewpourium literally means the place where the brew is poured. That they’ve chosen to make “brewpourium” part of their name tells you everything you need to know about what Taft’s wants to be known for: its carefully crafted suds. The brewpourium will have at least 10 taps serving Taft’s original varieties, including its signature Gavel Banger IPA, which was voted best beer in Cincinnati last March by the city’s residents.

Taft’s will offer a full food menu as well. Kassling is particularly proud to introduce New Haven-style pizza to Columbus. “We’re recreating a style that doesn’t exist anywhere else in Ohio,” he said. (The style is also known as apizza, which is pronounced "a piece," as in, I’d like a piece of that crisp coal-red cheesy goodness right now, please.) Kassling describes it as a cross between New York and Neapolitan style. Taft’s version features our and tomatoes imported from Italy.

Rounding out the menu is another ‘90s-inspired treat, this time in dessert form. Remember Dunkaroos, those cookies that came in a package with icing designed for dipping, perhaps consumed while you watched episodes of Saved By the Bell? Taft’s will serve up Taftaroos, its unique take on the snack.

Kassling plans to use the brewpourium’s large space to offer patrons activities beyond food and drink. The stage will be open for games of darts when not in use for performances. On the floor, guests will find shufflepuck and Killer Queen, an arcade game utilizing 8-bit graphics in line with the old-school theme. Video game fans will also find gaming stations inlaid in the bar, with several retro options to choose from.

With three Cincinnati locations in operation, Kassling is not new to the business. Even so, expanding to Columbus marks a milestone, and one he wasn’t always seeking to meet. “We didn’t necessarily look at this as we needed to expand to a new city or we needed to expand to Columbus,” he said.

But when the opportunity to join the Gravity Project presented itself, Kassling said it proved too good to pass up. “We’re really excited, not only because of the nature of the building being so modern and unique, not just to Columbus, but to anywhere. But also the shape of our space is funky, and that led to different ideas in what we wanted to do with our build out.”

Kassling acknowledged that in coming to Columbus, Taft’s is joining a few of our communities: the community of Franklinton, to be sure, but also the well-established community of independent breweries operating across the city. An installation built into Taft’s countertop will pay homage to this fact, incorporating crushed cans and packaging from breweries like Seventh Son, Land-Grant, and North High. “It’s gonna be totally an art piece,” he said.

Rather than focusing on the potentially competitive aspect of the brewing scene, Kassling emphasized the camaraderie and common goals within the industry. “At the end of the day, craft beer is a great way to bring people together,” he said. “And at the end of the day, we’re all preaching community and good times.”

While Taft’s new location may not be in a church, Kassling’s words are the type of preaching that I can get behind.

Taft’s Brewpourium Columbus is located at 440 W Broad St. in the Gravity project. For more details about Taft’s, visit taftsalehouse.com.

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Food & Drink

New “relaxed” wine house now open in Dublin

614now Staff

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Next time you're in Dublin, make sure to stop and smell the rosé at the city's newest wine bar. Coast Wine House recently opened at 75 S High St., offering a contemporary wine bar + bottle shop inspired by a blend of the spirit of coastal California and traditional wine country cafés, markets, and bodegas, according to the website.

Coast assures they don't take themselves too seriously "in contrast to the conventional wine world," describes the website.

"The mood is decidedly relaxed. The wine is pleasantly chilled," Coast says.

The wine bar is run by Dustin Snow, who his wife, Molly, believes brings a "warm and relaxed" feel to Coast.

"A visit to our house is by no means fancy, but Dustin makes it special, because he genuinely wants to make you feel at home," she wrote on Instagram. "And since Coast is an extension of our home you will have this same warm and relaxed experience."

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2r1Q5OgbAT/

Coast is open Wednesday and Thursday from 12pm- 9pm, Friday and Saturday from 12pm- 10pm, and closed Sunday through Tuesday. To learn more visit coastwinehouse.com.

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