CMH Gourmand

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

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Lil Donut Factory – Hilliard (Ohio Donut Trail)

Posted by cmh gourmand on August 16, 2016

Mr. Donut Face

Exploring the Ohio Donut trail took me reluctantly to….Hilliard. Longtime readers may be puzzled by my reluctance to travel such a relative short distance. The conundrum is created by my long-established willingness to travel hours through the state to other destinations or the many occasions to roam around the state in search of donuts and more. I’ve never connected with Hilliard for a series of gray reasons – it makes me think of urban sprawl, most of it feels like an extended strip mall and getting there always seems to be inconvenient to me. So I have outed one of my many old man biased thoughts.

However my desire to cap off the Columbus zone of the Ohio Donut Trail drove me to drive out of my comfort zone and into this suburb but still with some dread. Over the years I made two attempts to visit the Lil Donut Factory but both were busts, once the place was closed unexpectedly and the other time the donuts were decimated.

As I approached my gut told me I would be disappointed. The Lil Donut Factory is an unlikely business, in an inconvenient place near a slightly off kilter three-way intersection that ends in a mini mall Sunoco gas station complex that also features a bar called Nasty’s and a Goodwill drop off site. The sign of the factory was nearly faded away by the sun. You would have to know this place existed to find it. My donut-y heart continued to droop.

Within moments of arrival, my reservations were cancelled before I even tasted a donut. In the Lil Donut Factory I found a thinking man’s donutery. The walls have a hodgepodge of comic book art including a framed 1941 Super Man Sunday comic. Other elements that struck my fancy: Star Trek art, a Four String Brewing howler, framed classic vinyl records, a nice selection of books for customers to read and a guy at the counter that offers suggestions on books by lesser known German authors. Last but very much not least, the front window sports a Bernie 2016 sign….pretty daring in this section of Hilliard. At this point, I did not even care if I liked the donuts.

I tried blueberry, stick, cinnamon twist, maple, maple-bacon, and apple fritter and a few others. The price was $9.50 for a baker’s dozen (a real deal). However my latent aversion to Hilliard must had caused a unconsious desire to get rid of the evidence because I accidentally deleted all the photos I took on site. The only visual I have to offer is a face made out of my remaining donuts. Insider tip for the Lil Donut Factory – go as early as you can while the selection is large and the donuts are fresh. If you have time, hang around for some coffee and good conversation.

Update: Special thanks to my blogger-pal Joe, from 614ortyNiner for sending me this photo of the Lil Donut Factory.


Lil Donut Factory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Anthony Bourdain brings “The Hunger” to Columbus

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 31, 2016

Does this guy look familiar to you?

Anthony Bourdain

I wish I could say this photo was taken at my house but in all my travels and shrinking social circles, I have never met Anthony Bourdain. The photo and the information below, were sent to me as part of a press release for his live show – The Hunger.

Internationally renowned best-selling author, television host and multiple Emmy-award-winner Anthony Bourdain is roaming the country for The Hunger, an 11-city North American tour launching October 25 in New York. Bourdain’s first cookbook in 10 years, APPETITES (published by Ecco), also hits shelves October 25. The Hunger serves audiences an all new live show featuring an unyielding, brutally honest monologue reflecting on diverse culture, street cuisine and his travels to lesser-known locations around the world, followed by an open Q&A session. Currently filming the hit CNN original series Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown (season seven premiered Sunday, April 24; 9pm ET/PT), Bourdain will bring audiences a menu loaded with lots of laughs, serious discussions and unapologetic irreverence.

For more information including tour dates and tickets, visit, because his show is coming Saturday, October 29, 2016 to Palace Theatre to Columbus!

