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.
Bottles of spirits line the wooden shelves of Muldoon's Saloon & Eatery dimly lit bar, illuminated by the glow of television sets overhead. The neighborhood joint has been watering locals for nearly three decades, and continues to attract both familiar faces and new clientele with more than 100 bottled beers, seasonal drafts, and freshly brewed Irish coffee. The cups that speckle the bars and booth tabletops pair with hearty steak burgers, seafood, and barbeque, along with Irish favorites such as corned beef, fish and chips, and an edible Gaelic football.
The independently-owned Mayday offers a variety of unique burgers, made from turkey, black bean, or beef patties with toppings such as Korea-style kimchi and cilantro chili sauce. Patrons pair the burgers with oven-baked fries and draft beer at this hub of the Northside neighborhood, along with trivia, comedy, and live rock and roll, and a two-tiered patio provides a fun atmosphere for the whole family.
The boldness of burgers isn't all Mayday specializes in, however. The subtle flavors of fine whiskey and charcuterie reward more ambitious palates, while a full array of hotdogs?served on homemade pretzel buns?add an upscale spin to comfort food. To top it off, customers can add a fried egg to anything on the menu, just like when we were kids, frying eggs on the sidewalk to top off our summer ice cream cones.
South End Grille?s chefs hand cut white-chicken tenderloins into specialty chicken balls. They may be covered in a Hawaiian glaze and smothered in melted cheddar cheese, among nine styles. The grill's handhelds include nacho-cheese-blanketed burgers and pizzas topped with mashed potatoes, sour cream, and bacon. Chefs also mix up a dozen signature sauces to slather atop their popular breaded and fried chicken wings. And on Friday nights, patrons can relax on the outdoor patio while being entertained by live musicians.
Once a ramshackle ice-cream store with a loyal Akron following, today Zack's Fire and Ice serves barbecue along with its cones with help from new owner and former pastor Randy Stewart and his wife, Kathy. The Stewarts have lived in the Southwest and up and down the East Coast, so rather than adhere strictly to any one regional barbecue style, they synthesize their favorite elements from a number of traditions to create an eatery with the welcoming spirit of a backyard cookout. The kitchen slow smokes brisket, ribs, pork, and turkey breast and slathers them with sauces such as honey and apple bourbon. Frozen treats such as sorbet and frozen yogurt stay chilly at the ice-cream counter alongside hard-packed ice cream in flavors such as pumpkin pecan, oatmeal cookie, and Superman, designed to freeze enemies’ brains faster than a speeding bullet.
The pit master at World Bar-B-Que works hard slow-cooking Carolina-style pulled pork, Texas brisket, and St. Louis–style pork ribs, imbuing each meat with distinctive barbecue bark and deep, smoky flavors. After the cuts have smoked for 6–15 hours, diners take over with finishing touches, adorning their choice of meats with sauces such as sweet-and-spicy blackberry habanero and classic sides such as potato salad and baked beans. They can also forge everything from smoked and beer-soaked burgers to authentic Cuban sandwiches.
On certain nights, patrons can finish off meaty cuts and showcase their singing chops with open-mic and karaoke sessions. The generous eatery also sets aside one day a week for a "World Invasion"—a chance for local groups, charitable organizations, or extraterrestrial barbecue-reconnaissance parties to take over the restaurant and receive a portion of the evening's sales.