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Taste of Clintonville

Burgeoning restaurant scene gets showcase

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The growing diversity of dining options in Clintonville will be on full display Monday, March 31.

The inaugural Taste of Clintonville will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. March 31 at Mozart's Bakery and Piano Cafe, 4784 N. High St. Tickets cost $25 each and include tastings of signature dishes offered by an array of restaurants along with drink tickets.

"The dining event will celebrate a neighborhood whose restaurant scene has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year," said coordinator Shelley Mann, a former editor of Columbus Crave magazine who now does marketing and consulting work for independently owned restaurants in central Ohio.

"Every neighborhood has one," said Anand Saha, who owns Mozart's with his wife, Doris. "Why not Clintonville?"

Proceeds will benefit Experience Clintonville, a nonprofit group that promotes the neighborhood and organizes community events.

"It's just going to help us do a lot of different things," Saha said, including helping to fund the Park of Roses Festival in June and the Clintonville Arts and Music Festival in September.

In addition to two dozen local eateries and food stores in the neighborhood, the March 31 gathering will feature a miniature version of the Clintonville Farmers Market in the front patio area of Mozart's, Mann said. She said four or five of the market's regular vendors will be on hand.

"That will be, I think, really cool and a nice addition," Mann said.

Saha said he first had the idea for Taste of Clintonville two years ago, about the time he helped to establish Experience Clintonville. He thought it would be "one of the coolest things that could be done," and one that could be pulled together, given his contacts with other restaurant owners in the neighborhood.

"We just couldn't find a place," Saha said.

With the relocation in June of Mozart's to far-larger quarters in the former Cord Camera building, the Taste of Clintonville now has "the ideal spot," he said.

The site, which has been home to a variety of restaurants in the past, seats 350.

"The participants who have joined us said readily, yes," Saha said. "A few that we wanted said yes but then backed out.

"It just shows again that smart restaurateurs want to be part of the community. They went beyond the competitive stuff. They looked for the betterment of the community.

"I'm absolutely not surprised," he added. "Clintonville folks in the restaurants understand it's good business."

"It's just been a matter of rounding up as many restaurants as possible and making it a real reflection of the diversity and new options in the restaurant scene," Mann said.

Both she and Saha said the goal is to make Taste of Clintonville an annual event.

"However, I know that next year it's going to have to be in a bigger facility," Saha said.

As of late last week, 24 establishments had signed up to participate in Taste of Clintonville:

Aladdin's Eatery, Angry Bear Kitchen, Cakes and More, Clintonville Woman's Club, Colonial Candy Shoppe, the Coop food truck, the Crest Gastropub, Crimson Cup, Dante's Pizza, Eagle Family Candy, Global Gallery, India Oak Bar and Grill, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, Lavash Cafe, Lucky's Market, Mozart's, Nancy's Home Cooking, O'Reilly's Pub, Pattycake Bakery, Portia's Cafe, Vienna Ice Cafe, Weiland's Market, Whole World Natural Bakery and Restaurant and Wildflower Cafe.

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