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Clintonville: Something: Old, New, BBQ’d and Renewed

Posted by CMH Gourmand on April 10, 2010

It was a busy winter in culinary Clintonville. Since Spring is finally here, I sprung to action and took a survey of the home turf. In the process I discovered something old, something new, something BBQ’d and something….burned.

Nancy’s is back. The Clintonville institution reopened on February 19th after closing in 2009. There is a new owner with a lifetime behind the Nancy’s counter experience. The space is to code: new floor, paint, venting hood and other updates. There are menus. Yes, a menu – after decades of newbies waiting to be given one instead of looking at the wall or knowing the drill, offerings have now been listed on paper. Prices are up a buck or so but the regulars are back. The magic is not the same. Don’t get me wrong, as the hub of Clintonville, Nancy’s deserves your support. However, Nancy’s was Cindy King’s place and if she is not slinging chicken and noodles and Ed is not serving breakfast then Nancy’s is just a (good) diner.

There is a new twist on things. Leftovers – a rare thing in the old days sometimes happens in this new era. This provides a unique opportunity to dine on the cheap if you care to eat after 2 PM. See the flyer below.

Street food is haute in Clintonville.

There is a BBQ Trailer at the corner of High and Pacemont. And it is doing a bang up business. James Anderson, the owner, has opened and closed three restaurants (the last was Smackies BBQ) and he decided he wanted to get back to BBQ and business basics with a simple one man operation. The food cart opened in the winter and has maintained a good weekend business since then. The menu includes: pulled pork, beef brisket, rib tips, beef and pork ribs, mac & cheese, cobbler made by his significant other and the (per me) best baked beans in Columbus. Look for the open sign on the outside of the cart or plums of smoke to confirm serving status.

Many people think Anderson’s BBQ truck is the first mobile food vendor in Clintonville. Such is not the case. There was another cart at Weber and Indianola which burned down about one year ago. There was a burger and hot dog cart at the Corner of Blenheim and Indianola (Keith’s Sunoco) for nearly a decade which was recently replaced by Boston Bert’s Seafood. The cart is open Monday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm. The owners are Bert and Katie Merrill with the able assistance of Chef Bob Slatter. Orders can be phoned in at 614 306 8212. The menu includes: beer batter fish and chips, shrimp Po’ Boys, roast beef sandwiches, fried bologna sandwiches, burgers, chowder and hush puppies. They also have the Bloomin’ Onion for you Outback Steakhouse fans. The cart is swarmed with Marzetti employees at about 11:30 as they make their lunch and shift breaks from the plant across the street.

Another Clintonville landmark is Whole World Natural Restaurant. This vegetarian eatery (first in Columbus) was damaged extensively by fire in the fall of 2009. I took at look at the space last week. The inside looks OK. The mural on the wall survived the blaze. Building and contractor permits on the window show a recent signature dated March 26th. Progress looks to be slow but steady so maybe a summer opening is possible.

That is the news from the Clintonville beat.

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