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Strip Mall Surprise: Eclectic Mediterranean eats in Hilliard

Aaron Wetli

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Welcome back to Strip Mall Surprise, where we highlight locally owned restaurants that just happen to be located in a, wait for it, Strip Mall. Today’s installment takes us to Hilliard for some mouthwatering and eclectic Mediterranean eats.

Opened in 2009, The Olive Tree Mediterranean Café has been serving Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Egyptian, Moroccan, and Spanish fare to the good people of Hilliard for almost a decade. Cozy and quaint with some of the best wait staff in town, The Olive Tree is a treasure trove of international/regional food that one doesn’t come across easily in the 614.

For starters, it is hard to beat the amazing array of appetizers. While you can’t go wrong with the hummus trio or the tzatziki, you should definitely try the Spanikopita; a warm and spicy dumpling like concoction of spinach with feta, asiago, and parmesan cheeses. A table of five or more would be well served by ordering all three appetizers.

For your dinner entree, try the Moussaka, a baked eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes dish with seasoned ground beef and béchamel crème that just happened to be topped with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese. A two top could easily split the Moussaka, but ultimately will be upset that they decided to share.

The Olive Tree also offers options for the less adventurous eater in your house such as succulent Gyros, which are served both in sandwich and platter form, with fries that are second to none. If this is you, please also try the Spicy Chicken; a seasoned chicken tenderloin served over rice with a spicy gyro sauce.

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Are you ready for the real scoop about the Olive Tree? They have one of the best Sunday brunches (10am – 2pm) in central Ohio. Bloody Marys? Check. Mimosas? Done. Isreali, Lebanese, Greek, Italian, and Spanish beers? Look no further. Oh yeah, the Sunday brunch food is incredible.

The Shakshuka, a Northern African/Isreali breakfast dish consisting of poached eggs in a tomato, pepper, and garlic sauce is true comfort food for the soul and in the very short conversation for my favorite entrée in Central Ohio. Bursting with flavor and different textures, this entrée is a game changer, especially when ordered spicy sausage and topped with feta cheese.

Lox and Bagels and Challah French Toast are other worthy Sunday brunch options. The smoked salmon and bagels are always fresh and to say Challah French Toast is fluffy, rich, and decadent. Seriously, what are you waiting for?

So there you have it, another Strip Mall Surprise that has a little bit of something for everyone. Get out there, try something new, and support local.

The Olive Tree Mediterranean Café is located at 3185 Hilliard Rome Rd, Hilliard. Visit olivetreecolumbus.com.

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Food & Drink

See what “big changes” are coming to The Market Italian Village

Regina Fox

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Fans of The Market Italian Village certainly aren't enjoying this temporary closure while it undergoes renovations, but the restaurant promises the wait will be worth it.

The neighborhood restaurant recently announced in a release "big changes" coming to the space to create more "experienced-based dining."

"We’ve teamed up with incredible designers, architects, and artists to give our space a beautiful update and we can’t keep our mouths shut about it any longer!" wrote The Market Italian Village on Facebook.

The Market is currently closed and will reopen to guests the weekend after Thanksgiving with two very special additions:

  • Columbus’ FIRST chef's table - A unique experience to get up close and personal with one of the city’s most unique chefs, Tyler Minnis. The reservation-based tasting counter seats four and will face toward the kitchen, giving guests direct access to Chef Tyler throughout the dining experience as he creates a four-course tasting menu. Available for $50-60 per person on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Community Table Seating - Perfect for group dining, this intimate booth is reservations-only for large parties, seating up to 16 guests. Those seated at the community table will order from a pre-set family-style menu, pre-determined by Chef Tyler on a monthly basis.

The post went on to say the restaurant "just scratched the surface" of its announcements.

https://www.facebook.com/MarketItalianVillage/posts/2719875781402957:0

The Market Italian Village is located at 1022 Summit St. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.

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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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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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