After working at several of central Ohio's premier bakeries, Bryan Tyler decided that if he had his own, he would always prize high-quality ingredients over speed or corner-cutting for the sake of expansion. So, he did just that. At Tyler's Pizzeria & Bakery, he curates ingredients grown without the use of GMOs, herbicides, or pesticides from local purveyors such as Millersburg's Stutzman Farms and Wooster's Hartzler Family Dairy. In fact, come summer and fall, he even grows his own veggies and herbs in raised gardens outside the bakery without the help of the Jolly Green Giant.
These ingredients form the building blocks for a diverse menu of baked goods. In the morning, customers line up for cheese danishes and pumpkin turnovers; by afternoon, they're clamoring for pepperoni rolls and cornish pastys.
Bryan's kitchen is also home to a wood-burning oven, in which he prepares specialty pizzas. These, too, boast quality ingredients—hand-grated cheese, housemade tomato sauce, and organic-flour dough. Like the rest of his menu, the pies are both savory and sweet—the Oktoberfeast is topped with ham and sauerkraut and Grannie's cranapple dessert pizza is built upon cinnamon-roll filling.
Enjoy finger-licking barbecue year-round at Hickory House Restaurant in Reynoldsburg.
Drinks all around! Pair your dinner with a beverage from this restaurant's full bar.
Tots are more than welcome to dine with their parents at this restaurant.
Wifi is on the house at Hickory House Restaurant, so you can stay connected on your mobile device.
You'll find most people wearing their favorite T-shirt and pair of jeans, as casual dining is Hickory House Restaurant's style.
Or, take your grub to go.
Hosting a swanky shindig? Call up Hickory House Restaurant for their catering services.
Hickory House Restaurant provides easy access to an adjacent lot.
Cyclists are in luck. Hickory House Restaurant provides bike parking.
An average meal at Hickory House Restaurant will set you back about $30.
The restaurant's got you covered whether you're hungry for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but die-hard fans always opt for an evening meal.
If you are craving some tasty barbecue, make your way over to Hickory House Restaurant for finger-licking good eats.
So don't wait to try the slow-cooked and marinated deliciousness at Hickory House Restaurant. This tasty joint hits a homerun in barbecue.
For tasty American fare, head to Max and Erma's Restaurants for a sandwich and side.
The bar at this restaurant is fully stocked, so pair your meal with a glass of wine or beer.
Don't stay inside on a beautiful day! Come sit on the patio at Max and Erma's Restaurants and order great food.
Skip long waits and head to Max and Erma's Restaurants with your large group for easy seating.
Free wifi is available as well.
Catering makes it easier to organize any event, and Max and Erma's Restaurants will ensure that it is delicious.
No delivery needed. In and out for carryout.
Forget the hassle of street parking and head to Max and Erma's Restaurants for easy access to parking lots.
For those who prefer to travel by bike, Max and Erma's Restaurants is a great option due to its generous bike parking options.
A visit to Max and Erma's Restaurants will set you back less than $30 per person, so you can make it a regular part of your schedule.
The friendly staff at Max and Erma's Restaurants are ready and waiting to cook and serve your favorite American meal.
So what are you waiting for? Come see what the highly-rated American food at Max and Erma's Restaurants is all about.
Go beyond just beans and rice at El Portal, and fill up on Mexican food that delivers a star-studded performance (according to fans' out-of-this-world, lip-smacking reviews).
At El Portal, cautious eaters will appreciate the vegan, low-fat and gluten-free fare.
Youngsters don't need to sit out a trip to this restaurant — it's super family-friendly and perfect for little diners and their folks.
During the summer months, don't miss out on El Portal's outdoor patio seating.
Bring the El Portal's great food to your place.
For those in a hurry, the restaurant lets you take your meal or snack to go.
Tired of driving in circles? Head to El Portal for a bite to eat and find quick parking in the lot next door.
Store your bike at one of the many racks outside of El Portal.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served at El Portal, so come by whenever it fits your schedule.
Experience the flavorful traditions of Mexican cooking at the highly-rated El Portal.
So come on over to El Portal to get a taste of their delicious Mexican classics.
There's no better way to celebrate Taco Tuesday than at El Portal, so head on over today and chow down on some unique tacos.
