Bodega has an expanded menu that includes some sophisticated tavern favorites.
After six years in the making, Bodega is now complete.
Already known as a serious destination for craft-beer enthusiasts, the Short North locale has added a full kitchen, allowing it to broaden its appeal with a larger, more sophisticated menu, said Sangeeta Lakhani, who founded the restaurant with Collin Castore.
"This is where we always wanted to go," she said.
But it wasn't easy. Along with permitting issues, and outfitting the kitchen with gas lines and a new hood system and ovens in such a small floor plan - all without closing the restaurant during construction - proved to be a formidable task, Sang said.
"We never thought it would take this long," she said.
Bodega, 1044 N. High St., began as a neighborhood hangout, complete with a custom wine list, beer and spirits, plus a small but well-regarded menu. Since then, Lakhani and Castore upped the ante by growing the beer selection to more than 200 choices by the bottle and 50 - up from 10 - options on tap.
Yet, the menu languished, mostly because the kitchen was run on two Panini presses, two electric pizza ovens and refrigerator space, she said.
After a $100,000 investment - and a tight squeeze - the kitchen is churning out a diverse lineup that includes shrimp and grits, samosas and fish tacos.
She said the transformation can't be overstated.
"It's really important," she said. "So far, we've been a bar and the food was a bonus."
Chef Marcus Meacham said patrons needn't worry: Food pairings aren't difficult.
"It's actually easy here," he said. "We have so many beers here. Our food is automatically paired with something."
Meacham, most recently executive chef of Barrio downtown, was working part-time at Bodega when the chef position opened. He jumped at the chance, creating new dishes, which now represent 40 percent of the menu, and tweaking others. All items, save for a cheese plate, are priced $10 or less.
The biggest seller is the mussels napped with a bacon and blue cheese sauce and topped with French fries. Meacham also has introduced the Bombay burger, made from fresh, hormone-free beef. A veggie burger is also an option. The menu will continue to evolve and offer a few specials each night, including the hanger steak with butternut squash puree and roasted cipollini onions. He also plans to roll out homemade desserts - including crème brulee, bacon-and-peach bread pudding and cheesecake - in the near future.
The tight kitchen is no match for the resolve of the kitchen staff, sous chef Matt Price said.
"It always works," he said. "It's the Bodega model."• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Greek Street Tavern has replaced Burgers, Dogs and Fries in the Kingsdale Shopping Center.
The new spot, next to Giant Eagle Market District, offers a full line of pastas, burgers, gyros, soups and salads. Most entrees are priced between $12 and $16. There's also a full liquor license and six beers on tap at Greek Street, 3110 Kingsdale Center.
The owner is Moses Velio, formerly of Hellas near Grandview Heights and cousin of Jimmy Velio, owner of Jimmy V's, among other restaurant ventures.
Greek Street is open daily for lunch and dinner. For additional information, call (614) 457-9191.• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
DiBella's Old Fashioned Submarines is opening a second central Ohio location. The Rochester N.Y.-based sub shop will be part of a new 8,300-square-foot building on Olentangy River Road, just north of King Avenue. DiBella's, to occupy 3,415 square feet, will share the space with an AT&T mobile store.
The first Dibella's opened last spring near the Mall at Tuttle Crossing.