Keep reading there is more….and a big incentive to keep reading. One of the first books I read that got me excited about food was Kitchen Confidential. As “food TV” and the celebrity chef craze grew I was never able to drink the Kool-Aid for it, with a few exceptions (mainly Michael Symon), the best example being Anthony Bourdain. While I can’t say his hard-drinking, chain smoking, New York style bravado appeals much to my personality style, I always enjoyed his views on food and straight forward approach to everything without any pretensions. He definitely raised himself to a high level of respect in my view when he started the show Parts Unknown. His blend of love for food and how it intertwines with local culture and history strikes a chord with me because it reminds me of how I prefer to travel and explore the world. So while I do not normally get giddy about a show coming to town, I am stoked that he is coming to Columbus as one of his eleven stops on this tour.

So here is your chance to get really excited…..

Stay tuned to my twitter feed – CMHGurmand because sometime before the show I will have a ticket giveaway for two tickets for the show. Whether you win the tickets or buy your own I hope to see you there, this is well worth one of our rare babysitter covered nights out on the town.

In the meantime, since there is a Q & A segment during the show, how about sharing a question you would ask him if given the chance.

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Mama Renie’s Pizza: McArthur Ohio

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 29, 2016

(An installment in the Route 56 Trilogy and the Grumpy Old Man Saga)

Our tale of Mama Renie’s involves several sidetrips both literally and figuratively so let us begin our journey. The path to Mama Renie’s was a long and winding trail. it began when I became aware of Family Donut Shoppe in Londonderry which started my exploration of Route 56. For this trip to McArthur I sought out a co-pilot in the Grumpy Old Man. Readers may be familiar with the Grumpy Old Man from another installment in the Route 56 Trilogy – Carl’s Townhouse. One the first exploration of Route 56, I talked the Grumpy Old Man into going to Family Donut shop the first time by promising a trip to O’Betty’s in Athens after. At the mid-point of our first Route 56 adventure we passed through Mcarthur and the place below caught my eye. My eatery sixth sense kicked in and knew I had to head back some day (soon).


(Take a look at the sign in the photo). A sign on a pizza place which says Breakfast 6 am is the sign of a full service establishment that warrants investigation. Looking at the brick work (glazed enamel which was high-end in the 1920’s) of this building I could tell this place has a lot of history which meant – the potential for a lot of character.

So once again, I talked the Grumpy Old Man into joining me on another Route 56 adventure. This time we would go to Carl’s Townhouse and since Family Donut Shop was only 15 miles away we would head back there and then proceed to McArthur for a very detailed scouting mission.

Now long time readers of this blog are thinking “why would the Grumpy Old Man need to be talked into what sounds like a great day trip?” Well, the back story is complicated but I’ll provide some bullet points. I’ve known the Grumpy Old Man for almost thirty years and along the way we have had many good adventures: camping trips, a trip to Baltimore where I slept under a pool table and wore reindeer pants, a 4 day trip to Puerto Rico that nearly led to my death by pork and rum overdose and at least six trips to Lake Hope. The Lake Hope adventures are the ones that lead to the trepidation the Grumpy Old Man has when I make a trip pitch to him. Lake Hope Adventures typically involve the following: five to seven meals per day in Athens (sometimes going to the same place two to three times in a day), a long hike where we are sometimes unclear if we will finish…or survive, a hangover, often extended bursts of intestinal gas and on our last two trips drinking one bottle of Yering Station Fortified Shiraz which is the finest and one of the most potent wines in the world. And unfortunately for me can only be found at the Yering Station winery in the Yarra Valley and my supply is now depleted which is fortunate for the Grumpy old man. While the Grumpy Old Man enjoys a trip to Lake Hope he has found the rigors of my itineraries wear him out and age him about 1 year in 3 to 4 days. A shared bottle of fortified Shiraz seems to age him about 3 years. My additional selling point for our McArthur scouting run is that this little town is only 14.7 miles from the cabin we stay in at Lake Hope. Somehow in all of our trips to Lake Hope and the surrounding area we have never been to McArthur. So if McArthur did indeed have a good place to eat, I would have an alternative to Athens on our adventures and thus he would have some protection from my indulgences at Jackie O’s, Devil’s Kettle, Little Fish, West End Cider House and such. This added to a guaranteed trip to Family Donut Shoppe allowed the Grumpy Old Man to commit to be tripped.