The options are endless at Lantern Chinese Restaurant, a great Chinese spot in Blacklick's East Broad neighborhood.
Those with dietary needs will appreciate the vegan, gluten-free and low-fat meal options at Lantern Chinese Restaurant.
Whether you have something to celebrate or just need something to take the edge off, the drink menu at this restaurant won't disappoint.
Load up the mini-van and bring the kids to this restaurant — they'll love the menu and scene here as much as mom and dad.
Don't be afraid to enjoy your food on the go — this restaurant offers takeout for your busy schedule.
Love the food so much you want to serve it at your next soiree? No problem — Lantern Chinese Restaurant offers catering.
Lantern Chinese Restaurant is located near a parking lot, which many diners take advantage of.
A visit to Lantern Chinese Restaurant will set you back less than $30 per person, so you can make it a regular part of your schedule.
Lantern Chinese Restaurant has menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — just pick your favorite meal and head over.
Lantern Chinese Restaurant has all of the right Chinese eats to make your dinner delicious.
Fans of Vick's Gourmet Pizza make every night "pizza night" — reviews prove that this hub sells steaming slices of five-star bliss.
Feel satisfied but not stuffed with Vick's Gourmet Pizza's gluten-free and low-fat alternatives.
Save money on a sitter — kids are welcome to join the table at this pizzeria.
Take your meal to the next level on the patio at Vick's Gourmet Pizza.
This pizzeria offers convenient carryout and delivery, so diners aren't limited to the pizzeria space.
Endless parking options are readily available close to Vick's Gourmet Pizza.
Bicyclists will also find lots of space to safely lock up their bikes.
So who's hungry? The highly-acclaimed pizza at Vick's Gourmet Pizza is ready and waiting to be served.
High-quality pizza is waiting for you at Vick's Gourmet Pizza, so find out what all the fuss is about and get your hands on a cheesy slice of deliciousness.
So grab a group of friends and head to Vick's Gourmet Pizza, where you can relax in a casual setting while enjoying a delicious, handmade pizza.
Next time you're looking to indulge in America's favorite dish, call the team at Vick's Gourmet Pizza to help you out.
Siu mai: small pork dumplings. Each has a thin wrapper that needs to be delicately pleated by hand. Easily, they’re one of the most labor-intensive items at Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago, where each weekend this Chinese restaurant serves 80 different varieties of classic dim sum snacks.
This little fact about the siu mai is one of many surprising stories I learn from Eddy, the chef at Phoenix, where he also handles a million other tasks to keep the restaurant running smoothly. When I first came in, he was waving at a group of regulars while on the phone haggling with a seafood vendor.
“What we are serving in this restaurant is what we are eating in Hong Kong. ... It’s very typical,” Eddy says.
In 1996, Phoenix was one of the first restaurants to introduce dim sum to Chicago. Its customer base has grown over the years, and today, even with other dim sum restaurants up and down the block, you’ll find long lines winding out the door on any given Sunday.
Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
Here's our guide to dim-sum dining, with a few tips from Eddy.
On the weekend: order dim sum off a cart
On weekends and special holidays, the wait staff winds traditional dim sum carts around tables, lifting lids off stacked steamer baskets to reveal the enticing contents. Should you see something you like, they leave the basket on your table and put a checkmark on your bill (it’s tallied at the end).
Phoenix is one of the only dim-sum restaurants in Chicago that still uses these carts. When I ask Eddy why they keep them, he says “tradition.” Not only to impress the tourists who come in, but also to let Chinese-American customers share this bit of culture with their kids.
Hot tip: if you want to experience the pushcarts without the crowds, head over on a Saturday, which tends to be less busy than Sundays, Eddy says.
On a weekday: order dim sum off the menu
Cartless weekdays offer a quiet, more peaceful atmosphere for ordering off the paper menu, which you can find near the hostess stand. Don't be intimidated—the menu has pictures; it has numbers; it has names written in both Chinese and English. And best of all, you need only point to what you want to have it brought out from the kitchen.
So what should you get?
“Everyone has their favorites,” Eddy says. The most popular dishes with Westerners are ha gao (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings mentioned above). Kids gravitate toward the crunchy, easy-to-grip shrimp rolls and sweeter fare, from mango pudding (pictured above) to custard rolls.
