CMH Gourmand – Eating in Columbus & Ohio

Donuts, Diners, Dives and Diatribes

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The Godfather: Massey’s Deep Dish Pizza

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 27, 2016

There are not many good deep dish options in Columbus and among those, by my count only three good choices. Unfortunately, that number dropped to two this past summer. Tristano’s was my favorite but the business finally closed and the some of the best pizza in Central Ohio was taken off the table.

A few weeks ago I caught a glimpse of a deep dish pizza at Massey’s on a commercial. It immediately caught my attention adding a glimmer of hope that I might be able to go back to three go to options for deep dish pizza. I do like Massey’s and had a notion that they could pull this off. (Long time readers may recall previous appearances of Massey’s in such memorable posts as Buffet Battle: Pizza and Columbus Pizza History a Slice by Slice account).

Could Massey’s deliver? Well in my case I live too far away from Massey’s so I opted for the pick up option.

When I picked up my order, my hopes were high. There was a very noticeable difference in the weight of the deep dish box vs. the other pizza box I was transporting home.

When I opened the lid, the visual and olfactory indicators were trending upwards.

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Cognitively I had high hopes, believing Massey’s Godfather had potential to knock it out of the park because Massey’s history literally involves the godfathers of Columbus pizza.

Jim and Dan Massey (original family name was Massuci) learned their trade from Romeo Siri. They opened the first pizzeria (by name) in Central Ohio. Guido Casa (also one of the early godfathers of pizza) took over the Massey’s empire in 1962. Massey’s grew through the late 1990’s then stumbled in 1999 closing all locations. Jim and Dave Pallone (cousins of the Casa’s) have been bringing the chain back in the last 15 years maintaining the traditions and techniques of the original godfathers of pizza going back to 1949.

And the verdict? Massey’s tagline is “The Cadillac of Pizzas” but my assessment of the Godfather is this interpretation is more of a Dodge Dart.

The Godfather features Deep Dish crust, Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Mozzarella and Provolone and is only available as a 12” inch pizza. The toppings are generous (as you will find on any Massey’s Pizza). For my pizza, the bottom crust was over baked and I found the crust ring, doughy and a bit undercooked. Sections of the cheese were undercooked as well. This version was a bit light in sauce. The overall product seemed to me to represent more of a pan pizza (which was once the rage….back in the day) in taste and appearance. A Chicago Deep Dish purist would not consider this true to style. Most would probably consider this to be a thick crust pizza with a high crust ring. Another style difference is the order of ingredients. A traditional deep dish pizza typically has sauce on the top, followed by cheese, toppings then crust at the base. Massey’s Godfather follows the traditional layout of toppings on top, then cheese and sauce on top of the crust. Overall on a scale of 5, I’d give this one a 3.3.

While not a bad pizza by any means, I’ll stick with Meisters and Wholly Joe’s for my Central Ohio deep dish needs.

godfather-slice

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Copious: $5 Burger is worth at least $10

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 23, 2016

copious-burger

Copious may be a spot just off your radar. The restaurant, bar, music venue and event space opened just over a year ago in the Brewery District. A half-decade ago the location alone would have been a kiss of death but the Brewery District is in the mist of a resurrection. The multi-tasking approach of Copious (and Notes for the music end) has been the key to keeping all of the plates spinning to keep this place open while the Brewery Districts slowly bounces back.

A burger is ubiquitous to any Columbus menu. A burger deal is a dime a dozen and is a frequent card up the sleeve of a business looking to bring is traffic on a slower day. Copious offers a $5 burger deal on Tuesdays. In the interest of my readers, I thought is was necessary to investigate this. My pronouncement, this $5 burger is worth at least $10. The key to this burger is simplicity. Most “special” burgers in town make an effort to go over the top with special ingredients or techniques or too many toppings I don’t want or need. This burger uses better grade ingredients and executes the parts to make the whole much greater than I expected. The two key ingredients form the base of this burger – a perfectly cooked four ounce aged Angus beef patty and an excellent locally made brioche bun. Then you have a choice of either hand cut fries or sweet potato fries and a few house made bread and butter pickles on the side. If you want to build up your burger you can add a choice or cheeses for $1 and/or other toppings for 50 cents to $1. However, this burger stands on its own so you will be perfectly content with it as is. The serving of fries is generous, the pickles are superior and the burger is divine and all price of $5. I can’t think of a better deal that balances quality with quantity as well.

