CMH Gourmand

Eat, Drink, Repeat: Culinary Discovery & Misadventure in Central Ohio

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Archive for the ‘desserts’ Category

Main Eatery, McArthur

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 4, 2016


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.


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.


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

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

Great News: A New Graeter’s in Town

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 19, 2016

Graeters Polaris

It has probably been a long time since your heard anything about Graeter’s in Columbus. The company has been (mostly) quietly churning out great ice cream in Columbus since 1989 and since 1870 in Cincinnati. At one time the Columbus shops were a franchise but the family bought them back and now almost all of the fifty plus scoop shops are company owned. Among the new locations: Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. It is had to believe but at one time Graeter’s meant a long drive to Cincinnati but today their ice cream is ubiquitous in five states in scoop shops and at Kroger.

Graeters Scoop

The new Polaris store is a different concept for Columbus, it is a more streamlined building with a drive through included. With eleven locations in Columbus is now one location ahead of Jeni’s. And now, I am going to give you permission to say or think something you may be afraid to voice in public. Just like a few of us are afraid to admit we don’t give a shit about the Buckeyes there are those reluctant to say they like Graeter’s more than Jeni’s. I’m letting you know that is OK. In my case if given a choice between Jeni’s and Graeter’s, I’ll choose Graeter’s 9 times out of 10. I’m not knocking Jeni’s, but I refuse to indulge in the cult of local culture – Graeter’s is as good if not better at sourcing local ingredients from Ohio and the Midwest. It should also be noted, Jeni worked at Graeter’s for a while in her formative years.

Graeters Counter Polaris

What is really amazing about this new location is that Graeter’s is growing. This now a fifth generation family business. Most family operations, especially those in the food industry don’t make it past a second generation. In the case of Graeter’s it has been a struggle with the family having to call in outside help to direct a path that would allow them to continue as a sustainable family operation. We are just a few years away from the sesquicentennial and that will be a great thing.

Graeters – Polaris
8749 Sancus Blvd
Columbus, OH 43222

Graeter's Ice Cream  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in desserts, ice cream | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Barbeque (BBQ) Shack

Posted by cmh gourmand on May 16, 2016

An underlying fiduciary responsibility I have as the caretaker of this blog is to seek out and discover new BBQ and boldy go, outside the city center. In the case of the Barbeque Shack I did the equivalent of a blind blog date. I saw a photo of some of their food on social media that looked interesting. I was surprised I had not heard of the place before and since it is not too far from CMH Griffin’s school year daycare I opted to give it a try without any significant research other than the address. This being said, I would not typically write a post about such a place based on one trip but since it shows great promise but more importantly because it is in suburban sprawl, I’m asking you, my core handful of loyal followers to give this place a try as well and then add your comments to this post so we have a definitive analysis of this place.

Taking a quick look at the menu online, I place a carry out order for the following: Lunch Special – 2 Brisket sliders with mac and cheese and green beans, 1/2 rack of St. Louis style ribs, side of cole slaw, side of baked beans and bourbon bread pudding. They gave me a pick up time 30 minutes in the future which is great because that is drive time with a few minutes factored in to load a car seat. This place is hard to find. It is buried between a Home Depot and a Wendy’s that has at least two if not three drive thru lanes. When I finally figured out where I was and where it might be this is what I saw.

BBq 1

The shack is indeed a shack. It may have been a Rallys or a coffee to go business at some point. If you are old enough to recall Fotomat, it is not much bigger than one of those. The building is partially obscured by a small tree. It is drive thru / window ordering only but it does have a small shed nearby and several picnic tables on the periphery for dining. While I was waiting a few cars deep in the drive thru queue, I spied a woman wandering the parking lot with a bewildered look on her face but the determination of an Old Testament Jew in the desert. She approached me in my car and asked if one could order without a ca? I told her it looked like drive thru only but good luck. She then approached a window, placed an order and was gone before I became the second card in line.

When I did arrive to the window I was pleasantly surprised to find that my order was 10% less in price than I was quoted because they we too busy when taking my order to explain the discount process to me. I was then asked if I wanted sweet potatoes. I replied that I had not ordered any and they said that was fine, did I still want them. Since is was a family sized looking serving and free I said YES. After I paid they pointed out on my receipt that the next order is 10% off if over $20 if I bring my receipt back with me. So far, all good. Upon arrival back home my research began.


