Table Talk

Polaris-area pub commits to sports, solid menu

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O'Nelly's Sports Pub & Grill is in Polaris.

But then again, it's really not.

Located on the northeast corner of Polaris Parkway and South Old State Road, the 4,000-square-foot storefront straddles the border of the popular retail district.

But owner Joe Stropkai isn't looking east, so much, toward Polaris Fashion Place. He's looking north, at the multitude of housing units filled with young professionals who don't have to navigate the busy corridor to find entertainment, and south, toward the Chase bank complex.

"The population's here to support everyone," Stropkai said.

Friday, May 17, Stropkai and his wife, Tia, will open O'Nelly's at 8939 S. Old State Road. It takes over the former Polaris Street Tavern and an adjacent space.

The pub takes its name from legendary sportscaster Keith Jackson's popular expression, "Whoa, Nellie!"

So, as one can imagine, sports programming -- what with the the number of high-definition large-screen TVs and memorabilia -- is a big deal at O'Nelly's.

Food is important, too, although the menu will start off with approachable tavern-style fare in the beginning.

The Stropkais brought in Tim Blanton, a bona fide chef, to run the kitchen.

Blanton trained at the Columbus State Community College hospitality program and went onto study at Ecole hotelier de Lausanne, a one-year program that took him to 17 countries, where he learned cuisine, culture and wine.

A native of Columbus, he spent several years as a chef traveling the South.

Most recently, he was a chef at a restaurant on Tybee Island, off the cost of Savannah, Ga., but moved back to be closer to family.

He said the menu will start out with many pub classics.

For example, he'll make his signature egg rolls, using roasted pork shoulder, sauerkraut, spinach and cheese, and served with a whole grain mustard for dipping.

The "Irish nachos" offer fresh-cut kettle chips topped with either chili or chicken, and typical garnishes -- onions, tomatoes, sour cream and cheese.

The Stropkais give a significant nod to Pittsburgh fans and transplants with Iron City beer and Primanti Bros.-style sandwiches, called "working man's yinzer" sandwiches, crowned with the trademark coleslaw and fries.

All 8-ounce burgers use fresh, never frozen, Black Angus beef.

The signature burger is topped with ingredients of a Reuben sandwich -- corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing.

For now, there are three entrees, including house-battered fish and chips. After a while, Blanton plans to flaunt his culinary chops with evening specials.

Most sandwiches, burgers and entrees are in the $8 to $13 range.

Stropkai said he will honor the current craft-beer trend by dedicating half of his 16 taps to microbrews.

O'Nelly's also offers "The Gamer" beer-dispensing systems, the 128-ounce tableside serving vessels designed for larger parties.

The restaurant is open lunch through late-night hours daily. Stropkai said he wants to court restaurant-industry workers, who don't have a lot of options after their late-night shifts.

For more information, call 614-854-6250.

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Rosa & Rocco's Italian Kitchen and Steakhouse will replace Mia Cucina in New Albany.

It will be second location for the restaurant based in Marion. A June opening is planned, chef Todd Wallace said.

Rosa & Rocco's is known for its certified Black Angus beef, classic pasta dishes, flatbread pizzas and specialty entrees. Most dishes are in the $9 to $25 range.

The original Rosa & Rocco's was opened in 2012 by Eric and Becky Schilder, and Clint and Lindsey Field.

 

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