Three months and $100,000 later, the transformation of the old Pig Iron BBQ is complete.
Iron Grill Barbeque & Brew has a new look, more beers on tap and loads of new menu items.
Eugene “Jimmy” Staravecka, who owns the restaurant at 5295 N. High St., said the changes are both conspicuous and subtle, starting with a cosmetic makeover of the interior.
Of the more obvious amendments is the introduction of many new dishes.
Staravecka, also the owner of the Gahanna Grill, has brought over a long-time favorite: The Beanie Burger, a bacon cheeseburger topped with cole slaw, caramelized onions and traditional garnishes.
He said the Beanie and Double Beanie represent about half of all burger sales – he uses 600 pounds of ground beef a week – at the Gahanna location.
Staravecka came up with his own creation called the Iron Grill Burger, a Swiss burger crowned with spicy smoked sausage, sauerkraut, lettuce and tomato.
“I’m very happy,” he said.
“Customers are embracing the changes. I don’t like to say change because I didn’t change. I added.”
He’s retained barbecue chef Ric Jencson.
Together, they came up with two house-made sauces: a lighter, spicier option and a sweet, smoky alternative.
The barbecue is being prepared differently, too. It gets a signature dry rub before being cooked at 225 degrees for 14 hours.
The menu also has a lighter touch, such as the Mediterranean salad with chicken, wrap sandwiches and a new line of flatbreads.
Some of the old standbys have been preserved, such as the fish and chips, which now uses haddock instead of cod.
Still, Staravecka kept the menu affordable, with most entree prices being in the $6.50 to $14 range – with a few exceptions, such as the recently introduced 16-ounce ribeye for $20.
In keeping with current trends, Staravecka has gone from six to 20 taps, which include selections from such popular microbrews as Founders, Bell’s, Great Lakes Brewing and Columbus Brewing Co.
“People have more knowledge about beer,” he said.
To accommodate the changeover, he built a new walk-in cooler and a new bar with expanded seating. He’s also reconfigured the patio, adding new tables and seats and extending the seating by 40. The pickup truck, a relic of the early days that once inhabited the patio, has been moved to the north side of the parking lot.
The place is open for lunch and dinner daily. For more information, call 614-885-4744.
Wild Ginger has opened at 1726 Hilliard Rome Road. Sushi is a big part of the menu, which offers 15 signature rolls complemented by homemade sauces.
The restaurant also offers Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai dishes.
One of the big sellers is the crispy red snapper drizzled with a balsamic honey sauce over a bed of bok choy dressed up with a coconut-based curry sauce.
The owner is Justin Ye, who also owns Haruki East in Hilliard, also located on Hilliard Rome Road.
The 2,800-square-foot Wild Ginger seats about 120.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily. For more information, call 614-876-6888.
Mark your calendars: The fourth annual FOODFIGHT “Eat out to fight hunger” is June 20.
More than 150 restaurants are participating in the Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s Operation Feed campaign.
Participating restaurants are donating 5 percent of the day’s sales to the food bank and 100 percent of dollars raised provides emergency assistance for those in need in central and eastern Ohio.