The first to be sampled was the lunch special. The brisket sliders were good and unexpectedly on French style bread which helped the sandwich hold up to the sauce and the meat. The mac and cheese was better than average. The green beans were above average too (the best green beans in town can be found at Smokehouse Brewing in case you were wondering). So far a promising place but I was not blown away yet.


Next the ribs. I’m not sure they meet all of the requirements for St. Louis style ribs but they were good. They were sauced properly (neither too little nor too much sauce – the Goldilocks zone). The meat was tender pulling easily from the bone. I wonder if I received the (on the menu) Ohio style ribs instead – which is a term I have never encountered. So still promising but not yet giving up on Ray Ray’s.

I tried the cole slaw. Also good but a bit too creamy than I prefer.


Next, I decided to take one small bite of the Bourbon Bread Pudding. The moment the first morsel connected with a taste bud I was exceedingly pleased. Most BBQ places have easy deserts as an afterthought. This bread pudding tasted like someone’s great, great grand-mammy made it. It is true perfection mixing great flavor with moistness but not over saturated with any one flavor. At $4, the large serving is a bargain and well worth trip for that alone.


I then back tracked to my previous foods, sampling each again and still having good thoughts about the items when I recalled I still had some untasted baked beans. Baked beans are almost always a horrible disappointment at any place I encounter them. Most places add a bunch of unneeded junk to them or try to fancy them up so that the other ingredients take away for the core ingredient – the lowly bean. My baseline for baked beans can be found in a can, Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans are my go to. They are good by themselves but with just a touch of gourmanding, they can be out of this world tasty. The BBQ shack baked beans exceeded my wildest dreams. While not impressive looking enough to warrant a photograph they were nonetheless great. The sauce was pleasant, neither over or under favored and the only additives were some slow cooked meats – some small bits of shredded brisket and perhaps a few bits of bacon. These are now the local gold standard for baked beans.

And then on to my free sweet potatoes. I had even lower expectations for these but again, I was surprised beyond comprehension. I might rename these holiday style sweet potatoes. Think about the best Thanksgiving sweet potatoes you have ever had – these are better. I can’t fully articulate how, other than saying the consistently is perfect and the taste has just enough sweetness to it to aid digestion.

The BBQ warrants additional investigation which will not happen for me until Fall 2016 at the earliest. But in the meantime as you call all help me out with your own research so add your comments to this post. And when you get your order, please drop off the following at my house: the largest serving of baked beans they will pass through the window and the same for the sweet potatoes and the bourbon bread pudding

Barbeque (BBQ) Shack
5755 Maxtown Rd, Westerville, OH 43082
(614) 899-9227

Barbeque Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in BBQ, desserts | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Tremont Goodie Shop: New Discoveries at an Iconic Old School Spot

Posted by cmh gourmand on January 18, 2015


After eight plus years of charting my eating and drinking I sometimes lose track of what I’ve written about. While taking Mrs. Gourmand to Moretti’s I noticed a sign at the Tremont Goodie shop that said they served Riverside Ice Cream. This intrigued me. As an ice cream scholar I had never heard of it. Luckily for me, Mrs. Gourmand and I usually dine out like the elderly, often arriving at our destination around 5 pm. This worked out well, because when I looked at the Goodie Shop’s hours, I observed the Friday closing time was 7 pm, which allowed time to dine and then a dash into the shop for goodies.


As soon as we walked through the door, two very friendly teenagers told us we had to try the cinnamon sticks. They had some samples out and they were getting ready to bring a fresh tray out for the counter. I was intrigued by this since it is odd for a bakery to stock items less than 1 hour before closing time. My answer came soon enough. Within a few minutes of sampling the cinnamon sticks and checking out the other treats behind the counter, several people came through the door to pick up large orders of these delightful little treats. Interrogating the kids behind the counter I quickly discovered that these small squares of chewy, gooey goodness are beloved item for regular and new customers alike. Orders have been shipped all over the world and it is not uncommon to sell out every day.


