Brady Konya and Ryan Lang aren't from Ohio, but they loved the area for its business-friendly community and rich natural resources, and decided Columbus was where they had to build their distillery. The duo's passion for the Midwest colors everything about Middle West Spirits, from the name down to the Ohio-grown soft red winter wheat in their whiskey and award-winning vodka, which they also infuse with honey and vanilla beans or stone fruit. Inside the distillery, which sprawls over 10,000 square feet of open air, Brady and Ryan craft these artisan OYO spirits—named after the original word for the Ohio River Valley, pronounced o-y-o—in 600-liter pot-and-column stills. Hand-built onsite by German craftsmen using copper, stainless steel, and bits of Saturn's rings, these stills earned Middle West Spirits a place on Popular Mechanics' 5 of the World's Most-High-Tech Distilleries list.
The Olive and The Grape's two locations celebrate the cuisine of the Mediterranean by packing shelves with vinegars and more than 30 olive and grape-seed oils from Spain, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, and many other countries. Other products include seasonings to flavor grill rubs, marinades, and salad dressings and more than 50 types of pasta. Staffers also load up carriers with an assortment of their highest-selling products, including aged pomegranate vinegar, grape-seed oil, and garlic-herb seasoning, along with suggested recipes and pet names for select items.
As a young Lebanese man living in Cincinnati, Andy Hajjar found himself longing for the tahini, mint, and feta flavors of his family’s home cooking. Once his mother and brother joined him in the US, the three of them decided to start a deli. Their corner establishment quickly burgeoned into an award-winning restaurant, Andy’s Mediterranean Grill, where they continue to share family recipes without asking relatives to adopt every diner first. Their talent with seasoning lamb—which they grind, chop, marinate, and even serve tartar, if a diner orders in advance—landed Andy on WCPO Channel 9, where he showed the audience how to make lamb burgers. When preparing skewers of charbroiled tenderloin, cilantro-flavored sea scallops, and flatbread pizzas, the kitchen also relies on fresh ingredients and house marinades. Diners can also sip dozens of beers or wines, including some from Lebanon, Israel, and Turkey, as they relish the old-fashioned coziness of a wood-burning stove and the modern joys of a flat-screen television. On weekend evenings, belly dancers appear, and on any evening guests can lounge on black-and-red striped cushions in the wood-paneled hookah room. The Hajjars also sell marinades, salad dressing, and Turkish coffees through Andy’s International Market, which helps customers stock the pantry in their own apartment, home, or sandcastle.
Ken Cappelletty and Fred Moor, the men who man Ken’s Flower Shops, didn’t grow up dreaming about buds and stems. Raised by a local policeman, Ken likely spent more time playing cops and robbers than sniffing the neighbor’s rosebushes. It wasn’t until he helmed the cash register at a neighborhood florist in L.A. that he discovered his knack for design. Here, he started to see flowers as more than just plants, viewing them as art supplies that happen to smell nice. When Ken returned to Ohio, his parents helped him launch a small shop that arranged blooms in the morning and delivered them in the afternoon. Two years later, in 1967, his friend Fred took some of the reins, helping him grow the business into three local stores affiliated with FTD and Teleflora. From this labor of love, a legacy began to take root. At each shop, seasoned designers incorporate customers’ requests into birthday bouquets, wedding corsages, and gift baskets filled with wine, house-baked cookies, and stuffed toys cute enough to melt hearts and plush enough to sop up the mess. Their talent and creativity takes center stage as well, whether they’re filling vases with orchids, crafting wreaths from roses, or building bouquets from singing balloons. To this day, Fred often answers the phones, discerning customers’ style preferences from friendly chats rather than pilfered diary pages. To make giving easy as getting, the shop’s wares can be delivered locally or internationally, seven days a week.
The workers at Patty's Old Fashioned Popcorn keep kernels bursting all day as they craft the shop's 10 gourmet flavors in a fun, nostalgic atmosphere. In addition to classics such as caramel, cheese, and kettle corn, Patty's team overflows decorative tins and double-parked jumbo jets with custom creations that include sweet cranberry delight and the rich cookies 'n' cream, laden with Oreos and white chocolate.