Foreign travelers, especially those from Latin America, and adventurous eaters alike seem to love the chicken feet (pictured at bottom-right of top photo), a more exotic dish consisting of skin and tendons. While all these dishes are traditional, the chefs can tweak the recipes to accommodate for special diets or food allergies.
When diners are new to dim sum, Eddy encourages them to experiment. He’ll point out a few of the more popular dishes; if there’s something they don’t end up liking, it can easily be swapped out for something else. This way, by the second or third visit, diners will have a better idea of what they like.
And don't forget the tea
At dim sum, the tea is equally important to the food. Phoenix serves three different types: green tea, white tea, and brown tea. “Each one has its own usage,” Eddy says. While we talk, we drink jasmine tea, which is good for getting rid of toxins.
You can show your dim sum know-how by obeying proper tea etiquette. When your teapot is out of water, prop the lid off to the side. This signals to the wait staff that you need more hot water.
Eddy pours more tea and tells me to tap my fingers lightly against the table when the cup is nearly full. “When your friend or host fills your tea, this means ‘thank you’,” he says. “It’s part of the custom.”
Photos by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
I had no idea what to expect upon arriving at Elizabeth, the Michelin Star winner from Chef Iliana Regan. But an unmarked, unremarkable storefront between a tire shop and a sporting-goods store certainly wasn’t it. With few exceptions (Schwa, most notably), Chicago’s upper-echelon restaurants boast exteriors that match their illustrious River North and Restaurant Row addresses.
But as it turns out, Regan has no taste for that sort of superficial flash. She dons no chef’s whites. She displays no awards. She does not raise her voice to the Gordon Ramsay–level roar or even the Rachael Ray-ish rollick that TV cameras eat up.
Instead, this northwest Indiana native quietly built her reputation as someone who hunts for frogs and spears them herself. Someone who has suffered tick bites and poison-ivy rashes foraging for wild flora. Someone who has penned an essay on intensity for Lucky Peach and once themed an Elizabeth tasting menu after those violent and visceral A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
So yeah, I was kinda terrified to eat her food.
I’d never done a tasting menu before. And I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a picky eater, but I’m not a particularly adventurous one either, particularly when it comes to meat. (I can barely look at plated octopus without shivering.) I’d heard that Regan once served edible ants. Which are, like, bugs.
My nerves were calmed upon walking into Elizabeth, though. Austere yet charming, the whitewashed space was accented by light fixtures made from bare tree branches; dining chairs draped with faux-fur slipcovers; a chef’s counter armed with Elder Scrolls and Vikings Funko Pop! dolls. It was all in support of the season’s menu theme: vikings.
There were two options: land or sea. Or, as the first in a delightful succession of servers explained it, “Imagine a viking ship has reached the shore. One group goes on land to look for food, the other into the sea.” My friend Erin and I opted to order one of each to share and, despite my trepidation of certain meats, placed no restrictions on what we would eat. (You can arrange for some allergies and dietary needs in advance.) We wanted to go all in.
After the amuse-bouche—a surprisingly complex roasted whey carrot dressed with goat’s-milk cheese and edible flowers—came our first courses. The land dish was … a bowl of rocks. The server assured me the top “rock” was actually a baked potato coated in edible clay. But it was very convincing as a rock, so I bit in with trepidation. As Erin ate the rest, dipping it into the cheese and butter puddings it was served with, I forked into her langoustine with lingonberries. (Pro tip: don’t try to tear off the claw without looking. You will stab your finger on a spine.) So far, so very good.
As the servers continued to weave their culinary narrative, I realized there was an unmentioned character in their tale—Elizabeth itself. The restaurant is small, seating about 16 or so, and the kitchen is wide open. It was impossible not to get caught up in what was happening back there, particularly when sous chefs were wielding brûlée torches and “plating” on gorgeous pieces of handmade pottery. And the line between front and back of house was practically nonexistent. One moment, you’d see someone in the kitchen stirring and slicing; the next they’d be presenting your next course or clearing your table. (Chef Regan included.)
