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.
Since 1985, Alex's Bistro on Reed has charmed diners with its seasonal take on American and European classics. These days, under the leadership of German-born and -trained chef Daniel Kern, the bistro's menu narrows its focus to French and Italian flavors. Using natural meats and sustainable seafood, Daniel pairs 8-ounce filet mignons with blue cheese potatoes and crowns risotto with a full pound of Maine lobster. Both dishes, like a bulk of Daniel's menu, are gluten free, and several other courses can be prepared without gluten. Whether gluten free or full, all feasts unfold within a spacious dining room rendered intimate with soft, romantic lighting.
Craig and Laura Decker seem to have a difficult time making up their minds. They also seem to have a knack for turning this indecisiveness into an advantage at every turn. When it came to opening their new business, for example, they briefly wondered whether it should feature a wine shop, a wine bar, or a gourmet bistro. Their solution? All three.
This spirit of inclusivity pervades The Wine Guy Bistro, where the Deckers pair seasonal wine varietals with globally inspired cuisine. Rather than choose between European elegance and New-American pizzazz, they settled on a compromise they describe as “Old World chic.” This label suits a menu that features small plates of housemade meatballs and bruschetta alongside assorted cheeses from around the world. The focus on small plates is in keeping with the Deckers’ have-it-all mentality and gives diners the option to sample several dishes without having to barter with adjacent tables.
For generations, the Pfeifer family tilled the soil—originally tending to the land as Midwestern farmers after the Civil War. Even though the family eventually traded in the farm, these agricultural roots still run deep. At Hidden Lakes Winery, they tap into this instinctual knowledge of fruits and cultivars to create a host of wines made from grapes sourced from around the United States. Glasses of light riesling or heady pinot noir in hand, guests often pair their sips with the onsite café’s bistro-style cuisine. There, the kitchen boasts a full menu of Tuscan-inspired appetizers, artisanal pizzas, entrees, and desserts.
At C'est Si Bon Cafe, crepe-makers take the delicate, ultra-thin French-style pancakes and fold them over both sweet and savory ingredients while patrons look on. The buttery pockets hold everything from roast beef, blue cheese, saut?ed mushrooms and onions, fresh arugula, and a bourbon sauce to Nutella, bananas, and pecans. The reviewer at Columbus Underground particularly loved the dessert crepes, calling the Banana "dynamite" and saying "its butter and brown sugar make the flavors blend into something akin to old-school dessert favorite, Bananas Foster."
C'est Si Bon Cafe's hand-scrawled chalkboard menu shows off the crepes, which can accommodate gluten-free diners. Staffers also assemble breakfast crepes.
American Bistro Fare | Critically Acclaimed Patio | Gluten-Free Menu | Weekend Brunch
Where to Sit: Though it fills up quickly, try snagging a spot on the patio, which Columbus Alive described as "a casually elegant and breezily fabulous food- and drink-fueled playground" and Columbus magazine simply called "breathtaking."
When to Go: Lindey's really gets hopping during its weekend brunch—held on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. During this time, regulars clamor for indulgent, yet affordable dishes, such as french toast stuffed with banana and cream cheese and crab cakes with eggs.
While You're Waiting
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Explore 32 rooms filled with bargain-priced books at The Book Loft of German Village (631 South Third Street), which is located in a pre–Civil War era building.
After: Settle in for a pint at The Old Mohawk (819 Mohawk Street), a historic pub that's been in the neighborhood since 1933.