The cinnamon sticks are about three times larger than a fig newton and about as thick. They are light yet dense and a little chewy. They taste and consistency are like a blend between a cinnamon bun and a cake donut. As good as these were I was surprised that I had not heard of these or tried them before. I was certain I had included the Goodie Shop in (The Dining Duder’s favorite series) The Ohio Donut Trail but checking the archives, it is not listed. Then I realized I had only been to the place once years ago. Then I found that the only mention of the shop was one of the few CMH Gourmand guest post written by the avowed champion of The Tremont Goodie Shop Molly Kurth.


Go figure. Now on to what lured me in to a place that deserved more of my attention. I’m pretty sure I had visited or sampled every homemade ice cream spot in Ohio. Back in 1997, I spent weekends traveling around the state to find the best ice cream in the state for an article for Ohio Magazine. So when I saw on the Riverside Ice Cream package that it has been made since 1953 I was truly befuddled. As it turns out, it does have a long history but distribution is limited to a few stores north of Columbus. I took a pint (plus) of Butter Pecan home to sample and found it to be good. Tremont Goodie Shop stocks a few flavors of the ice cream year round. If you live in Delaware or Marion you can find a larger number of flavors at Kroger.


Tremont Goodie Shop on Urbanspoon

Posted in bakery, desserts, ice cream | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

New at White Castle: Veggie Slider and Desserts on Sticks. Verdict: Does Not Suck

Posted by cmh gourmand on January 7, 2015


There are a few things I am a sucker for: loose change lying in a busy street, a smart dame and new items at White Castle. You may recall my previous investigation involving the White Castle Belgian Waffle Chicken Sandwich. This time my investigatory reporting was hindered by the lack of my trusty assistant. CMH Tobias was unable to eat pending surgery so I had to have Mrs. Gourmand step in to aid my culinary journalism. However, she was hindered by her own condition (knocked up by this writer) so that her olfactics which are heightened off the charts normally are further expanded by her pregnancy hormones. My own drive to investigate was augmented by a strong desire to eat something other than pizza (the defacto food de jour at Chateau Gourmand since November due to the odd food obsessions and peculiarities that come with knockupedness). ((Oddly, with some reflection, I have observed that I have eaten like a pregnant person since at least 2010)).

I stalked the White Castle Veggie Slider since I first read about it “coming soon” six months ago. While starting my journey through the drive thru lane I noticed a sign for dessert on a stick! How could I not get a few of those as well.


I picked up my order and drove home with an excitement to begin my investigation. My first reaction, after reaching into my sack of research, was a snicker when I looked at the size of the packaging of the desserts. I guess I should have expected something pint-sized from White Castle but I was a little shocked by my first impression on the size of my subject matter (see below).


I ordered Gooey Butter Cake and Fudge Dipped Brownie desserts on sticks. While the packages looked small, the prize inside was even more petite. This caused me to laugh a bit more as I walked the treat to Mrs. Gourmand to sample with me. Exceeding both of our expectations these pint-sized desserts were really good. Both had a dense cheesecake style quality and plenty of flavor. For two good bites each, both were well worth the 99 cent price.


Excited by being two for two so far in the testing process I proceeded to the Veggie Burger to which Mrs. Gourmand made it clear that her services were no longer available. The first thing I noticed was the thickness of the patty. The veggie burger is just over 2 times wider than the standard White Castle slider. My next observation – the burger looks like a burger. It is round. It is the color of a typical burger. While I don’t know the pedigree of the innards, it tastes similar to a Morningstar or other higher grade veggie burger. I also liked the distinct packaging that comes with the product. I’ve sampled many a fast food veggie burger (my favorite hails from the Australian version of Burger King – Hungry Jacks) and this one is a keeper. Although I would suggest ordering this with cheese and seeing if a pickle can be placed on top for extra flavor. The only downside to this (which I noticed on a previous trip) is that the buns on non slider tend to be dry or to have a corner that seems a bit crunchy or stale vs. the alluring steamed moistness of a slider.


I have photos of some of my research below. First I compare the size of a veggie slider and a standard slider. You can also see the difference in color.


Next take a look at the Veggie Slider box. White Castle does a great job with their packaging and branding. The example below is a fine example, nice graphics and color coding to set products apart.


