Louis Cataland is probably the only restaurateur in town who rewards customers for saying "bite me."
At Cataland Kozina, the irreverent expression results in a free "buckeye bite" -- an individualized piece of homemade cheesecake.
Since opening about a month ago, he has given away 1,000 pieces of the dessert.
"It's a fun thing to do, especially with the younger crowd," said Cataland, who opened the store with his brothers, Teri and Stan.
Cataland Kozina, a deli and pizza parlor, is located at 6457 Hamilton Road, north of state Route 161. The 1,200-square-foot restaurant, which seats 65, has taken over the former Gee Willikers' spot in the Albany Place shopping center.
Cataland said house-prepared corned beef and pastrami are the house specialties. The corned beef uses free-range Ohio Amish brisket, seasoned with almost two dozen spices, that takes up to three weeks to prepare. The spice-rubbed pastrami, meanwhile, is smoked for six hours at 160 degrees in a 1948 Peerless oven that has baffles, or vents, which allow for wood-burning.
Cataland said even the small details are important. Reuben sandwiches are topped with homemade sauerkraut and a house-mixed Thousand Island dressing. Gyros are made from roasted leg of lamb that is marinated for 24 hours. Even the fries are fresh-cut.
Individual subs and sandwiches are $6 to $7.50.
"The quality we do for the price is the best you'll find in Columbus," he said.
Pizzas, which use house-tossed dough, feature a razor-thin crust. The 8-inch pies ($5.50) are served during the day while 14-inch pizzas, which start at $11.50, are served at night. They are cut in squares or pie slices.
On Fridays, fresh fish -- blackened, deep-fried or baked -- is featured, along with homemade clam chowder.
The Catalands come from a restaurant family with deep roots in Columbus, going back to the 1960s when their father, Max Cataland, opened the Aegean Supper Club on Parsons Avenue. Louis Cataland went on to open Danny's New York Strip, which has since closed, on the Northwest Side. In 1994, he opened Cafe Bella in the University District, which he sold in 2001.
Since then, the brothers forged separate paths, only to reconvene at Cataland Kozina. Stan Cataland keeps a day job at his own title company.
"We love what we do," Louis Cataland said.
Cataland Kozina is open six days a week, closed Sunday. For more information, call 614-855-7476.
Sisters Qina Cibulskis and Qini Kear have opened Banyan Food Service, a restaurant-supply company that caters to the Asian restaurant market.
Banyan Food Service, which sells dried and canned goods, plus takeout containers, is located at 7340 Sancus Blvd., north of Worthington.
The sisters, whose family started Q2 Bistro at Polaris and D.H. Wu in Pickerington, which was later sold, said their goal is to specialize in customized packaging for local restaurants. They are now working with a production facility in Southeast Asia on inexpensive individualized bags and containers.
Kear said it's an often-overlooked but economical way to promote a business.
"It's part of the branding," she said. "You have to get your name out there."
Charritos Mexican Grill, a casual, budget-priced restaurant, is now open in Arlington Pointe, at the southeast corner of Henderson and Reed roads.
The place specializes in popular Mexican fare, including sandwiches, fajitas, quesadillas and tacos. Its entrees include whole fried fish and spicy shrimp. Most individual items are priced less than $10.
Charritos, which is open for lunch and dinner daily, seats about 50.