Two side notes. I tried the butterbean hummus on a whim and was glad I did. It was great serving size for $8 with plenty of tortilla chips and veggies to scoop out the mound of hummus made with local lima beans and sweet peas. I was nearly filled up before my first bite of my burger. The second item of note is the secret weapon behind the bar at Copious, Michael Kuch. Michael is a genius at sourcing local craft beers and his selections at Copious are truly impressive. I hate to use the term – curated – but that is exactly the depth and diversity of choices that I continue to see offered at that taps. I’m looking forward to another Tuesday afternoon at the bar stool with a burger in one hand and beer in the other.

Copious Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Honeydip Donuts & Diner – Redux (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 16, 2016

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Take a look at this blast from the past, a -> 2007 posting on Honeydip Donuts. My how things changed. Back then in the primordial stage of this blog, I was less interested in donuts than I am today. Clearly I have evolved into more of a donut docent. During that time Honeydip Donuts evolved into a diner. An update is highly warranted so here we go. But first a detour with a few questions related to the old post. One: is it donut or doughnut (see the previous post). Two: why did I tag the entry Ohio Donut Girl – I clearly had something else on my mind in 2007 – an apparent conflict of priorities.

Here is the not so skinny on Honeydip Donuts & Diner. They do have donuts. Their selection is OK, they tend to run out before they close for the day. In my tasting trips there has not been a specific standout donut. Their Pumpkin donuts seem to be the most popular they have a good stick donut, some turnovers and muffins too.

On the diner side of the business they do seem to have a fair number of regular customers. Most of them are pretty long in the tooth and several appear to drop in on an almost daily basis. I like that.

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Breakfast appears to be the go to menu choice here. The pancakes are good. There are three donut related special sandwiches to bridge that dark world between breakfast and lunch. On the lunch side, there is a different soup offered each day. These have some merit. I don’t often issue a dire warning but I have a fiduciary obligation to my blog base to tell you – DO NOT waste your time with their gyro or fries they would be best served inside a bag of deplorables.

Honeydip

There are two reasons to pull me back here. 1) A fond Thanksgiving memory from my youth. 2) Honeydip has an incredible variety of old photos related to donuts. It is well worth the time to drop in and spend several minutes looking at history of a very democratic snack (as well as a wall dedicated to photos of regular customers) between bites of a donut.

honey-dip-diner-sign

Honey Dip Donuts & Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Diners, donuts, Ohio Donut Trail | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Spudnut Donuts- Berea (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 7, 2016

Spudnuts sign

The call of duty for the Ohio Donut trail led me just south of Cleveland – Berea, Ohio. I’ve had my eye on Spudnuts for several years and as luck would have it, this special spot is not far Fat Head Brewing and what better way to prepare for drinking beer than loading up on donuts.

Spudnuts Building Berea

Let’s take a quick step into the Wayback Machine to discuss the place Spudnuts has in American Donut history. The first Spudnuts started in Salt Lake City in 1940 by a couple of brothers with a knack for kneading a special potato based flour. The uniqueness of the recipe and wartime shortages made Spudnuts a favored snack. Fueled by low franchise fees by 1954 there were over three hundred Spudnuts in 38 states. In the early 1970’s numbers continued to swell including 170 Japanese Spudnut locations. However by 1979 the company ceased operation and the franchises were left on their own without access to the special Spudnut flour. Today about 37 independently owned Spudnuts soldier on throughout the country (including one in nearby Mentor).

box of Spudnut Donuts

This location features about thirty kinds of donuts, including the bestsellers Toasted Coconut, Butter Pecan and Maple Bacon. Most of the styles are round, yeasty donuts with special fillings such as key lime pie, apple jelly, maple bacon, raspberry, strawberry, apricot, custard/cream, cherry, blueberry, peach and chocolate cream. Because it is Northeast Ohio, there is a maple donut and because Cleveland Rocks there is a Maple Bacon donut. The donut makers fry about twenty pounds of bacon a week to meet demand. I’ve encountered a few bacon donuts in my donut daze but to date most have had bacon as an afterthought or gimmick. At this Spudnuts the bacon is piled on thickly and it tastes great!

