The owners of Brezel say the popularity of their creations will lead them to a professional kitchen.

About a year ago, Brittany Baum and Maria Gentile took about three dozen of their artisan pretzels and 50 twists to the Clintonville Farmers Market.

Within an hour, they were sold out.

The following week, same deal.

"Every time we would make more but we'd always sell out," Baum said.

It was official: Their product was popular and they intended to take it to new heights. A year later, the Brezel pretzel company is cranking out knotted Bavarian goodies soft, dense and dusted with kosher salt and looking for a permanent location in the German Village area.

Brezel, the German word for pretzel, got its start about 18 months ago. Baum and Gentile met while they were working together for the state Department of Job and Family Services. Baum, who had been to Germany several times, would sup on dense, yeasty pretzels, but was unable to find them in Columbus.

"I'm a vegetarian so it was very hard to find traditional food I could eat," she said. "Honestly a pretzel and Diet Coke is what I had every day."

Experimentation with yeast, flour, salt, brown sugar and water led to a pretty good nosh, so the women think. Their pretzels are carried by three local establishments R Bar, Hal & Al's and Rad Dog, a vegan food cart downtown. They also are on the summer farmers market circuit and are regulars at the Clintonville market, where they have a booth in front of Global Gallery. Their next visit is schedule for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 19.

The half-pound pretzels are $4 for the original flavor and $4.50 for designer options.

Now, the women are making about 60 batches, or 360 pretzels, a week at their homes Gentile in Clintonville and Baum in Merion Village. Ohio law permits home-food manufacturing for small producers who make nonperishable items, Baum said. But their goal is to move into a store with a professional kitchen, where they can triple their production. They also plan to expand the product line to include such items as calzones, stuffed pretzels, sweet items and dipping sauces, and use local fruits and vegetables whenever possible.

For now, their snacks are vegan but they are going to try to cast a wider net when they open a storefront.

"Everyone needs a pretzel," Gentile said.

Special orders are accepted at the company's web site www.brezelpower.com.


Maanas, the latest large-scale Indian eatery to open in recent weeks in central Ohio, could very well have the largest lunch buffet. There are 15 entrees under shiny, silver-domed serving vessels, plus breads, fruit, desserts and condiments.

A few if the offerings: Gobi manchurian, tandoori chicken, goat curry and Hyderabadi chicken dhun biryani. All meat is halal. Olive oil, not ghee (or clarified butter) is used in all dishes, except those that are deep-fried, making most of the menu vegan-friendly, said Manoj Rajak, who has 20 years in the restaurant business and is consulting for brothers Suren and Krishna Reddy, who own the place.

The restaurant is at 1335 Cameron Ave., just off Powell Road in Lewis Center. The main dining room seats 125, while a separate banquet area seats 75. A la carte dining is available in the evenings.
Maanas is open for lunch and dinner daily, and has a full liquor license. For more information, call 614-434-6464.


I love Sushi is a small Japanese outpost in the sprawling AZN Gourmet restaurant in theKarric Squareshopping center on the Northwest Side.

Aside from all the raw and cooked rolls and nigiri one might expect from a sushi restaurant, there's also an assortment of other dishes, such as tempura, gyoza, miso soup and such.

AZN owner Marie Kang said she's trying to broaden the appeal of the restaurant, known for its mostly Chinese buffet and a la carte menu. In about a month, she will add many Korean specialties, such as bulgogi, kalbi and bibimbap.

The restaurant, 5891 Karric Square Drive, is open daily for lunch and dinner.