Posted in desserts, Food For Thought, Vegetarian Friendly | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Honeykiss Bakery: Pie of the Month Club

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 14, 2014

I’m not really sure I need to write much in this post – the title says it all. Honeykiss Bakery offers a pie of the month club. Yes, indeed. You can have a pie delivered to your house once per month. A very pleasant pie pixie, makes a wonderful pie and delivers it to your house. You can choose your monthly pies or go with the seasonal selections suggested. Whatever route you choose, the pie will rock your socks.

So like Fight Club, there are rules for Pie Club, well at least the rules I made up.

The first rule: of pie of the month club is that you do talk about pie of the month club.
The second rule: of pie of the month club is that you DO talk about pie of the month club.
The third rule: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, the pie from the pie of the month club must be gone.
The fourth rule: Only two people per pie.
The fifth rule One pie at a time.
The sixth rule: No pies, don’t cry.
The seventh rule: The Pie Club will go on as long as you eat pie.
The eighth rule: If this is your first time for Pie Club, you HAVE to eat all of your pie.

Honeykiss 2

I’ve been a big fan of Rachel Eaton’s pies since almost day one of operation. I’ve written about her peanut butter pie and I interviewed her back in my radio days. I have eaten quite a bit as well, mostly at The Ohio Taproom. Taproom owner John Evans must have seen how many slices I was consuming when he was tallying his monthly sales because he signed me and Mrs. Gourmand up for the pie of the month club as our wedding present.


The timing could not have been better. Our first pie was delivered after our first week of rehabbing our new home. My better half and I were stinky and tired as we were wrapping up another long day of painting, scraping and building when we spied our first pie on the porch. The second pie came a few days after Mrs. Gourmand broke her tibia, fibia and ankle slowing her down a notch and raising the need for pie considerably. We look forward to our soon to arrive August pie as I write this. Oh Boy! So if you are looking for more pie in your life, I’d suggest you have it delivered to you via the Honeykiss Bakery Pie of the Month Club.

Posted in desserts, pies | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Back on the Donut Trail: McHappy’s, Athens Ohio

Posted by cmh gourmand on April 2, 2014

apple saucve

While this is bad news for the Dining Duder, the donut trail is back. And this was as unexpected for me as you. I was minding my own business with no intention of consuming a donut when I noticed that McHappy’s offered donuts. I was visiting a new Athens favorite, Purple Chopstix (suggested by Dr. Balbo, Medicine Woman) when I noticed that McHappy’s was open via a sign advertising donuts. While I have driven this stretch of Richland Ave. many times, I never noticed McHappy’s nor did I have an inclination to look – I was always on my way to somewhere else. I’m glad I dropped in.


Dropping in was a pure whim. In fact my passenger tried to dissuade me from doing so because we had just filled up on a buffet. The place does not look like much from the outside and we had a challenge finding the door since is largely a drive through business. However, I was focused on finding out what this bakery was all about and I needed to stockpile provisions for our next several days at Lake Hope State Park. The moment I waked through the door, I was glad I did so. The first doughnut my eye spied was an Ohio classic – maple glazed cake donut. It was at this point I decided a full dozen was in order. In addition to two maples, I added several other varieties including a new one for me – Applesauce. I also picked up a cinnamon roll, a apple fritter and a peanut butter egg. This mass of sugar was a good value. If you are even more value oriented, McHappy’s sells bags of day old doughnuts for $1.99.


To cut to the chase, in comparison of all of the other Ohio Donut Trail entries, McHappy’s rates a solid B. None of the regular donuts stood out or where craveable. I expected a lot, perhaps too much from the Applesauce donut since that style was new to me. It was good but what I think I liked the most was it’s star like shape. The winner of everything we tried was the apple fritter. It may place in the top five in the fritter category to date. I should note a few disclaimers about McHappy’s. We purchased the donuts around 1 pm and we did not try any until about 5 pm so they were not at their peak freshness. McHappy’s is a five location chain operating in Athens, Belpre, Marietta and Parkersburg. And for some reason, which no longer makes sense we nicknamed the lady that served us Biscuits McGillacutty.


McHappy's Donuts and Bake Shoppe on Urbanspoon

Posted in desserts, donuts, Ohio, Ohio Donut Trail, Road Trip | 2 Comments »

Tyler’s Pizzeria and Bakery

Posted by cmh gourmand on March 29, 2014


I’m not sure when I first heard of Tyler’s. It was brought back to my attention when my esteemed colleague at Columbus Food Adventures shot me an e-mail that highlighted the wood-fired aspect of the business. I then put Tyler’s on my very long and never completed to scout list. A month later, after dropping off some friends at the airport I found that I had time to kill and was much closer to Reynoldsburg than I ever get so that was the day.

