Taylor Hackett knows a thing or two about feeding a crowd. The head chef of Simply Gourmet Catering spends her days preparing light hors d'oeuvres, deli sandwiches, salads, and hearty entrees for groups of 8–16 people at small special events such as baby showers and birthdays. She draws from across the culinary spectrum, whipping up pastas such as vegetable lasagna and baked ziti with gouda, as well as more than five types of sandwiches, including a turkey and cheddar wrap, muffuletta, and BLT. She’ll even work around food allergies or dietary restrictions, preparing vegetarian and gluten-free selections upon request.
Chef Chuck Crawford channels his 20 years of culinary experience when crafting his seasonal steak-house cuisine, casting a new spin on classic favorites with his native East Coast flair and southwestern influence. Within the landmark eatery—The Rusty Nail has been serving up juicy steaks since 1967—he tops tender filet mignon with tangy blue-cheese butter, sears flaky seafood fillets, and whips up daily soups.
As guests sidle up to a rustic, octagonal wood bar and dip bread into house-infused oil and butter, bartenders shake up gin martinis and pour global wines and seasonal draft beers. Wait staff bring dishes to tables on the outdoor patio or serves them inside, where a wood-burning fireplace offers a convenient way to thaw cold bodies during Ohio winters. On select nights, The Rusty Nail hosts live entertainment, car and bike cruises, and karaoke.
In an effort to find a healthy alternative to fast food without sacrificing speediness, the creators of Pita Pit began assembling their signature sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. At each location, thin, Lebanese-style pitas encircle lean, grilled meats and fresh veggies. Sandwich selections span the spectrum from gyro meat and falafel to turkey and prime rib. The staff empowers customers to make healthy choices by displaying nutrition information for each bread, meat, and post-meal toothpick and corralling a selection of healthy sandwiches, which dining companions can wash down with fruit smoothies.
The sandwich artisans at Franklin Square Deli have been assembling fresh cut-to-order deli delights for more than 27 years. The shop adorns its slate of 14 vinegary, full-loaf Italian subs with such savory meat-and-cheese combos as corned beef and swiss ($4.50 for a 6") or prosciutto and muenster ($5.90 for a 6"). A roundup of hearty gourmet and bagel sandwiches satisfies stacking enthusiasts with options such as the Mid Town, piled with turkey breast ($7.15), or Carl's Favorite bagel, a hubris-rich collection of capocollo, provolone, onions, and cream cheese wedged between a toasted onion bagel ($6.10). Thirsty diners grease gullets with soft drinks (starting at $1.45) or bowls of homemade chili.
A railroad-themed eatery in a refurbished train depot where canoes and stagecoaches hang from the ceiling, The Pufferbelly Ltd. serves hearty American fare such as smoked St. Louis–style ribs and reubens made of corned beef or sautéed grouper. For Sunday brunch, cooks build a sprawling buffet from housemade muffins, eggs benedict, and crispy, made-to-order waffles. As festive as a piñata stuffed with birthday cakes, friendly staffers throw seasonal parties galore, from breezy autumn clam bakes to vibrant Mardi Gras fetes.