Downtowner Bawe Shinholster is a busy man — especially when I spoke to him just after Jeff Ruby’s Walnut Street Grille opened for lunch. The Grille, which has been hugely successful with dinnertime guests, opened to a pent-up crowd of lunchsters who couldn’t wait to try the new sandwiches, sides, and salads.
Anyone who reads CityBeat’s dining section knows that we try not to cheerlead for restaurants unless they truly deserve it. We’re honest in our assessments, and that’s what gives our dining section credibility. One thing that’s part of our dining coverage’s philosophy, though, especially under my watch, is that we lean towards local. There are so many great locally owned and operated restaurants here in our fair city that I don’t need to encourage you to spend your dining dollars at big chains.
May is all about Mom! They both start with M, right? If you are a mom, then you can say May is “all about me!” Taking your mama out for a Mother’s Day meal is a common way to celebrate, but with so many options, it can be hard to choose. As always, I’m here to help.
The dining scene in the Gateway District is getting better all the time. Senate is a huge hit and the owners are opening a second destination next door. A Tavola Pizza is opening any day now, and I’ve heard rumors of more plans in the works. Lavomatic Café put the first fork on the neighborhood’s table and they haven’t lost their luster.
Did you even know that there was a café at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center? Neither did Jean Francois Flechet until he had a chance to propose opening a satellite site of his Belgian waffle empire there. Well, maybe Taste of Belgium hasn’t reached empire status, but it’s certainly growing in local impact.
It’s April, and my thoughts have turned to cake. Now, mind you, I am not talking about just any cake. There are a lot of cakes in the world that I wouldn’t waste a calorie on. Bad grocery-store cake with super-sugary icing is nasty. It should never be served at home and is acceptable only at office birthday parties when you dislike the people you work with. If you like your co-workers even a little bit and have to have a store-bought treat, get donuts.
David Taylor’s tastes range from the international to the simplest of comfort food. His home cooking is mostly one-dish suppers made in his grandmother’s cast-iron fried chicken pan. His meals at La Poste are also straight from the heart — honest food like pork shank with white beans and kale.
People who hate surprises, rejoice! I have good news. You may now come downtown, park your car and enjoy dinner and a show at the Aronoff and a very nearby eatery. Jeff Ruby has opened a new place that is custom tailored for you — the Walnut Street Grill. There are no bad surprises here. Nothing unfamiliar. These are upscaled (ever so slightly) versions of dishes you’ll find in most familiar casual restaurants.
No one is happier to see signs of spring than locavore chef Julie Francis, chef and owner of Nectar. She’s anticipating the growing season the way most of us wait for Santa Claus, with visions of sugar snap peas dancing through her head.
Carla and Joe’s family-owned restaurant has always been a safe haven on Vine Street. Even during the riots 10 years ago, the property remained virtually untouched. It’s always been an inclusive place, where the Tuckers welcomed the entire community to enjoy Joe’s crisp hash browns, overstuffed omelets and towering, tartar-sauce-topped burgers. That’s why “what happened” was such a shock.