Last Call: Alana’s

Before pairings were a thing, this one was.

For the last six years WCBE Radio and Alana’s Food & Wine have collaborated on a series of happy hours, a simple set of dinners with proceeds benefitting the station. In that time these casual affairs comprised of open air jazz, eclectic finger food, and bespoke beverages have taken on an acutely symmetrical quality. Alana’s and WCBE have proved a match-made-in-Columbus, what with each organizations’ propensity for lovingly-local quirks and peccadillos. This month saw the last of such gatherings as the oft-remarked upon restaurant prepares to close its doors. For her part, owner and chef Alana Shock says that the Clintonville landmark and perennial “best of” candidate will stay open, “at least until the right buyer shows up.”

Still, we had to be there.

A faint but palpable pall was cast over this final fete-a-fundraiser for the popular alt-public radio station, as long-time supporters of both institutions reminisced about fond memories of one or the other. Even Alana, in a crisp white coat, trademark sheriff’s badge, and a bright orange toque, was heard to remark the story of “rescuing” the restaurant’s bar, which, according to her originated at the storied Jai Lai, “then to Little Brothers, then to my garage. I finally busted a hole in my own wall to get it installed!” Like I said, quirks and peccadillos.

Guests this evening enjoyed a spread of unpretentious appetizers like Chipotle Flank Steak Roulade and Watermelon Salad with Mexican Lime and Salt. Fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced, the small plates are endemic of the culinary philosophy that has made Alana’s a favorite destination of Columbus diners for years.

The night and the band wore on until the sun began to set over High Street, shafts of early autumn light, orange and glinting, bending sideways through a bough burdened with late summer leaves, its setting begging the question: When would the chef with the badge pinned to her breast ride off into that that setting sun, seeking greener pastures?

Pull up a seat while you can, Columbus.