Banana Leaf fills its dining room with platefuls of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free Indian meals cooked with fresh spices ground in-house. The juices from 16 curry dishes and seven rice specialties can be mopped from the plate with 10 different Indian breads and washed down with lassi drinks. Banana Leaf’s catering services, which serve small gatherings to weddings with more than 1,000 guests, both please party hosts and literally sustain festive homemakers stuck in a web of their own decorations.
Every pizza at zpizza is freshly prepared, hand thrown, gently coaxed into the oven using soft birdcalls and pheromone trails, and fire-baked to crispy perfection. The dough is prepared fresh daily from 100% certified-organic wheat, and z is also happy to offer certified organic and gluten-free crusts, sating the pizza desire of the allergic, dieters, and wheat sympathizers. Toppings include award-winning Wisconsin skim mozzarella, MSG-free pepperoni, certified-organic tomato sauce, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Try a large ZBQ pizza (with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, barbecue chicken, roasted pepper, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and sweet corn ($16.95); or a chicken curry and yam rustica (with mozzarella, curry chicken, yam, mango chutney, raisin, and cilantro; $8.95). Vegans can delight in a small Berkeley, a vegan cheese veggie pizza (with marinara, vegan cheese, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomato, mushroom, red onion, and bell pepper; $11.50), and traveling tongues can sate their wanderlust with a mouthwatering Moroccan rustica (with pesto, mozzarella, basil, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onion, and pine nut ($8.95).
Explorers Club's cozy, 100-year-old brick exterior lends a deceptively comfortable face to the restaurant's constantly experimenting kitchen. Owner Tracy Studer and Chef Dan Varga—both veterans of the late Harold Smith's Gloria Café—root their eatery's fare in playfully updated Latin American food such as chorizo sliders and plantain-topped burgers. Yet, Varga constantly flexes his culinary muscles with unusual menu additions such as his chili-citrus-flavored vegetable lo mein. Monthly menus jet around the globe—614 Magazine notes that after deciding on "a country or cuisine, [Varga] spends months researching the ingredients, history, and flavor profiles, and then experimenting in the kitchen," turning out tributes to Germany, Spain, and his ancestral Hungary. An impressive range of vegan and vegetarian options makes use of soy-based tempeh and tofu, catering to animal-loving humans and self-hating venus flytraps.
In the midst of invigorating cappuccino-colored walls, bold original artwork, and mirrors filled with smiling reflections, Phia Salon, an Aveda Lifestyle Salon, infuses hairs and pores with pure flower essences and plant-based botanical products. Four levels of talent are available to tackle every service, from an extensive list of cut and color services to hair extensions, waxing, and skin care. Each of their cut and color services is accompanied by a stress-relieving sensory experience that ranges from a mini facial to a soothing hand-and-arm massage.
Phia Salon extends Aveda's commitment to natural products and the environment to its own salon with eco-friendly business practices, such as constantly monitoring and recycling waste and using phosphate-free soaps. The salon’s cork floors are sustainably harvested and surrounded by eco-friendly paint on the walls, and the organic milk used in coffee and tea comes from local, grass-fed cattle who carpool to work.
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.
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.