However, after lunch at Carl’s and second lunch at Family Donut Shoppe, the Grumpy Old Man asked if we were going to skip McArthur and just head home. Of course my response was merely a roll of my eyes as we moved on down the road to our destiny (this is why I always drive so that my agenda can’t be trumped).

Upon arrival in McArthur we did a quick drive by of our target sites in town then exited the vehicle to explore McArthur on foot (which took about 10 minutes). We were not sure if Mama Renie’s was open and the Grumpy Old Man was reluctant to enter so I scouted it solo by trying to find an unlocked door. I was a bit disoriented upon entering because the interior is very dark with minimal lighting as well as a very dark, long wood bar and booths. I knew based on the look of the bar alone that Mama Renie’s was worth this trip. I returned outside to fetch the Grumpy Old Man and apparently I was not just scouting for myself, as two frumpy twenty something ladies that were also casing out the place entered when I came out to give the thumps up.

Since Grumpy and I were both full from our previous meals we just opted to order a beer a piece as we took time to soak in the atmosphere of the bar. I explained that we would not be eating but that would still like to look at the menu. The menu looked very promising offering a full breakfast menu, some sandwiches and of course pizza. One thing caught my eye because it was completely unexpected…..homemade potato chips. So against the protestations of the Grumpy Old Man I placed an order. You can see where the chips fell below.


These chips were great. Some were very crispy and a few still had some chewiness. All together the best barroom snack for a place like this. While we munched away we began to chat with our server/host to find that her son has owned the restaurant for over 15 years but in the past the place had hidden tunnels and trap doors used to hide and sell moonshine during prohibition. Other things that caught my eye during my exploration of the building were decades of photos of local sports teams – mostly basketball, which is big in Vinton County. I also found an old business license and photo of owners from the late 1940’s. All in all the place has the look and vibe of many of the neighborhood bars in Cleveland so the Grumpy Old Man felt right at home. I continued my discussions with our new friend behind the bar I decided that I needed to order a pizza (to go – even I was beyond full at this point) because she kept talking about how good the pizza was. We also covertly watched what the other people were eating (everything looked good) and heard an older couple struggling over what pie to order. In the process of their deciding we overheard that the pie purveyor Mama Renie’s uses is well-known throughout Vinton County. We did see a few slices of pie and they did indeed look exceptional.


Eventually, we reluctantly departed Mama Renie’s. The Grumpy Old Man was excited to head home but I told him we were not done yet, we needed to back track to check out the other place that looked good on our drive into McArthur. After quelling a minor mutiny we headed to Main Eatery to pick up a beverage only for the long ride back to Columbus. As we approached the building we noticed the 20 something frumps had followed us (henceforth known as the McArthur girls) and they did declare “we are not following you guys….really”. I know better, my guess is that they had spied the two boxes of Family Donut Shoppe donuts in my Subaru and were looking for an opportunity to steal them. So I gallantly insisted that they order first (so I could keep an eye on them and my donuts). After the McArthur girls ordered their shakes and planted themselves on the patio we started chatting up the woman at the ordering window. She went on at length about all Main Eatery has to offer including over 150 types of shakes, house make corned beef, fresh sauces, etc. Very impressive for a small building that just looks like a typical, generic soft serve ice cream stand. At this point the Grumpy Old Man was beyond distraught, thinking I was going to force another meal on him, he started to make a run for the house next door which had a Safe Place logo sign on the door. Since I was full and had a full pizza and box of donuts in my car, all I ordered as a small cole slaw for the road. We bid the McArthur girls adieu (until our next meeting, they did look like stalkers) and headed back to Columbus via SR 93 and 33.

I am happy to report both the pizza from Mama Renie’s and the cole slaw from Main Eatery were really good and made a fine dinner that evening. The Grumpy Old Man survived this adventure as well and still talks about the Family Donut Shop and the McArthur Girls each week.


