Biscuit & Branch is an ode to modern Southern cooking with a fresh take on scratch-made comfort food and a selection of spirits.

As its name suggests, the new Short North restaurant builds much of its menu -- and reputation -- on humble buttermilk biscuits.

The inspiration for the restaurant, 685 N. High St., came after owner Tony Selimi, also founder of Westies Gastropub in Columbus' Brewery District, and chef Paul Yow took a trip to Nashville.

"We wanted to produce the same food and put a lot of care into it," said Yow, who is the culinary director for Selimi's two restaurants.

Yow said he's been working on the biscuit recipe since August.

"They should be soft," he said. "They should be a nice, golden brown."

Biscuits are the foundation for such dishes as the Memphis Benny, which is served with two over-easy eggs, shaved country ham and country gravy.

Meanwhile, fried chicken, which is part of several entrees, gets a dip in a spice mix before being floured, washed in egg whites and then floured before frying. Yow uses only thigh meat to create his dishes, such as the Just Sayin' sandwich, which includes shoulder bacon and maple aioli on a brioche bun.

The menu features Yow's take on other classics, such as gumbo, shrimp and grits, a Charleston-style paella and a Hot Brown, a classic Louisville-style open-faced sandwich with turkey and rich gravy, but with mac 'n' cheese instead of bread.

The name Biscuit & Branch is a play on the old Southern drink, bourbon and branch -- whiskey mixed with water, which traditionally would have come from a stream, or branch, near the distiller.

Biscuit & Branch has a full line of signature drinks and flights of bourbon, and 30 taps dedicated to craft beer.

The 4,000-square-foot space, formerly a Waterbeds 'n' Stuff store, has marble walls, a herringbone-design floor, high tables and booths.

Kitchen hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and closed Monday.

For more information, call 614-732-0487.

An old-school speakeasy has been added to Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza and Live Music in Worthington.

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The Light of Seven Matchsticks, taken from a Wes Anderson movie, is a basement-level bar that trades in classic and modern drinks, funkified vittles and on-tap pop from Rambling House Soda.

Based in a separate unit under Natalie's, 5601 N. High St., the 40-seat speakeasy has booths with velvet-backed seats, a full bar and a kitchen.

Among the food offerings are duck-fat popcorn tossed with Grana Padano cheese, salmon rillettes and bulgogi beef jerky.

The speakeasy has a fun feature: When the bar is full, patrons in the waiting area can write down their drink orders and names on a library card, push it through an old mail slot and loudly knock twice so the bartender can hear.

It is open from 6 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Sunday.

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Sushi Time has replaced Angry Bear Kitchen at 2653 N. High St. in Columbus.

The restaurant has a variety of of sashimi, nigiri and rolls, as well as many other Japanese dishes, such as teriyaki, stir-fried noodles, tonkatsu and fried rice.

It also offers all-you-can-eat lunch ($12.99) and dinner ($21.95) specials, which have their own menus.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary