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Food & Drink

Short North’s Poindexter: coffeeshop by day, pizza and cocktails by night

Melinda Green



A bright, neon coffee cup sign on a Short North corner summons hotel guests, students, and passersby to a unique new coffee shop-and-restaurant concept. Whether it’s daytime, or night, Poindexter Coffee is ready to serve.

While a majority of the 20+ Graduate Hotels have a Poindexter Coffee inside, the Columbus location has a unique spin on the concept. The café has a storefront location and two faces: a trendy coffee shop by day, a hip pizza and cocktail restaurant by night. Though the menu transitions into the evening, the coffee never stops flowing.

“Not everyone drinks, so someone might want to come in and grab a cup of coffee while their friends get cocktails,” Price said. “So we cater to multiple niches during the same time frame, which is hard in a market like this.”

The Columbus hotel has a prime location in the bustling Short North Arts District, just a short walk from the Greater Columbus Convention Center and close to downtown. It’s a quick drive or bus ride up High Street to the Ohio State University. The proximity to OSU’s campus is key for Poindexter Café as it’s affiliated with the Graduate Hotel collection, which focuses on university-dynamic towns, usually located next to—or on the campus of—the local university. The coffee shop is fundamental to that culture.

But with all the opportunities available in the Short North, the traditional “hotel co ee shop” model wasn’t going to be enough for this opportunity.

“Our property’s a little different because it’s in the Short North, such a safe, walkable area surrounded by restaurants and bars,” explained Christin Price, the Columbus hotel’s Director of Sales. “Where the other Poindexters have only coffee, here in the Short North, we want to make sure we cater to our guests who ask for a glass of wine, as well as the next morning when they want a cup of coffee.”

Poindexter’s coffee is bold and roasty, served in adorably branded ceramic cups. Although it, and the food, are sourced nationally, the Columbus café is able to leverage local-and Ohio-based ties through weekend deliveries from Tupelo Doughnuts as well as cleverly crafted alcoholic beverages that give a nod to local culture.

The full bar includes wine, beer, and local spirits from Watershed, High Bank, and OYO distilleries as well as common brands. One of the best sellers is the Golden Bear, a sort of spiked Palmer, with tea-infused vodka, lemon, and honey bitters. Another favorite is the Buckeye Bullet; whiskey fat-washed with peanut butter, combined with chocolate bitters and vermouth. It’s like the candy—only savory, not sweet.

The menu is unique to the Columbus market. “Where the other Poindexters do the standard breakfast sandwiches, we have Lox [the Lox Bagel Shop] right next door, and that’s what they specialize in,” Price explained. So the Columbus café serves 7-inch breakfast pizzas, along with all-you-can-eat cereal and other items. The evening pizzas are 10- inch, with a thin crust.


“This is the only one that’s going to have the storefront that we do,” Lofton said. “The other Poindexters are actually in the hotel, catering to hotel guests. We have this beautiful storefront, and our neighbors come in. We’re actually part of the community, and it’s really nice.”

The cafe’s storefront is inviting; the interior is bright and clean, simultaneously retro and modern. A console table stocked with board games sits beneath the letter-board menu. Once the nighttime hits, the atmosphere changes to fit the mood.

“We turn the lights down at night, turn the music up, but it’s still a very chill vibe. People come in and play the [board] games, have a pizza, maybe a cocktail, and also coffee,” said Ashley Lofton, the café’s Food & Beverage Supervisor.

Maybe the most recognizable design feature of any Poindexter is its accent wall covered floor-to-ceiling with assorted pencils, each perfectly sharpened, a nod to the surrounding academic environment. The café complements this with details drawing in not only its university community, but also local culture.

The focal point is the ceiling, covered with bold and whimsical line drawings in the style of James Thurber’s cartoons, paying tribute not only to the university, but also to Columbus as the state capital. Vintage Ohio State-themed glassware on the bar and other decorative items are sourced from local antique shops.

“The whole concept of Graduate, including Poindexter, is to be part of the local community,” Price noted. “We want our guests to engage with the people who actually live in the city. And you’ll see the usuals making friends online, talking with hotel guests, giving recommendations on where to go.”