My favorite here was the Cruller. A donut style that I rarely encounter but the version here was exceptional. It was fluffy and airy but had an incredible flavor and mouth feel.

I continued to sample from my box of twelve over the next three days and found these Spudnuts are long lived and maintained a fresh flavor well past 72 hours. So next time you are passing by, drop in for a spudnut.

Spudnut details

Spudnut Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in CLEGourmand, donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Baba’s Porch – Dan Kraus

Posted by cmh gourmand on November 2, 2016

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You may not know it but you have met Baba’s Porch before – in the form of That Food Truck and in particular, Dan Kraus.

I had an opportunity to have a sideline seat to the first generation of food trucks and the privilege to work with an All-Star Team of these early mobile food mavericks such as Ajumama, OH! Burgers, Pitabilities and That Food Truck.

All of these wheeled purveyors are my friends, but the one that has pulled the string of my stealth heart has been Dan Kraus from That Food Truck. I have seen the highs (being on Nightline) and lows (the break-up of the first team for the truck) and the ups (being named a tastemaker) and downs (the engine of the truck dying). I’ve had countless conversations with Dan over the last five years and have felt he was a bit of a Charlie Brown, having the ball pulled away from him at the last-minute for one project or another.

When the engine of That Food Truck died, Dan had to find another path to your stomachs. A bit tight on cash while building out his restaurant Baba’s Kitchen, Dan found a trailer and started working on a concept to compliment his brick and mortar project. He also took what he learned from a few years of smoking meats on the fly and built a new smoker to add to Baba’s Porch. Baba’s has been serving Friday nights at Seventh Son Brewing and occasional Saturday afternoons to fill in for other mobile vendors. As Baba’s Kitchen slowly….but surely, comes close to completion Dan says he will continue to keep to Porch out for Friday night service and catering.

When Baba’s Kitchen opens you will find the Restaurant at 2515 Summit Street near the intersection of Hudson Street and 3rd Ave. You can expect to see the Baba’s trailer at Seventh Son and special events.

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I checked in with Dan between courses and construction to find out more about Baba’s Porch.

1) Let’s start with the smoker you built for Baba’s, any design enhancements or special features on this smoker from the previous one you built. What makes this smoker extra special to you?

This was the first smoker I fabricated and welded from beginning to end. It was an education during the whole process and being so intimate with the whole thing gave me a chance to really understand the dynamics of space and draft. Making sure its airtight between the firebox and cooking chamber is what kicked this up to another level and maintain consistent temps regardless of barometric pressure.

2) What was the transition like from Truck to Trailer? You are accustomed to tight spaces but its looks like you have to get creative with the space. What do you like best about trailer life?

In many ways it’s a lot easier. Building the trailer out after having That Food Truck for so many years, we knew exactly what was needed and shed the rest. Simplifying the line and having only what is absolutely necessary makes it a breeze to have everything within reach – trim the fat to save the meat. The best thing about trailer life is no rusty ass engine to break down. I can rest knowing as long as I have access to a truck, I can make the gig, no problem.

3) Baba’s Porch will continue after you open Baba’s Kitchen, how do you think the Porch may change as the kitchen grows and you start the grocery aspect to the business?

The Porch will be our place to shine a spotlight on the smoked meats. Simple, smoked sandwiches will always be flying out the window. Having access to more produce and homemade items from Baba’s Kitchen will allow us to play with specials and sides.

4) You have a secret weapon at Baba’s now – Tim. Can you share your history with him and why he is such a great addition to the team?

