According to a Columbus Alive article, Holy Smoke Barbecue owner Stan Riley is so dedicated to cooking his meats over freshly chopped wood that he has been known to haul tree trunks to the back of his restaurant and take an axe to them right there. He then puts the wood into his outside smokers. He told the magazine that the freshness of the wood was important because it determined the flavor of the smoked meats?the fresher the wood was, the more potent the flavor.
These flavorful meats include hand-carved brisket that has been in the smoker for more than 15 hours, St. Louis?style spare ribs, and smoked chicken. Signature sauces, such as spicy chipotle barbecue and sweet and smokey barbecue, finish them off. Customers can dine in a newly remodeled space complete with a full seating area and a bar.
At Medallen's Gyros & More, chefs with a devout love of Greek cuisine dish out classics such as gyros and Greek salads. Delectable blends of beef and lamb fill out pitas packed with veggies and signature tzatziki. Meanwhile, sandwiches pile combinations such as ham and cheese or vegetables atop soft breads, and housemade soups—including vegetable lentil and chicken lemon—make friends with salads and side orders of stuffed dolmades.
Warm, natural woods, terra cotta, wrought-iron fixtures, and exposed ceiling beams lend the upscale eatery an Old World charm studded with pops of contemporary green chairs, red lamp shades, and ethereal purple lights glowing above the bar. Overlooking scenic Big Walnut Creek and its surrounding park, the dining room is a romantic and comfortable spot for first dates that's free of the stuffy atmosphere and snooty waiters commonly associated with date-night fare. For an even better view and more intimate outing, hit the outdoor patio, where a fire pit casts flattering light and warm fuzzies on couples, old friends, and former P.E. teachers.
Painted with numbers and flanked by windows with blue shutters, the doors that line the interior of Mykonos Taverna resemble a charming view that one might stumble upon while visiting the restaurant’s eponymous Greek island. Owner and chef Christos Poulias wanted to give his guests an authentic experience, so he designed the interior of his restaurant to resemble an actual street in Mykonos. The effort to re-create the atmosphere of the island was so earnest that most of the decorations were packed up and, with Poseidon’s consent, shipped over from Mykonos itself.
The decor is not the only thing imported from Greece; a trunk of ancient family recipes made its way into Mykonos Taverna’s kitchen, and the chefs promptly revamped each dish to suit the restaurant’s modern, upscale feel. Among these are chicken souvlaki, gyros, spanakopita, and a recipe for lamb shanks directly from Athens. On Friday and Saturday nights, professional belly dancers complete the experience as they swivel their torsos, pop their hips left and right, and flash their legs through skirts made of warm pita.
Expert pie tossing and fresh ingredients catapult Romeo’s Pizza into the upper echelons of dough-centric fare. The menu's resident pizzas—ranging from 9-inch bundles of joy ($7.99+ plus $1.50/topping) to full-sheet behemoths ($24.99+ plus $4/topping) perfect for parties with enough space to compose an entire ode to a birthday boy or girl—can be custom-constructed with any combination of six sauces and more than 20 toppings. Patrons preferring demolition without construction can choose one of Romeo’s specialty pies, including Dante’s Peak, a mouth-wowing mountain of sausage, banana peppers, onions, tomatoes, and pepperoni ($15.99 for 12") that fearlessly scales the heights of flavor without recourse to sauce sherpas or pepperoni pack mules. Subs, wings, and crusty-gooey strombolis and calzones ($7.99) further douse the flames of hunger in savory sauces and cheese.