100 W Main St, McArthur, OH 45651
(740) 596-3300

Mama Renie's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Ohio, pies, pizza, Road Trip | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Carl’s Townhouse – Chillicothe

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 24, 2016


My previous Chillicothe visits included: seeing Tecumseh! the outdoor drama, writing about a restaurant for Ohio Magazine in 1998, visiting two donut spots and picking up the vanity at Lowe’s (the only one in inventory for the whole state). Back when I was a government drone my job often took me to the Chillicothe Veterans Administration Hospital (which has roots going back to World War I) but duty to fix problems and ethical responsibility did not allow me to take side trips to explore the area. I never really explored the city or the downtown. Considering Chillicothe was once a state capital and it is fun to say and more importantly considering all of the other places in the state I have explored on a whim, Chillicothe was overdue for an extended trip.

I’m not sure of the exact series of searches that popped Carl’s onto my laptop screen but it was probably related to doing a search related to Family Donut Shoppe. I’m glad I did pay attention to Carl’s and felt the pull to make this my reason to head south. I enjoyed driving the streets of downtown Chillicothe looking at many 1880’s era buildings and small local shops while searching for Carl’s.

I scouted out Carl’s on various review sites and found almost universal love for the place and in particular their burgers. I lured along one of my research assistants, the grumpy old man, with promises of a trip to Family Donut Shoppe afterwards as well as a recon trip to McArthur Ohio. Within moments of arrival to Carl’s the grumpy old man was also pleased. Carl’s is the kind of diner that every community needs. A simple place with straightforward food where regulars come to catch up with each other as well as the events of the day. More diners could help Make America great again.

Having a research assistant allowed me to do extensive food research. I’ll start with the hamburgers. The trademark menu item here are slider style hamburgers. The burgers were much bigger and thicker than a White Castle slider. Students of hamburger history (such as myself) would recognize this as the typical burger of the 1940’s – 1960’s. Neither too big nor too small with a lumpy instead of perfectly formed patty and when paired with fries, a very satisfying meal. The burgers are great and I highly suggest them. I ordered the double cheeseburger basket (two double cheeseburgers and fries).

Double cheeseburger basket

As a student of hot dog history as well as a staunch hot dog advocate, I ordered a chili dog to boot. I was pleased with the presentation here. The bun was lightly grilled, the hot dog was split in the middle to aid grilling as well as chili retention. The chili was definitely homemade with a distinct flavor to it. Overall it was better than average.

chili dog

The grumpy old man ordered the pork tenderloin sandwich. I was happy to see this on the menu. Many years ago I did extensive research on regional sandwiches around the USA for a book project. I spent a week traveling around the Midwest trying out the best pork tenderloin sandwiches in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois which is the heartland of this regional delicacy. I found this version true to style. It was properly breaded and sufficiently – as is the tradition – much bigger than the bun it was served on. More points for Carl’s.

tenderloin sandwich

My favorite item of the lot was also my biggest surprise. I saw apple strudel written on the specials board and ordered that out of curiosity. It turned out to be Apple Strudel Pie! Even the grumpy old man, with his girl-like appetite, found room to take a bite and found it pleasing to the palate as well.

apple strudel pie

One of the things that makes Carl’s a destination is the character of the place which comes from a long history in the community. When I work with clients, I often share with them how important sharing the history of a business is to customer loyalty. Carl’s does a great job in this category by sharing their history on the menu. As a local landmark, this is important, so I photographed that history to share with you below.

part 1

part 2

To wrap it all up. Carl’s is an iconic diner that dishes out breakfast, lunch, dinner and an extensive list of daily specials at affordable prices. If you find yourself in Chillicothe, this is well worth a visit. If you have a few extra minutes walk across the street to the antique shop and see if this trinket is still around. Even though it was $375 I was very tempted to take it home with me. If you are not familiar with the gentleman below, it is J. Wellington Wimpy. A personal hero of mine with an even greater affinity for hamburgers, he is best known for his insightful philosophy, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” If you fetch Wimpy for me today, I’ll gladly pay you back with a burger on Tuesday.