That commitment to the local culture spills over into free public wi-fi and a community-friendly lobby, where guests and neighbors can gather to study, visit, plan, and work.

“Early morning is definitely mostly hotel guests, checking-in, checking-out, but the rest of the day? It’s our neighbors, coming in to hang out, have some coffee, work, or just check out the place,” Lofton said.

The area is rife with competition as well as opportunity. One Line Coffee is directly across the street. But the competition is friendly.

“They’ve been a great neighbor for us,” Price noted.

Columbus is currently the furthest Graduate Hotel from any other in the collection.

“We’re kind of a test market,” Price explained. “We’re trying something a little different, and it seems to be working.”

Poindexter Coffee is located at Graduate Hotels in the Short North at 750 N High St. For hours and operations, visit columbus/restaurant/poindexter.

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Food & Drink

Strip Mall Surprise: A treasure trove of bourbons, pub food at McClellan’s

Aaron Wetli



Welcome back to Strip Mall Surprise, where we highlight locally owned restaurants and bars that just happen to be located in a, wait for it, Strip Mall. Today’s installment is a little different as it focuses on a Irish pub with great food and one of the largest bourbon, scotch, and whiskey selections in Central, Ohio: McClellan's Pub.

Opened six years ago by Amy Schirtzinger and nestled off of Sawmill Road, McClellan’s is easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it. Upon arrival, patrons are greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable staff and offered seats at a large bar or medium sized dining area, where they can peruse a high-end pub food menu and get lost in the bottle selection.

Bourbon is uber popular right now and in Ohio, November is a big month for new releases. If you can’t locate that small batch release from a giant distillery or the single barrel offering from a smaller operation, odds are with their 500 bottle selection, McClellan’s Pub can pour a shot of what you are looking for.

And what a selection it is: Whistle Pig, Weller, Woodford Reserve, McKenna, Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Elmer T and Pappy Van Winkle (among others) for as far as the eye can see. When I asked Schritzinger how many of the notoriously hard-to-locate Pappys she had, her response was simple, "All of them."

So what made service industry veteran Schirtzinger decide to open a bourbon-centric Irish pub?

"I’m Irish and proud and love whiskey and pubs," she said. "Plus, I enjoy looking at all of the pretty bottles."

One of those pretty bottles that will soon (think Christmas time) be behind the bar is the W.L. Weller Full Proof. McClellan’s won’t be the only location in Central, Ohio to get this particular pour, but it may be the first, so make sure the bourbon nerd in your life is aware of this fact.

As for the food I mentioned earlier, my go-to selections are the spicy and rich Sriracha Bourbon wings (70 cents each on Wednesday) or the crispy and robust Fish and Chips ($6 on Tuesday). You can also can’t go wrong with Guinness BBQ Pork Sandwich, Prime Rib Sliders (love the horseradish and caramelized onions) or the Irish Nachos; a concoction of sliced potatoes topped with pulled pork, beer cheese, sour cream and jalapenos all smothered in the Guinness BBQ sauce.

What are you waiting for? Get out there, drink some brown, and support local.

McClellan’s Pub is located at 6694 Sawmill Rd. Visit for more info.

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Food & Drink

Downtown deli merger means more meats on the menu

614now Staff



Who says all good things must come to an end? While Danny’s Deli will be closing its brick-and-mortar location at 37 W Broad St., all of your favorites from the Columbus institution are now available at Lexi’s on Third at 100 E Broad St.

Customers can be sure they’re still getting the true Danny’s staples because the owner of Lexi’s on Third, Dan Georges, is the not only the namesake—he’s the same man behind the original Danny’s Deli on Broad and Front Street.

When Dan was offered an opportunity to build his own dream kitchen in 2011, he sold Danny’s Deli to his uncle and opened Lexi’s on Third, named after his daughter, Alexiana. When his uncle retired earlier this year, Dan closed the Columbus location of Danny’s Deli and brought all of the most-loved items to Lexi’s on Third.

