Photo by Chris Casella

Pop Goes the Restaurant

Tomos Mughan and Mike Gadd talk excitedly about the pop-up restaurants around the world they hope to emulate: on the roof of a still-being-built skyscraper, in an abandoned warehouse, on the subway…

Well, don’t expect them to put on a pop-up restaurant on a COTA line anytime soon, but in the future, once they build a community around their cuisine, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

Mughan and Gadd, the minds behind Bolsanada, are trying to bring some of New York and Chicago’s underground pop-up dining scene to Central Ohio, one empanada at a time.

“Our Empanadas aren’t traditional at all,” said Mughan. “That’s why we call them globally inspired. It’s all the cuisines that [Gadd] has picked up throughout his cooking career, fused.”

Their first pop-up restaurant will take place in the produce section at The Hills Market’s downtown location. Drool-inducing menu items like a chocolate-espresso dusted local grass-fed ribeye served with triple cooked french fries, topped with cambozola foam and a Belgian quad glaze, will each be paired with locally-brewed beer from Seventh Son Brewing, Homestead Beer and others. Many of the dishes from the pop-up are takes on classic dishes; that ribeye is a take on “steak and potatoes.”

“Every culture has a pocket of dough filled with food,” Gadd said. “I can take any dish that I would plate normally and change it in a way that it can be a filling for an empanada.”

Prior to the pop-up concept, Bolsanada has been popping up inside That Food Truck’s food truck and at a few events around Columbus like Independents’ Day. They’ve recently partnered with Eat Well, the food distributor that ships out Jeni’s ice cream, Harvest pizza and Brezel pretzels to get their empanadas in area stores – look for them in late March. Bolsanada is also finalizing plans for a more permanent space.

Their pop-ups, however, will be extremely impermanent; while some places call their occasionally operational kitchens a “pop-up” (the former White Rabbit at Double Happiness, Hoff-ZA at Zauber Brewing Co.), Bolsanada’s quarterly tasting-menu style pop-up restaurants will not stay in the same place for long.

“A pop-up, for me, is there for 1-2 days, and then it’s gone,” said Gadd. “It may be in that location again, but not regularly. It pops up, then it disappears.”

“That’s what we love about pop-ups, is that you’re not tied down to anything,” said Mughan. “You’re not tied down to a menu, you’re not tied down to a location. Everything is up to you. It can be there and gone.” •

The Hills Market popup will take place March 6 and 7 from 7 – 9 p.m. Tickets are available and can be purchased online via Eventbrite. The ticket link, as well as information on future popups, is available on Bolsanada’s Facebook



Cheryl is way too into craft beer, sci-fi and board games. In addition to writing for (614), she is the editor of Columbus’ online source for booze news, Cheryl has been voted one of the top three bloggers in Columbus by the readers of (614) Magazine for the past four years. (Despite writing for the magazine, she swears she did not rig the vote.)