Carl's Town House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Diners, hamburgers, hot dogs, Ohio, Road Trip | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Leones Pizza: It’s a Toss Up

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 3, 2016

Leones signJPG

Leone’s Pizza opened in March of 2016 and on its first day of business proved it was 100% better that it’s predecessor (Pizza Mart) which was best known as being a home for 20-30 stray cats. While the sign does provide a prompt, to make sure you are on the right page, Leone means Lion in Italian. Owner Ryan LaRose comes to the business with a lot of pizza kitchen experience and as a (former) member of the US Pizza team is a past award winner in dough tossing. He is such a good showman he won awards for his talents and made appearances on local and national television. So now you know why the tagline is “There’s a show in the dough.”

Excitement in Clintonville and Worthington trended high in the first week of business and has remained so because Leone’s offers what the area has been sorely lacking: New York Style Pizza. In my hierarchy of doughy needs my excitement was about the pizza rolls (rarely seen in our “fare” city), Pinwheels – which I can not describe but can attest to be superior based on a few I tried and (authentic) cannoli which is also a rare thing on our “fare city”. Another layer of excitement comes from the ability to get a “slice” during lunch.

The problem with my hierarchy is that the pinwheels and pizza rolls rarely seem to be available.

Moving into the pizza department, I have sampled quite a few pies and find that while I am a fan of the place and the staff, the pizza suffers from consistency issues.

The Stuffed Pizza is basically one pizza on top of another with toppings in between. This is available as a 16 inch pizza only (medium). The version I tried was good, but cooked several minutes too long (there was some char) and for what I received was overpriced at $28. It would have been a much better pizza at $22 minus the char.

The standard New York Style Pizza is true to technique although it trends a bit more greasy than my favorites in the Big Apple. The cheese used is exceptional. On the pepperoni side, I would prefer locally made Ezzo’s for flavor and mouth feel.


My favorite and the best executed pizza to date has been the Bianco which blends mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, olive oil and fresh Basil. This is a superior pie.

White pizza

In the non pizza area, I have only tried one sandwich….kind of. I ordered the Sausage Parmigiano. I was excited about this because they make their bread in-house and the sandwich features fresh marinara, mozzarella and sausage. When I brought the sandwich home and unwrapped it I found the bread to be very dark brown with some streaks of black scorch in it. The inside of the bun/roll still seemed fresh and a big doughy so I gave the less charred section a bite….and stopped. My tongue was fairly sure it connected directly with a salt shaker.

I called the shop and explained my experience. They apologized for not hitting their mark. They also told me my order was now on their wall of shame and that next time I came in I would have that same sandwich for free so I could experience how it was meant to be enjoyed. I was satisfied with the response and will look forward to trying it some time…..with a Bianco as a back up just in case.

There is a lot more for me to explore on the menu and I would encourage each of you to give this place a try. As a new business in an off the beaten path location, they can use some community support. For those of you that have tried Leone’s, please comment on this post to add your experiences to mine.

Leone's other sign

Leone’s Pizza
5413 Sinclair Road

Leone's Pizza  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in pizza | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Finlandia Butter and Cheese? Oh, Yes Please

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 29, 2016

The story begins with (in part) this e-mail:

Happy National Dairy Month! I’m writing with a delicious opportunity for you to taste some of the best cheese and butter on Earth, and show off your baking and cooking skills.

Finlandia Cheese—a company that has been crafting great-tasting cheese and butter for more than a century—is a fan of your blog and asked me to reach out with a special Dairy Delight Kit for you, featuring yummy cheese, the best butter you’ve ever tasted, and some handy kitchen items.


I did not receive the handy kitchen items but I did receive plenty of butter (salted and unsalted) and some Swiss Cheese. I discussed options with CMH Wife and we decided some of the butter and cheese would be a great opportunity to show off a new serving tray we received from a friend and introduce CMH Griffin to a simple summer meal of Swiss Cheese (his first Swiss) and a bit of salted and unsalted butter in a head to head taste off.