I met Tim in Culinary school in Portland OR ten years ago and we clicked right away. We have parallel ways of thinking about food and how it should be prepared. We started this conversation about our own place way back then with intent to open a truck in Portland. Literally life happened as my wife and I found out we were pregnant and decided to move back to Ohio. Tim went on to Hawaii and Minnesota and really honed in on some tight culinary skills. His high end expertise and managing a huge line at Lafayette Club has really matured his kitchen nature and often reels my more wild eyed approach. We can challenge each other in respectful ways to find the most delicious and efficient ways to build a plate.

5) Your other secret weapon is your wife Caroline. What are some of the ways she has helped with both projects over the last year?

Can I just say everything, lol? Caroline has supported every crazy idea and move I wanted to make. She gives me the foundation and real support anyone trying to do this would need. She gives words to my ideas and helps organize the chaos. Outside of the actual cooking she is involved in every aspect of the business. Concepts, construction, finance, design, and and networking, Caroline is all over it. Its so cliche, but she is my rock.

She is itching to get Baba’s blog populated with stories of the line and gorgeous food photos.

6) What one (or two) things do you want people to know about Baba’s Porch?

First that we have felt the support for the change of business. We lost TFT and were worried about re-branding and loosing some of the steam we had with the old truck. But Columbus people are awesome and have showed up hungry and left with smiles.

Its an elementary introduction to the food Tim and I can cook. Simple and quick as truck food needs to be. But what flies out of Baba’s Kitchen is elevated with the luxury of time and space. Basically, if you like the Porch food you will love what Baba’s is serving up!

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Facebook
Website
Phone: 614-262-2227

Posted in BBQ, FooderHero, Mobile Food | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

4 Mile Bakery (& General Store & Furniture Store), Jackson, (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 18, 2016

Initially, I was skeptical that Jackson Ohio could offer two candidates to the Ohio Donut Trail. My journey to 4 Mile Bakery (et. al) was much longer that four miles. It took me over the freeway, through the woods, past some large houses, horse pastures and more. As a place far from home and only open a few days a week, it was a long time for the stars to align in such a manner as to allow me to visit and take care of the rest of my “business” in Jackson.

My first thought was the business might not be focused enough to deliver a good donut. In addition to 4 Mile Bakery, I saw references to a general store, fireplaces and a furniture store. Sometimes all were listed together or just a combination of two were spelled out…..or alluded to.

When I pulled up, these were the two things that caught my eye.

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Walking down the wooden porch, passing by rockers for sale, I walked through the door to see the set up of a typical general store. Then I saw an aisle of almost any candy I have encountered in my life, then another of the Amish store du jour staples of pickled vegetables, jerkies and whatnot. Then I spied row after row of self service donut cases filed to the brim with styles of donuts I have never encountered…..ever. Among these new discoveries: maple pecan apple fritters, fritter toes, apple fritters shaped like feet (with the toes still attached), donut pillows (small square donuts filled with cream / creme which I would not mind falling asleep on), pretzel shaped donuts covering in maple and giant yeast donuts that are two times bigger than any previously sighted / cited donut in my life experience. Those are just some of the styles I saw displayed.

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Mrs. Gourmand believes the maple covered pretzel donut may be her favorite item I have dragged home from my donut trail expeditions. The blueberry rated highly with her as well. In order to continue researching the donut trail it is important that certain people of influence are occasionally not disgruntled in spite of my being absent from home. A third saving grace for 4 Mile Bakery and _______ is that Mrs. Gourmand believes their custard may be as good as the current custard champion front-runner Family Donut Shoppe. This bodes well since the wife of my occasional research assistant, the Grumpy Old Man, whom we refer to as the Queen, has only been pleased by one trophy from the donut trail, (and perhaps never pleased by anything else….ever) a custard donut from Family Donut Shoppe. If a place can offer a custard donut fit for a Queen, then then is hope for the Grumpy old man and a continuation of the Ohio Donut Trail.