Tyler’s is located deep in the heart of Reynoldsburg, in fact, I think it was the first time I been to the burg other than any sections attached to 270. That being the case I was hoping that Tyler’s would be a destination, because otherwise, I knew I would never have any legitimate reason to return.

Tyler’s is located in a nondescript building with simple signage. It could have easily been Tyler’s Barber Shop or Tyler’s Comics if one was driving by and did not know to look for it. I parked then spent a few minutes to search the web on my phone to see if I could find any suggestions on what to order. (At this point you are thinking….order a pizza idiot) but I do have an obligation to be thorough so I wanted some guidance, even from Yelp. I found very little on the place. Also, I must admit, when I see the term wood-fired I initially get very excited then quickly recall the many wood-fired disappointments I have experienced to date. Wood-fired often means wood flavored or wood smelling or would have wished I had gone elsewhere. I did not want to be disappointed but I was ready for it.

Walking in, the inside looked much like the outside – simple and plain. There was a sample board from which the sole employee cut off some items for me to try. There were all good. Then, I spied a Pepperoni Roll. I knew I would get one of those haven just spoken to Gary Seman at This Week about the subject a few days before. I saw many things that I wanted so I take home with me so I started with my initial order and then when I was given the price…which seemed like a steal, I added several more items to my bag of goodies.

So you are asking yourself, dude, where’s the pizza? Well in seems that Tyler was not in when I was there. The young lady at the counter has worked for him for two years and has learned a lot about baking but she was still learning the art of making pizzas in the oven so she suggested that I hold out until I could have one made by Tyler. I am sure that his apprentice could have made a fine pie but I respected that she wanted me to try one from the master so I opted to get some more bakery items instead.

This was my final stockpile of goods: butterscotch chip scone, chocolate croissant, blueberry muffin, pepperoni roll, Cornish pastry and a cookie bar. Verdict each one would finish best in show or close to it in their respective categories. A few highlights from above. The croissant was light, flakey and perfectly balanced in the proportion of chocolate to croissant. Cornish pastry, who in the heck makes these in Ohio? If you have never had one, go here to fix that little problem of yours. Mine had exceptionally buttery and flakey crust with a fine mix of spiced and seasoned meat and vegetables inside. As Jimmy Fallon might say…So Good, So Good.


And let me back track to the pepperoni roll. While Omega Bakery is still my favorite place to get this West Virginia staple, Tyler’s comes a close second. One bonus on the roll I tried was a strip of charred cheese about the length of a dollar bill and the thickness of my little finger attached to the bottom and never removed after it came from the oven.

Based on the baked goods, I have no doubt that the wood-fired pizzas will not disappoint me when I do get back to try them. One more thing gave me hope. Having gained the confidence of the apprentice I was allowed to get a close up look of the wood fired oven. Take a look. Doesn’t that give you hope and a warm feeling inside?


Tyler's Pizzeria & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Posted in bakery, desserts, pizza | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

CLOSED: The Original Leonardos

Posted by cmh gourmand on September 1, 2013


Leonardo’s Pizza has a history dating back to the early 1950’s. It was one of the pioneers in a new wave of food in Columbus. If you read the comments on my older post on Columbus Pizza History, you will find many comments about memories of the several Leonardo’s locations over the years. The last shop closed their shutters in the late 1980’s.

Patrick and Anna Rose Orecchio started their first shop on Northwest Blvd. back in 1953 and grew a large family business with all of the kids working in front and back of the house. The empire grew to several locations by the early 1980s in various parts of town. Pizza gets in the blood and can often not be removed. This past month, Drew Orecchio (son of the founder) and his wife Laurie reopened Leonardo’s in a recently vacated Sparanos Pizza location on Hague Ave. Having read about the excitement of the grand opening in my blog comments I had to check the place out. The spot on Hague Ave. has a lot of history as well….but that is for some other time.

