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  • Author: J.R. McMillan
Photos by Megan Leigh Barnard
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The King of Gyros

The oldest of four brothers, Yanni Chalkias wasn’t the first in his family to find his way into the restaurant business, but he was one of the youngest. Having immigrated to Cleveland from Greece just…

Photo by Tommy Feisel
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Tradish

Pizza is probably our most prolific and pervasive ethnic fare. But “pizza pie” hasn’t always been as American as apple pie. It was originally dismissed as immigrant food—and before the 1950s, Columbus was one of…

Photos by Megan Leigh Barnard

M.R. Ease

Back in 2005, when Johel Woodliff’s squad of Marines was guarding a bridge in Iraq, you’d think their supply of MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat) would be the last of their concerns. But you’d be wrong. “We’d…

Photo by Tommy Feisel
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Westside Wonkaville

What could be more American than ice cream—or more Columbus than unexpected combinations like Blackberry and Cheese, Goat Milk Caramel, or Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Sponge Cake? Ricardo Sandoval is the Westside’s own Willy Wonka, and Dulce…

Forged by Fire

First, forget everything you know about barbecue. It’s not because you’re wrong—it’s because barbecue is more than you probably think. It’s not just having the talent and patience to let food cook low and slow….

Freelancers Assemble!

What used to be the exclusive domain of cash-strapped startups is becoming increasingly common for micro-businesses and full-time freelancers. More than just cubicle farms for coding or mutual meeting spaces, the collective interaction of complementary…

Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard

Crowdfunded Cupcakes?

Startups are small by necessity. Banks are wary and borrowing is burdensome for businesses that don’t fit into the traditional boxes. Friends and family financing only goes so far, and venture capital comes with significant…

Three Courses

The secret is out. Quietly queried by market researchers and industry wonks as America’s test market, Columbus is losing its anonymity as the nation’s silent trendsetter. This celebrated stomping ground for artists and academics isn’t…

Side Gigs

Musicians are a mixed bag of misfits. That’s not intended as an insult—it’s actually the highest compliment. From open mic acoustic to street corner soul, musicians cross all socioeconomic strata and do what most only…

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Community Plates

Lunch is hardly the most inspiring meal of the day. It lacks the depth of dinner, the boldness of breakfast, and is often little more than a midday dividing line marked with another boring burger…

Second Helpings

Success is never satisfied — it’s always hungry. Somewhere between critical mass and escape velocity, every entrepreneur eventually finds the enviable opportunity to expand. But growing out (or up) isn’t always an option. That quaint…

Photographed by Maggie Holmgren

The Ties that Grind

Can something as simple as a cup of coffee really save the life of a child? Sisters Victoria Calderon Nunes and Virginia Nunes Gutierrez think so, and they’re ready to put their passions to the…

Photo by Rosa Cautela

Grilled Cheese for Grownups

This city’s sandwich scene seldom sides with nostalgia. From experimental to reckless, Columbus “carbovores” reward few endeavors more than a radical idea between two pieces of bread. But simple pleasures aren’t easily outgrown. “It’s the…

Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard

Hand to Mouth

Columbus is a working class town with a working class appetite, and no metaphor better embraces our close-to-the-bricks heritage than a meal that doesn’t require utensils. Sadly, some of our city’s unsung sandwiches are hiding…

Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard
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One Pit Wonders

Barbeque is easily maligned as the one-night stand of comfort food. Whether it’s slow and smoky or sticky and sweet—even when it’s not that good, it’s probably not that bad. But barbeque is also becoming…

Photo by Chris Casella
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Hog Heaven

It’s hard to take celebrity chefs seriously—the rub is right there in the title. They seem to be celebrities first, chefs as an afterthought. For every humble hero grinding it out in the kitchen, there’s…

Photo by Jodi Miller

Groceries, Upgraded

What’s bigger than a farmer’s market, better than a “big box,” but still smaller than a supermarket? A curious creation called the “curated grocery store.” No, these aren’t your parents’ grocery stores, with cereal selections…

Photo by Chris Casella

Ready for Launch

Down an unnamed alley, behind an unmarked door, a small team of Short North space travelers is building a ship to launch them into the great unknown—network television. Enter The Shazzbots, the quintessential Columbus kids…

Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard

Strip Mall Surprise

For adventurous eaters, Columbus holds its own when it comes to top-notch food trucks slinging what’s next in curbside cuisine. But in the waning days of winter, shivering on the sidewalk isn’t the only option…

Photo by J.R. McMillan

From Cowtown to Coffeetown

Americans are an odd lot with fierce loyalties. We’ve long been picky about our pizza—even hostile over hot dogs. But less than a generation ago, coffee became cultish. Back when Pike Place in Seattle was…

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