4 Mile Bakery (on Facebook)
6005 4 Mile Rd, Jackson, OH 45640

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Tender Fluff, Jackson (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 17, 2016

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My quest to wrap up the southern leg of the Ohio Donut Trail took me to Jackson Ohio to try not one but two donuteries. My first stop was in Jackson proper to visit Tender Fluff Donuts. The name has a decades old history in Jackson with the original location on Broadway. In 2012, Tender Fluff drifted away from the town center to slightly off the beaten railroad tracks on Harding Ave. The present location is three times larger than Tender Fluff 1.0 and it needs to be. By report the space creates 200 – 300 dozen donuts a day. In addition to customers frequenting the shop the business delivers to over 30 locations in the region.

The place does not make an impression which makes one want to “come hither”. It is a nondescript cinder block building with minimal signage and limited frontage and windows. Just a short hop away from the railroad tracks and while not at a major intersection, the area seems to be a high volume thoroughfare for the whole county – countless cars streamed past me as I was circling Tender Fluff to get a lay of the land and figure out where to park, it lacks ambiance. However the first rule of donut exploration is “don’t judge a donut by its building”.

When I walked through the door, I had the feeling of being the greenhorn walking into an old western bar. The ladies gathered around the table knew me for the outsider I was. After watching me gaze around the space and looking dejectedly at the dozens of empty plastic tubs lining the counters and tables one of the donut slingers directed me to the main counter. She guided the greenhorn to the last creme horns and random remaining donuts. The place is open until 1 pm but often sells out well before that. I came through the door just after high noon. I could tell from my clinical style observations that hours ago there had been at least fifty varieties of donuts in this space. Even the bins labeled day old donuts were bare to the bottom.

The display case had maybe thirty donuts left and since it looked like the ladies were getting ready to call it a day I was offered a deal – a dozen of any type, even the “specials” for $8. That is a good deal, especially when I was given a true bakers dozen. Among my assortment was a cannoli. I am always wary of any cannoli in Ohio. Over 95% of what I have tried in the Buckeye state have been a dismal disappointment (since my cannoli baseline is based on the Italian bakeries of old Boston, it is a high bar). Because of my past cannoli experiences, I did not bother to try the one I picked up until the next day…..and it was SUPERIOR! The key to Tender Fluff is to get to the doors early (5:30 or 6:00 am).

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The other donuts and “specials” I tried were all of high quality. In particular, the simple, long thin stick donuts were melt in your mouth light and featured a thin, sweet glaze which helped these tubes of dough slight right down into my belly. The icing used as filling in two of the donuts was also among some of the best I have tried in my dough fueled travels. Another interesting feature, Tender Fluff offers both soft and hard creme horns. I have never been a creme horn advocate but in this case the soft creme horn was a game changer for me and a perfect platform for delivering large volumes of creme.

A few other tasting notes. My next destination for the day was 4 Mile Bakery a few miles away. Located at the mid-point between these two donut purveyors is a local favorite Rowdy’s Smokehouse . I, of course picked up an order of BBQ to go (to eat on my way to McArthur). Even though Rowdy’s messed up my order, I was impressed with what I consumed (over several days).

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Tender Fluff on Facebook
91 Harding Ave.
Jackson
740 286 6619
Monday to Friday 5:30 am to 1 pm
Saturday 6 am until all is gone

Tender Fluff Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Main Eatery, McArthur

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 4, 2016

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Discovery of Main Eatery is linked to three important things: donuts, hot dogs and an itch to roam. Readers have read much about my explorations on SR 56 this year. What started as an alternate and much longer way to get to O’Betty’s in Athens, with a tacked on excuse to try out what turned out to be one of the best donut spots in the state turned out to be a journey of discovery. On my first trip through McArthur I drove right by Main Eatery without taking note of it. This is an easy thing to do. Fortunately, the Grumpy Old Man was with me on the first drive-by and he happened to spy a sign for a 21 piece shrimp basket. Our next trip through town, resulted in a very brief drop in which gave me enough information to want to block out time to explore this cinder block treasure trove of comfort foods again.

