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.
Tee Jaye's founders began preparing homestyle meals in 1970, a venture that spawned a string of 24-hour diners stuffed with delicious country fare. An egg-centric medley of dishes graces the all-day breakfast menu, with options such as the barnyard buster ($5.10)—two biscuits, two eggs, and country fries wallowing in a puddle of Tee Jaye's famous sausage gravy—and the sunshine sandwich ($6.95), grilled sourdough trapped under stacks of cheddar, swiss, ham, scrambled eggs, and hash browns. Turn to the lunch-and-dinner menu to find the answer to the sphinx's riddle ("sweet tea") as well as a spread of classic country-kitchen eats, including the chicken-fried chicken ($8.25), homemade meatloaf and dressing ($7.75), and Granny's grandburger ($7.95), a half-pound beef patty served with fries and a choice of three toppings. A tot-thrilling kids' menu ($2.49/breakfast; $3.49/lunch and dinner) and a crisp collection of summer flatbreads ($6.95+) round out the restaurant's dining selections.
The Short Story Brasserie is the gastronomic brainchild of owner James Housteau and Executive Chef Robert Harrison, whose shared love for fine wine and European cuisine translates into this escapist’s paradise set along a picturesque country road in rural Ohio. Short Story's seasonal menu invokes the comforting pleasures of fine dining with fabled small plates such as the crispy macaroni and cheese, featuring luxurious lobster and black truffle ($14). Larger plates include the pan-roasted sea scallops with truffled cauliflower custard and lobster hollandaise ($25), whose gussied-up presentation impresses sea-worn Ishmaels and grizzled gourmands alike. Pair the scallops with a chardonnay ($8) or dangle dangerously from a cliff of libations with the No No Martini ($9), a harmonious medley of Grey Goose vodka, pear nectar, and ginger liqueur.
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.