The verdict, just like his dad, CMH Griffin is a huge fan of cheese. As for butter no indication was made as to if salted or unsalted was preferred.

Finlandia on Facebook

Finlandia Cheese Locator

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B & K Smokehouse

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 22, 2016

BK Smokehouse

Here are a few things you need to figure out or be ready for before you go to B & K Smokehouse.

1) Cash or Credit (your call, as a fellow small business person, I say go cash if you can)

2) For sandwiches: White, Wheat or Bun. I’d go with the bun

3) For other smoked meats / BBQ: White, Wheat or Cornbread

4) Sauce on or sauce on the side: Sauce on the ribs, Sauce on the side everything else.

5) If you want a Turkey Rib, visit after 4 pm.

6) Sweet sauce or Mustard sauce: Sweet!

Now let us proceed with why you want to go to B & K Smokehouse. First item of note, the staff are friendly, on my first trip they spied me getting out of my car as they were walking from the smoker out back to the kitchen saying “Hi there, are you here for the carry out order”. I guess a really white guy in a Subaru stands out around East Main Street but hey, saying hi when I am 100 feet from the front door is a plus. I was here for the ribs and they did not disappoint. The B & K ribs are among the top three in the city. My BBQ judge instincts and my taste buds suggest these ribs are smoked at least 12 hours, maybe longer. The smoke flavor is good. Suspended in a pond of sauce even better. The meat is tender to the bone and pulls away with ease. You can taste the meat flavor. Good Job B & K.

B K Ribs

Let’s move along to the wings. I’d place these as among the top five in the city. These are also well smoked, tender with the meat falling off the bones in some cases and very meaty – no scrawny BW-3 wings here. Go with sweet sauce on these. I’ve tried them on two different occasions and the consistency is there.

B & K wings

Now let me walk you through my notes for most of the menu.

Brisket Sandwich: OK. Benefits from sauce. A bit fatty and tasted more like pot roast than traditional brisket. Served shredded.

Pulled Pork Sandwich: OK. Benefits from sauce. Served shredded.

Baked Beans: watery and addition of pickle relish to the sauce is not an upgrade, but it is daring. I would not order these again.

Corn Bread: dry and crumbling, I would not order this again.

Mac & Cheese: fair but missing flavor seems to lack salt, pepper or any cream to the cheesiness.

Cole Slaw: Reminds me of KFC cole slaw which is my baseline for good cole slaw. This is among my favorite in town. (Note: for many years I though cole slaw was called cold slaw, I just thought you should know).

Potato Salad: Good. Mustard base. Better than average.

Green Beans: Good would benefit from a bit more seasoning or a touch of bacon.

Carrot Cake: Better than average.

B & K sides

Now for a quick review. Get a slab of ribs with sauce, a dozen wings and large cole slaw. Get a few other items to try for yourself (taste is subjective so don’t order based just on may favorite) and expect to have a great meal.

I’ll wrap up with answers to a few B & K mysteries. B is the first initial of one brother and K is the initial of another. The framed collection of old Mad Magazine covers on the walls come from the collection of their dad.

And now, you know.

B&K Smokehouse
1114 East Main Street
Old Towne East
NW Corner of East Main and South Champion
614 252 7917

Monday to Wednesday 11 am to 7 pm
Thursday and Friday 11 am to 8:30 pm
Saturday Noon to 8:30 pm

B & K Smoke House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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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

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Cream & Sugar: A Sweet Surprise

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 13, 2016

Cream & Sugar

Having found myself on the Westside after being stiffed by some “mericans” I took solace in taking the slow way home via Sullivant Ave. Many people in this city have never traveled the full length of this west side byway. It seems like every block tells a story: Westgate, immigrant communities, working class folk and a few down on their luck. There are also more than a handful of taco trucks (including the best in the city – Los Guachos), independent hot dog and pizza shops and at least a couple soft serve ice cream spots. For some, a trip down this road is eye-opening, showing them a Columbus and an America they did not think exists. We certainly do not see much in the media about this strip of the city. I have spent a lot of time in the area and I have a respect for it that goes beyond a meal I had noticed it a few times doing taco truck runs over the last year but never had the time or the appetite needed to do a good research run. I’m glad I dropped in. I might have a pretty big crush on Cream & Sugar.