I suppose I was in a bit of a rush to try out this new version of a Columbus pizza legend. I left my wallet at home. No problem, after chatting with Drew and Laurie for a while, they were fine with me calling a friend to get a credit card number over the phone to pay for my order. By the time we were done, they would have gladly given it to me for free or taught me how to make my own – but I was insistent about not being a mooch. Drew spoke about his family’s history in the pizza business for a long time. He shared that his dad Pat worked 13 years without a vacation as he grew the business to other locations and mentored others in the business. Drew is clearly proud of Orecchio family history in the local pizza trade and has been overjoyed by the many former fans who have traveled to the west side for a taste of their past.

I did not have a chance to sample Leonardo’s when the original locations were open, but I did try the 21st century version of the pie. It won on all marks for me. Ample amounts of rich, slow cooked and herbed sauce, a crunchy and crackery crust edge but not thin wimpy dough crest in the in the middle of the pie. The cheese was dense with a few scorch marks in the right places. The version I tried, featured pepperoni which had just the right amount of curl and crisp. Some might call in a Columbus style pie, I say it is far better than the average for that genre of pizza.

I enjoyed the pizza and would gladly go back again. What I enjoyed even more was the conversation with Drew. He so passionate about his pizza, his business and his family he would have easily spoken with me for an hour at the end of a long day of a long week. Both Drew and Laurie have a lot of restaurant and food service experience which they plan to showcase soon when they add a bakery to the pizza shop. Laurie is a baker so I sampled one of her cream puffs and I am happy to report it is the best I have had in Ohio. The cream puff was enormous with fresh tasty and flakey pastry shell packed solid with plenty of vanilla cream. I consumed the second half the next day and it was still as wonderful. The desserts are currently from the Little Pink Pastry Shoppe and I can see their line expanding with Leonardo’s. These are good people making good food they care about. That is rewarding see and consume.

So based on one Pizza and one cream puff, I can say Leonardo’s is worth the trip. Other items include: calzones buffalo chicken cupcakes, pretzel sticks with beer cheese, sandwiches, house made soup in the cold months, pastas and salads. Head out to try any of those items with a pizza and hear a bit of pizza lore if it is slow. And make sure to take your wallet or they might think you are me.

The Original Leonardo’s
1783 N Hague Ave.
Columbus, OH 43204
614 487 0555

Closed Sundays
Monday to Thursday 10 am to 11 pm
Friday to Saturday 10 am to 11 pm

The Original Leonardo's on Urbanspoon

Posted in CLOSED, desserts, pizza | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

First Glance: Mozart’s Beechwold

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 7, 2013


Beechwold, that northern nook of Clintonville, has waited long for a viable food option between Henderson Road and Morse Road. Mozart’s delivers what the masses have waited for. However, I am going to skip the culinary aspect of the place. While the menu is largely familiar to long time Mozart’s customers the space is new as is some staff, systems and recipes. Don’t fret, Food still matters and I may discuss that somewhere down the road, but what really counts here is the most defining aspect that Mozart’s created with their new space….community.

The inside is an expanse of several nooks and crannies. There is an outdoor patio, some small tables in crevices at the front, a large room of family style tables in the center and an extensive common area/event space/multi-purpose area in the section farthest from the main entrance. Each area has a distinct sense of space. Part feels like a restaurant, part feels like a cafe and one area has the feel of a ballroom. There are several pianos placed throughout to reinforce the musical connect to the Mozart’s namesake. Images in the wall pay homage to Mozart, Austria and the Old Beechwold Ballroom. Throughout these spaces there is a mix of young and old, family and friends, large groups and solo coffee sippers. Some people are dashing in for ice cream or a treat from the bakery case while the rest are easing into an extended stay in a cozy, relaxing environment. Guests come by foot, bike and car but definitely a large minority is walking from their homes.

Mozart’s feels like it has been in this neighborhood for years instead of the few weeks since it opened the doors. Home is conveyed by how everyone seems to feel comfortable on both sides of the counter. Community us reinforced with tables dedicated to local business information. One table is set aside for Million Lego for Kids as great cause with a Columbus connection. All in all the vibe is library meets dance hall or somewhere in between.

In summary the largest serving at Mozart’s community while is ladled out with reckless abandon and that is the what Beechwold has hungered for the most.

Thank you Anand Saha and family for adding to the community and saving us from fast food and disconnected neighbors.

4784 North High St
Closed Mondays

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