At Knead—named Best New Restaurant 2010 by Columbus Monthly—the cooks toss salads with lettuce just plucked from the ground and fry eggs straight from the farm. Valuing farm-fresh ingredients, husband-and-wife team Krista and Chef Rick Lopez based their diner-style eatery's menu on ingredients available in Ohio. Rick and his team rotate in selections of sandwiches depending on the ingredients available from their area suppliers, which include local and specialty farmers and vendors and the nearby North Market. Year-round offerings include Grandwiches, which are embraced by house-baked bread and stuffed with locally procured morsels, such as pork shoulder and ham in the Cuban-OH and hormone-free beef and house-cured bacon in the KneaDaBurger.
The restaurant's commitment to local ingredients extends to its specialty drinks and desserts, all of which are made in-house. The sweet selections include oatmeal cream pie—made with from-scratch oatmeal cookies—and cork-size double-chocolate brownie bites, which give nibblers a sugar rush just long enough to say "cork-size double-chocolate brownie bites" three times fast.
Breakfast is served all day long at DK Diner, where guests choose from a variety of housemade eats. Forks slice right through light and fluffy pancakes, and french toast made with texas toast satisfy morning cravings better than a croissant doused in barbecue sauce. Customers flock to the painted brick eatery for the house-special donuts and can even order a burger with the bun subbed with a sweet round treat. For lunch and dinner, sandwiches are served with kitchen-crafted chips, and guests can take their plates in the comfortable home restaurant or be served on the sunny patio out back.
Chef Rima had a lot of luck with the homestyle recipes at her restaurant The Porch. So when an opportunity came up to expand, she took a cue from Hollywood executives and created a spinoff restaurant, Rima's Diner. The diner has a 1950s feel, with photos of Elvis and Marilyn looking over guests as they dig into plates of crusty chicken pot pie or country-fried pork tenderloins. Her desserts are just as traditional. She decorates german-chocolate, strawberry, and coconut cakes with simple yet beautiful layers of creamy frosting and slices of fresh fruit. When the sun is out, guests can take their fare to the outdoor patio to enjoy the sunshine and be better informed when talking to strangers about the weather.
When perched on a cushy high-rise seat inside the retro environs of Cindy's Diner, one will likely encounter owner John Scheele as he darts about the kitchen, whipping up hearty home-style dishes lauded by reporters from News Sentinel. He sets down simmering plates of farm-fresh eggs, stacks of hot cakes, and thick sandwiches on the bright red and chrome bar, taking time to greet new faces and exchange new jokes with the regulars. When the skilled cook gets an order for his signature "garbage" breakfast, he cracks open eggs before mixing in potatoes, cheese, onions, and ham. He also creates fresh donuts using an old-fashioned machine, icing the warm morsels in strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate.
John keeps his establishment a family affair with his wife Cindy, along with their three children and 20 grandchildren, who can often be spotted serving plates of all-day breakfast and refilling mugs of coffee. Rustic jukeboxes rest on the countertop, showcasing a selection of old-timey tunes, such as "Seven Spanish Angels" and "There's No Such Thing as a Cordless Telephone".