“I am honored to continue the family legacy of a quality dining experience. Thank you for your loyalty and patronage,” said Dan Georges in a statement.

The Danny’s Deli originals now offered at Lexi’s on Third include breakfast specials, omelettes, sandwiches and wraps, salads, burgers, melts, and more. To see the whole menu, visit

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Food & Drink

VASO Arctic Adventure: Win an igloo dining experience

Regina Fox



You know that first warm-ish day in March or April when a sliver of sun breaks through the grey winter sky, warming the dry, pasty faces of overzealous people packing every patio known to man? The General Manager of the AC Hotel by Marriott Columbus Dublin Orcun Turkay wanted to give those people an outdoor dining experience they didn’t have to wait until spring to enjoy.

Scroll down to win $200 towards an arctic adventure of your own!

On a windy, rainy day in mid-winter, my trusty (614) confidants and I crowded into the elevator at the AC Hotel Columbus Dublin and selected the top floor. It was the first time visiting for many of us and we were excited to finally experience it. When the elevator finally stopped, the doors glided open to reveal an inviting hostess. She welcomed us to VASO. 

The rooftop bar and tapas restaurant is absolutely gorgeous. All its features are round—orb lights, half circle bench seating, circular rugs, curved bar—and the natural lighting made the happy faces of happy hour-goers at the bar look even happier. The panoramic view of the Scioto River and downtown Dublin is one of the best in Central Ohio. But, for the next few months, the view will be slightly obscured for folks dining in. 

The hostess led us out onto the patio where three geometric-looking igloos sat, poised for hospitality. Made of plastic and PVC pipes anchored by sandbags, these see-through huts are simple and wildly attractive. They’re unique, cozy, and, most importantly, warm. I couldn’t wait to get inside out of the cold and actually have an enjoyable patio experience in the dead of Ohio winter.

The hostess unzipped the doorway and we filed in across the oriental rug. The inside was surprisingly spacious, even with six chairs, a few side tables, and one communal table in the middle. I took a seat in one of the faux fur-covered chairs (which I later found out cost $1,200 each), covered my legs with a soft blanket, and switched on the heater. I was perfectly comfortable without the extra accommodations, but I was in an upscale igloo and, dammit, I was going to act like it.

We were all quick to draw our phones to begin snapping photos. We could see rush hour traffic inching down Riverside Drive, but being in the igloo felt like we were our own little Instagrammable world. 

After putting in orders of hot chocolate and the Ohio spiked cider from the exclusive VASO Igloo shareable menu and the popcorn and Halibut Ceviche (which landed itself on the [web]pages of Esquire Magazine), Turkay humbly explained how his establishment became one of the first in the Midwest to introduce igloo dining as a light rain pinged the top of the plastic igloo.

He told us about how strongly central Ohioans have embraced the new eating and drinking adventure. Turkay knew he’d have to hire more people this winter to staff the igloos, but what he didn’t count on was the manpower it would require to simply manage the influx of calls.

“They answer the phone, take a reservation, hang up, answer the phone, take a reservation, hang up,” Turkay said of the three hostesses he brings in at 10 a.m. every day just to man the phones. I laughed in disbelief, choking a bit on my popcorn ceviche (delicious, by the way). I washed away the kernels with a swig of boozy hot chocolate (also delicious). 

Suffice it to say, the VASO igloos are a raging success, so much so that you won’t be getting in on a weekend this winter. The tiny ecosystems are booked up through March, which is when they’ll be retired for the season. Turkay promises to have them back up in November.

After everything from cheese-filled churros to seafood paella (which were ordered by hailing our server with a remote that buzzed her wrist piece), the sun set and was replaced by LED light beams illuminating our cozy clubhouse; it was our time to go. I took one last look around and felt thankful to be on the inside looking out, even just for the evening. •

VASO is located at 6540 Riverside Dr, Dublin. The igloos can be reserved for a minimum of $100 per hour Sundays-Wednesdays and $200 per hour Thursdays-Saturdays. Visit for more information.
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