Carlos Nonatos opens Taqueria Los Gauchos on Godown Road.

Carlos Nonato is part of the vibrant taco-truck culture on the West Side.

The business, understandably, is weather dependent. And, naturally, the elements take their toll on even the sturdiest of operators, he said.

"Outside is hard - the cold, rain," he said.

And while he's not trading in his mobile stand on Sullivant Avenue, Nonato has opened a permanent restaurant, Taqueria Los Gauchos, at 5221 Godown Road on the Northwest Side. The laidback eatery offers counter-order service. Alcohol is not sold.

The main attraction is the al pastor thinly sliced pork piled on a skewer and cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The pork is sliced and quickly grilled. In the Mexican tradition, it is placed on a corn tortilla (flour is another option) with cilantro and chopped onion. There are other taco fillings, as well as other entre choices, such as burritos, quesadillas, fajitas and such.

Of course, house-made salsa is served on the side. Nonato said he doesn't hold back the heat with his signature choice, made of habanero peppers. Even the next level, salsa rojo, is spicy, while the guacamole is mild.

Taqueria Los Gauchos (pronounced wah-chos), is open for lunch and dinner daily. For more information, call 614-538-0211.

Dough slinger Patrick Miller has taken over the Flying Pizza on Bethel Road.

The restaurant, which has been closed for several weeks, will reopen tomorrow after a renovation project.

Known as "Pizza Patt" in the pie-tossing community, Miller said the recipe is the same but the topping options have expanded to include bacon, ham, pineapple, jalapenos and such, plus the addition of white-sauce pizzas.

Miller bought the Flying Pizza on OSU campus two years ago from Joe Graci, who retired. Graci's son, Sal, ran the Bethel Center location until the recent sale. Frank Graci, a relative and owner of the original store in Dayton, is Miller's partner in the Bethel store.

Miller said he made the quarter finals in the trick-pizza-tossing competition on America's Got Talent and participates at annual conventions in Las Vegas and Italy.

Flying Pizza is known for its thin- and thick-crust pies and by-the-slice options. The lunch special, two slices of cheese and a 16-ounce pop for $5 ($5.50 for pepperoni), remains.

Miller said he has resisted the urge to put more than pizza on the menu.

"We do one thing and do it right," he said.

For more information, call 614-457-2323.


Craig Barnum is no longer part of Historic Dublin Restaurants but still has a restaurant in Historic Dublin.

The partnership of Barnum, Mike Tibbetts and Jack Eggpuehler launched a trio of restaurants - Oscar's, Tucci's and Brazenhead - in Dublin's town center.

Barnum called the split amicable.

"I think everyone realized it was time to move on," said Barnum, who still owns Tucci's under CLB Restaurants. Gift cards purchased before the split will be honored by each restaurant, he said.

The arrangement started in 1995, when Oscar's opened. It was followed by Tucci's and Brazenhead three years later. Since then, all three partners expanded the Brazenhead concept and tried their hands with different restaurants. Barnum and Tibbetts opened a steakhouse in the Polaris area that has since closed. Tibbetts also opened Cabo Cocina and Barnum founded Matt the Miller's in Dublin. Another is set to open this spring on Grandview Avenue. Meanwhile, Eggspuehler branched out with the Adena's and Buck Mulligan's, both of which are no longer in business.

"Really the last couple years, everyone naturally had different goals and desires and so forth," Barnum said.

"We did a lot of great things together," Tibbetts added. "I wouldn't trade the experience for anything but I understand people take different directions."