This created an unexpected intimacy, one that removed any hesitation when asking about a particular dish. It’s clear the teammates take a deep yet quiet pride in their collective work. They spoke warmly about where ingredients came from, excitedly about the preparation techniques used. They always used “we” or “our,” never “me” or “Chef Regan.” (Again, Chef Regan included.)
Over the next few courses, there were so many charms. An herb-rolled, soft-boiled quail egg served in an actual nest; impossibly chewy seaweed bread darkened by squid ink; a cauliflower-mushroom soup that Erin about died over. I was particularly fond of a course called Barnyard: headcheese dusted with beet powder, paired with a collage of root vegetables and flavored puddings reminiscent of something out of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.
And that’s the thing. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be fond of headcheese. I would have probably never eaten it if it weren’t for this meal. But it was fun to break out of my culinary comfort zone.
The other surprising thing? How full we were, considering it was a tasting menu. By the time we were served the entree courses—rare lamb medallions wrapped in swiss chard and pickled fish in a sauce of its own bones—we were taking deep breaths between bites. I’m pretty sure they were the only two plates we didn’t completely clean.
We managed to buck up for our “one-and-a-half” dessert courses, as the server put it. (The “half” was a palate-cleansing sorbet.) Our favorite was Under the Sea, a spongy coral-seaweed cake so realistic looking it prompted me to ask the server just how much of it we could eat. “All of it,” she said. We complied.
Maybe, as a writer, I’m just a sucker for a good story. But I was enchanted by Elizabeth, both in backstory and in not knowing what was coming next throughout the culinary adventure. And while I probably won’t be buying headcheese any time soon, I’m excited to see what Chef Regan has up her non-chef’s-whites sleeves next season.
Shop Chef Iliana Regan's tasting-menu experience at Elizabeth Restaurant:
Watch her explain her approach to fine dining:
As useful as WD40 and much more edible, coconut oil is a powerhouse. In fact, just one jar of the stuff can replace several household staples, from kitchen ingredients to baby wipes. Here’s how to substitute it for 16 total items in 3 rooms of the home:
1. Coffee: Coconut oil is a reputed energy booster. Swallowing a spoonful or two in the afternoon can be a healthful alternative to a cuppa.2. Coffee creamer: Emulsified and poured into coffee, it’s much tastier than (and probably just as nutritious as) that bulletproof stuff.3. Butter or oil (when sautéing): Coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it great for cooking on the stovetop, especially at high heat. Try swapping it in when making stir-fries, scrambled eggs, or pancakes, especially if you like a very mild coconut flavor.4. Oil (when baking): The oil imparts a delicious je ne sais quoi to baked goods—even boxed ones. Use it to give from-the-box brownies an upgrade, and you’ll dream about them for days.5. Condiments: Drop it into quinoa or oatmeal for added nutrients and healthy fats. You can also put it on top of sweet potatoes instead of butter!
6. Moisturizer: It works on your body and your face. It’s naturally SPF 4, so it offers a bit of protection from UV rays, too.7. Leave-in conditioner and anti-static agent: Rub a small amount between your hands and smooth them over your hair to control flyaways.8. Lip balm: It soothes sore, chapped lips, and other skin irritations.9. Eye-makeup remover: Rub it between your fingers until it liquefies, smear it on your lids, and wipe it off with a cotton pad.10. Face wash: Add a little water and rub it in your hands until it foams.11. Hand and foot cream: Massage it into cracked knuckles, or slather it onto your soles and stick them into socks for an overnight soak.12. Shaving cream: It’ll give you a smooth shave, plus additional moisture for your skin.
13. Ouchie ointment: Dab it on cuts and scrapes, which will benefit from its antimicrobial properties.14. Anti-itch cream: Coconut oil reduces itching from bug bites, and helps to calm sunburn, eczema, and cradle cap.15. Diaper cream: A layer on baby’s bottom guards against (and soothes) diaper rash flare-ups.16. Baby wipes: Simply mix it with hot water and pour it over a stack of paper towels that you’ve cut in half. Keep the towels in an airtight container so they stay moist.
Check out more coconut-oil coverage:
Oil Pulling Whitens Your Teeth and (Maybe) Makes You Invincible
The Five Best Uses for Coconut Oil You’ve Never Heard Of