As alluded to before, the Main Eatery is easy to bypass. It is a small block building that is ubiquitous to many rural and suburban areas of Ohio. Typically these shacks push out soft serve ice cream and some secondary or ever afterthought items like hot dogs and a few generic sandwiches. They get the job done and tend to be seasonal businesses. From a distance Main Eatery could easily blend into this category. The eatery is easy to miss and dismiss due to minimal, generic signage and a bland exterior. There is noting outside to suggest what the menu has to offer within.

Main Eatery is definitely a shake shack (so to say) offering well over 100 combinations of milkshake flavors. I’m not sure what type of ice cream they scoop but I can vouch that the sum of all the shaken and stirred parts is exceptional. I sipped on the best Pumpkin milkshake of my life while driving back to Columbus from McArthur. The flavor was great and the thickness perfectly balanced. I expected good from Main Eatery but not incredible.

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The extensive assortment of dairy delights is just a preview of coming attractions on the main menu. Over six pages long, it is packed with an assortment of sandwiches, entrees, snack foods, subs, wraps, baked potatoes, a Cuban sandwich, all types of pork dishes and a lot more. I’m not sure how they pack so many ingredients into such a small place. Even more surprising, how can so much, be done so well, in such minimal square footage. Much of the menu is made from scratch. The pork is slow roasted. A fair amount of ingredients are locally sourced when possible. I would have never guessed or expected this. I am glad I sleuthed it out.

Main Eatery does have a disadvantage it is always the fourth, fifth or sixth spot on one of my journeys of discovery so I have not been able to do in-depth investigation. I am certain, beyond reasonable doubt the eatery has the best Cole slaw south of 70. I sampled it twice now and was beyond pleased both times. The texture of the shaved cabbage, the balance of sauce and spice and just the right amount of carrot shavings make this mixture hard to beat. On this scouting mission, I ordered the “Hop Slop” to go. Included in this dish: homemade (made to order) potato chips, slow roasted pulled pork BBQ, cheese sauce, cheddar cheese, sour cream, a side of Cole slaw and a pickle spears. I had a few of the chips before the wheels hit the road and I ate the rest of the dish three hours later. I was very happy with my selection.

Although my research time and subjects at Main Eatery have been constrained I’m still confident in my endorsement. Service has been friendly and informative on each of my trips. If you have time to linger you do have options. The space is simple. There is an eating area on the porch. A few tables dot a small eat in space inside. The walls are decorated with a mix of old milk bottles for various Ohio diary from days of yore, an assortment of pop bottles and various knick knacks. Their next door neighbor is a service center for at risk youth in Vinton County. Main Eatery is an unlikely diamond in the rough inside a small town that is easy to breeze by on your way to the Hocking Hills but it is well worth dropping in to visit. Based on the potato chips here as well as those just down the street at Mama Renie’s Pizza it is fair to say McArthur is the homemade potato chip capital of the Buckeye state.

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Main Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in desserts, ice cream, Ohio, restaurants, Road Trip | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Market Street Soda Works

Posted by cmh gourmand on September 25, 2016

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When I heard about the opening of Market Street Soda Works in Newark, I was excited to check out what they had to offer. The challenge was finding the time to do it. The business opened in June 2016 in the revitalized (and still under construction and development) downtown Newark. In a world where we walk into a grocery store and find ourselves overwhelmed with options or open a restaurant menu with ten pages it is refreshing to find a place that does just one thing…..carbonated beverages.

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Before I move on, let’s settle one thing. A century old debate is whether Pop is Soda or is Soda Pop? In some parts of the country the use of the “wrong” term can be grounds for ridicule. I go on the record as being a Pop man. Soda Pop when condensed to just one word for efficiency is best served with the term Pop. Pop is pop….no debate about what it is. Whereas Soda can be soda water, a soda fountain, baking soda, etc., etc. Pop sends a clear message and soda sends a mixed message about the subject at hand. That being said, I fully support Market Street Soda Works in both name and mission. Using the KISS principle….Keep It Simple – Soda.

Owner Tim Argyle has a life long love of root beers, red pops, apple beers and the like. Tim has curated an impressive assortment of over 100 sodas from all over the country. In my extensive Pop (soda) research I have not found a better selection anywhere in Ohio. In addition to what is on the selves the Works offers four sodas on draft. These are supplemented by a soda fountain to accent those sodas with ice cream to create tasty floats. All in all the end result is a carbonation conundrum – what to drink and what to take home.

