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.
Servers, arms laden with tacos, burritos, and fajitas, pass through rounded colonial doorways en route to Zapata's Grill colorfully decorated tables, which are adorned with bright folk art inspired by the founder's roots in Jalisco, Mexico. Images of orange suns cast a cheery glow on authentic Mexican fare such as grilled steak, sautéed seafood, slow-cooked pork, and fresh vegetables, and green cacti painted on seatbacks try to nab a stray chili relleno with their thorns. Bartenders blend margaritas by the goblet and pitcher, pour cocktails conceived south of the border, and fill frosty glasses with domestic and imported brews.
Butch's dedicated chefs build each of their Italian dishes from scratch, flavoring meats and pastas with sauces and dressings made fresh daily. They crown breaded chicken parmigiana with marinara, mozzarella, and grilled mushrooms, and they ladle crimson meat sauce over penne with grilled shrimp. In the dining room, marigold walls surround tables weighed down by thick cuts of lasagna, and a shiny, mocha-hued floor yields a mirrored reflection.
Recently featured on the Food Network, Das KaffeeHaüs von Frau Burkhart's pastry chef bakes German confections to complement italian coffee. Pressed from air-roasted beans that have never touched metal, daily blends of Danesi drip coffee thrill the senses with a tonic as dark and heady as a Sherlock Holmes tale. The glass case showcases trays of cream puffs spilling clouds of filling, crisp strudel wrapping gooey jam, and ranks of bavarian donuts distinguishing themselves with caps of powdered sugar and chocolate. Baristas promote a lively, social atmosphere by hosting events, such as quarterly techno dance parties and nights when folks from Sunny Side Childcare entertain kids so parents may relive their adolescence by babysitting someone else's offspring.
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, sautéed 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.