Living in Memphis for 10 years, Mary and Jim Lyski fell in love with Southern food, particularly fried chicken.
When they moved to Columbus, they were largely out of luck.
Sure, some restaurants featured fried chicken, but few, they say, had the authentic stuff from the South. So Mary Lyski spent two years working on a recipe.
"That's what we've got to live up to, grandmother's fried chicken," Lyski said. "We hear that a lot."
Central Ohio residents soon will get a taste of homestyle deep-fried chicken and other Southern delights at Double Comfort, Lyski's new restaurant, at 505 N. High St. in the former Knead location in the Short North.
The restaurant is scheduled to open Saturday, July 19. The restaurant seats 65 inside and another 20 outside.
Executive chef Dan Varga, formerly of the Explorers Club in Merion Village, said he doesn't even know the recipe. It's a closely guarded secret between Lyski and Ben Walters, who's making the proprietary blend at his store, North Market Spices.
Varga said the chicken is spectacular: crunchy, spicy and moist with a good chew. It -- without a doubt -- will be the star of the menu at Double Comfort, which will feature Southern classics such as bacon-infused cornbread, red beans and rice, and collard greens.
He's also putting po' boys -- shrimp, fried chicken, chicken-fried steak and veggie versions -- on the menu. In addition, he's curing his own bacon, Andouille sausage and tasso ham.
He said he likes his new gig because it's based on fresh, local ingredients.
"I'm excited," he said. "It's right up my alley. It's Southern food. It's comfort food."
Brunch, offered Saturdays and Sundays, offers another opportunity to showcase the fried chicken -- this time with homemade Belgian waffles, drizzled with syrup infused with bacon, coffee and bourbon.
It's one of several brunch dishes that will be offered Saturday and Sunday.
Others include chicken-fried steak with waffles and bacon and sausage gravy, and mac 'n' cheese waffles -- that's right, mac 'n' cheese browned in the waffle maker -- topped with scrambled eggs and bacon.
As with dinner entrees, a la carte brunch items cost $5 to $10.
Homemade desserts include key lime pie, seasonal cobbler, brownies and homemade ice cream.
But there's another, more altruistic side to Double Comfort.
A portion of the proceeds from each plate of chicken served will be given to charitable organizations, chosen by a board appointed by the restaurant.
Double Comfort is not a nonprofit organization, Lyski said, but it is in the business of helping feed needy people.
"I'm not here to make money," she said. "This was created to give our profits to a food pantry."
And, perhaps, it's well-poised to be a success, being part of the Hampton Inn & Suites complex located across from the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
"I just think it needed the right concept," Varga said.
Double Comfort will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday, brunch and dinner Saturday, brunch only Sunday and closed Monday. For more information, call 614-745-2183.
For the first time in its 15-year history, Moretti's of Arlington is open for lunch.
The restaurant, 2134 Tremont Center, is open lunch hours Tuesday through Friday.
General manager Jami Householder, fiancee of owner Tim Moretti, said the decision was based on customer demand.
"Every day, you hear the door; people trying to come in," Householder said.
Individual items are priced at $6 to $12. That includes the chicken Moretti sandwich, a riff on the decadent chicken Moretti entree in the evening (there's a veal option, too).
The sandwich uses a sauteed breaded chicken cutlet topped with provolone, fresh mozzarella and a mushroom cream sauce.