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Review: Flavor 91 Bistro features diverse fare

614now Staff

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What do you know about Whitehall? Well, you should know more about this Columbus enclave that was home to the nation’s first shopping center. There’s a soul to this place where community threads are woven into its diverse fabric.

With a blend of residents—46% white, 32% black, 14% Hispanic, 20% non-English speakers with 12% being born outside the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau—Whitehall is home to many proud immigrants making a difference. And there’s no better example of what Whitehall stands for than Freweini (Winnie) Abraham, who proudly operates Flavor 91 Bistro along with her son Moses Hayelom and daughter Winta Hayelom. (The “91” part of the name remains a mystery that only a select few have figured out; but if you do, the owners will donate the amount of your bill to a charity of your choice.)

Photos by Julian Foglietti

Born in Ethiopia, Abraham moved to Columbus when she was 17. (Her daughter Winta was born in the Sudan and her son Moses in the US, so the “Flavor Family,” as they like to be known, is a microcosm of Whitehall.)  It was Abraham’s upbringing in Ethiopia that introduced her to hard work, farm-fresh food and an ethos that family comes first. That’s why Flavor 91 serves non-GMO, non-antibiotic, hormone-free burgers and sandwiches. They pride themselves on only using responsibly-raised, sustainable, all-natural ingredients. “I am proud of where I am from, but even prouder of where I wound up [in Columbus],” Abraham says. “Whitehall is an up-and-coming place where people from around the world are welcome.”

Flavor 91, which opened in 2016, is a community center of sorts. Where people from all walks of life pass through the Flavor doors to share stories. Flavor 91 pulls from all over Columbus, and in some cases, the country—people stop by on flight layovers all the time thanks to a major social media presence. At the bar you might hear people from Bexley talking to someone from Dublin with someone else from Grandview listening in. It’s a meeting place where cultures come together to enjoy some of the best food in Ohio.

“If you start something good and it’s based in the care for others, people will find their way to it,” says Moses. “You will be surprised who it resonates with.”

When I first walked into Flavor 91 Bistro, I felt the communal energy right away. I knew there was something special about the award-winning burger, soup and wings joint. There was a vibe that felt healthy, authentic and familial. I was greeted by Winta who said, “Welcome to our living room.”

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Situated between a hair salon and a tattoo parlor (the business-savvy Abraham owns the entire building and runs the salon on her spare time), Flavor 91 features live local music and is looking to start a farmers’ market in the parking lot—creating a vibrant community. But what about the food? Man, does the food resonate.

The chicken cream of mushroom soup is so good that it was anointed as the 2018 Souper Bowl XII Cook-off Champion. It’s this savory, heartwarming blend of spices, cream and chicken that would make any doting grandmother proud. And when it comes to their Ethiopian dry-rubbed wings, well, I have never had such a party in my mouth. 

But not much can top Flavor 91’s award-winning burgers. The hand-crafted Flavor Burger is a 5.5oz. grass-fed beef burger, seasoned to perfection and topped with pepper jack cheese, beef bacon (cured short rib), spicy flavor sauce, shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato and red onion.

What makes the family most proud is keeping it local. They source their meat from RL Valley Ranch, located in Athens, Ohio, and serve craft beer from 2 Tones Brewing Company in Whitehall. It’s obvious the owners take who they do business with very seriously.

“You want to visit the farm and make sure [the cows] are grass fed,” says Abraham. “Sometimes farmers say they feed them grass all-year round, but they don’t always tell the truth. We wanted to see for ourselves.”

The Flavor Family visited the farm and saw a huge reserve of grass that RL Farms stored for the winter months and were sold on the fact that they could tell their customers, without any doubt, they were getting what’s promised. To help reassure their customers, the Flavor Family hosts a farmers’ dinner where their locally sourced Ohio farm suppliers speak to customers about what is being served.

Most people would find it difficult to work with family members. But the Flavor Family has mastered the art of working as a cohesive family.

“Foundationally, we have the most beautiful chemistry,” Winta says. “Our end goal is to support each other through anything.”

From Ethiopia to Whitehall, Abraham has seen a lot. With her family working beside her and her ability to feed the community with health-conscious food, she looks to be right at home. And when I walk through those doors, I feel right at home too.

Flavor 91 is located on 5186 E Main St, for hours and operations, visit flavor91.com.

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Food & Drink

Rémy Cointreau presents: The Sidecar

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**SPONSORED**

We teamed up with Rémy Cointreau and local bartender, Ben Griest, from Giuseppe’s Ritrovo to bring you an icon of cognac cocktails. Ben's previous videos featured the art of margarita-mixology, and now we are moving on to another tasty cocktail. This timeless, opulent drink is well-balanced and fresh.

With National Cognac Day coming up, we figured it would be great to share, Rémy Martin 1738 presents The Sidecar.

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Food & Drink

National Brisket Day is Today!

Julian Foglietti

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Photo by Brian Kaiser

With meat shortages starting to take their toll and National Brisket Day here at last - we've gathered 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?

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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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