The first good sign happened as I pulled into the parking lot – I spied a police cruiser. I asked two of Columbus’ Finest what was good and they both said – Coney Dog!! In the voice of George Bailey I said HOT DOG! I’m always looking for a good hot dog spot so thinking I was just going to get some soft serve, I was happy to have a bonus. Walking up to the order window, I quickly found myself overwhelmed with choices. Let’s start with food. They do indeed have coney dogs, served with sauce make by local hot dog singer Phillips Coney Island. I tried one and would have a hard time telling this from the original in a blind tasting. Score one for Cream & Sugar. Roots Poultry in Fremont Ohio is well-known in that part of the state for their shredded chicken which is featured in sandwich form here. I tried one of these as well and also found it to be simple but good sandwich. A bun and finely shredded chicken, that was it and that was all they needed. Score two for Cream & Sugar. Other food items not tried but I found intriguing included a BBQ Pork sandwich, homemade cole slaw and a wide variety of Ballreich’s chips (also from Northwest Ohio).

Moving to the other side of the menu, they offered much more than soft serve dairy product including: giant Freezies Popsicles, sundaes, multiple type of cones, Stauf’s Coffee, and additional options I could not count on two hands. I opted for a simple kid’s size vanilla and chocolate twist cone. I may be a bit of an ice cream snob, but I always get excited about a good twist cone (the best in the state is at Dairy Depot in Delaware). I was pleased as I could be with this simple dairy treat. Also of note, Cream & Sugar is a site for Suspended Coffees where guest have an option to pay it forward by buying a pre paid coffee (or other food) for someone who has need for it. That is a nice offering for a small -> small business.

Cream & Sugar
2185 Sullivant Ave
West Side

Cream & Sugar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Yellow Brick Pizza and the Old Towne East Eating Intersection

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 10, 2016

Welcome to Olde Town

Checking over my list of favorite pizza places, I noticed I had not written about Yellow Brick Pizza. My apologies. Yellow Brick is an Old Towne East Icon part of the Oak Street Boom, which unfortunately has not spread farther out. Opening in 2009, the place quickly established itself as a hot spot with good pizza and a craft beer collection with depth and breadth. The pizza is described as East Coat style with Rhode Island influences since one of the owners worked in a few Rhode Island pizza shops. The dough is hand stretched with a medium thickness to the crust and a signature thick dough ring. For the non-traditional eater in your life, Yellow Brick offers plenty of gluten and vegan friendly options for pizzas including gluten-free crust, vegan cheese and Textured Vegetable Protein sausage. Wondering about Rhode Island Red Sauce? It is featured on a few of the pizza options to give the sauce a bit of heat and kick. The specialty pizzas offer a wide variety of combinations many of which stretch the genre of traditional pizza toppings to great effect.

Yellow Brick Slice

Most pizza places offer a few mundane salads as an afterthought, not the case for Yellow Brick, I have found each of their salads to be exceptional. My favorite salad there and probably my favorite salad in Columbus is described below.

Kale Salad

All of the ingredients in this salad compliment and contrast well with each other providing a mix for flavors, textures and crunchiness. The red peppers in the salad are not just slices that have a bit of marinated flavor as well. Even my bean avoidant wife was happy to gobble down a few bites.

Add in some Arcade Super Awesome upstairs in the evening for extra distraction and Yellow Brick is well worth a planned night out on the town.

Yellow Brick Info

Yellow Brick Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Speaking of town, this block on Oak Street in Old Towne is a mini entertainment district. Starting with the business that started things off – one of my favorite spots Angry Baker

Angry Baker

Old Towne Tavern also offers good food and selection of local and regional craft beers.

Old Town Tavern

And perhaps a new location will mean a bit of a rebirth for Camelot Cellars and an option for non beer drinkers on the block.


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