I found more than a few sodas (pops) that I have never been able to locate in the Buckeye State. Seeing everything on display I was thrilled to see old regional soda companies from around the country, many from the 1920’s are still popping around. I was also excited to see some many new “craft” sodas that have popped up in the last few years mirroring the rise of craft beer throughout the country. Pre-Prohibition most communities has a local brewery and a local pop – often times created in the same place. Drink local works just as well with beer as with pop in my book.

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Market Street Soda works is open Tuesdays and Fridays 11 am to 8 pm to align with the Farmers Market schedule. Food trucks set up near the entrance to offer a food option to pair with the pops. If you are anxious to excite your taste buds with new flavors, Market Street Soda Works is well worth the drive to Newark.

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Market Street Soda Works
14 E Market St, Newark, OH 43055
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Posted in beverages, Ohio, Road Trip | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

A Wistful Wendy’s Eulogy for #22

Posted by cmh gourmand on September 19, 2016

 

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A little bit of restaurant history disappeared last week, well at least my history. The Wendy’s located at 3592 North High St was demolished to make way for a new design. It should be up and running by early 2017. While Wendy’s is ubiquitous in Central Ohio my hazy early childhood memories can recall when it was a new concept. The location in Clintonville was the 22nd Wendy’s since the company started in 1969. It opened in 1973. By 1976, there were 500 Wendy’s all over North America. Today there are about 6500 worldwide.

One of my earliest food memories is Burger Chef, I can not recall anything about the food there but I do remember the prizes with their kid’s meals. In contrast I can distinctly remember the first burger and first chili I had at Wendy’s. The burgers served were bigger and fresher. And with their square patties, as what was once the the tag line for Wendy’s, they seemed old fashioned compared to their competition. The Wendy’s chili of the 1970’s was so much better than what is served today.

I can recall finding out that there was a double and a triple burger and feeling determined to try these larger offerings. I think my third or forth Wendy’s burger ever was a triple. Not bad for five year old. I finished it of course but it was the only time I have consumed a Wendy’s triple. I can recall the original decor involved high top tables covered with recreations of old ads. The decor was very similar to Farrell’s at Graceland…..which did not last too long lots of wood, some beads creating a 1920’s feel. Some of the old school tables can be found at Thurman’s in German Village.

My next memory was the Wendy’s salad bar (originating in 1979) which seemed amazing to me. I can remember frequent trips there to make salads to bring home. There was a poppy seed dressing we loved to get and things like bacon bits and fresh croutons seemed like a big deal. As a reflection of how times have changed as an 8 year old I could ride my bike there and order food and eat it there by myself. I can’t imagine eight year old’s doing that in Clintonville today. I’m not sure I can imagine myself riding my bike there in the present, although I need to.

On one of my later bike rides there (when I was 13) I lost my retainer. I rode my bike home to tell my mom I could not find it and she told me to ride back and keep looking for it. Three hours later when I had not returned home, she drove down to check on how I was doing. I was digging through bags of trash at the rear dumpster. She walked up and the very first thing she pulled out…..was my retainer.

The next big deal for me at Wendy’s is something that did not last long enough – the SUPER Bar! When it started, for $2.99 it was all you could eat salad, baked potatoes, Mexican Taco bar, pastas and more. It was phased out in the early 1990’s but in my first years of college, it was a splurge meal option that fit my budget.

My last memory was in college as well. I was eating at Wendy’s with my girlfriend and somehow at a four top table, I thought I had pulled the chair out to sit down but there were only three chairs at the table….so when I squatted to sit, my ass landed on the floor. About twenty people stared at me wondering if they were watching someone loose their mind…..that happened about twenty years later.

While the corner will only be empty for a few month before it is replaced with a new state of the art Wendy’s restaurant it will not be the same for me. It is interesting how something as mundane as a fast food restaurant can intertwine in your life in ways you don’t recognize until it is gone.

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