The "Jucy Lucy" -- a burger with a molten cheese center -- is not new in the world of indulgent sandwiches, but it's a rarity in central Ohio.

Mark Koval is out to change that.

The half-pound burger, stuffed with quality American cheese, is the highly touted signature dish at Koval's new enterprise, Idol's Kitchen, which operates inside Alumni Club Sports Bar, 395 Stoneridge Lane, Gahanna.

"I think the problem here is people haven't offered it on a consistent basis," said Koval, who is leasing the bar's kitchen.

The "Jucy Lucy" is a Minnesota tradition, although there is debate as to its exact birthplace.

Koval said he makes it in the style of Matt's Bar in Minneapolis, where many believe it originated. The burgers are hand-patted, lightly seasoned and cooked on a flattop grill. Garnished with lettuce and tomato, the patty is served on a toasted bun with a side of crinkle-cut fries.

Idol's Kitchen serves such traditional pub fare as wings, appetizers, salads and sandwiches. Koval said he makes hummus from scratch, and veggie burgers and hot dogs also are menu options.

However, the menu at Idol's is limited, and that's for a good reason: The kitchen is tiny.

To gain extra room, Koval said, he is fortunate enough to use the kitchen at the Temple Beth Shalom in New Albany to prepare some of his food, such as brisket, seasoned with ketchup, brown sugar and dried onion-dip ingredients and cooked for at least five hours. It is the centerpiece of the "Big Hungarian" sandwich.

Koval said he promised his rabbi to keep pork out of the synagogue's kitchen.

At Idol's Kitchen, though, it's a different story. Bacon is a frequently used ingredient, including for a hot dog wrapped in bacon and deep-fried.

Most menu items range from $6 to $10.

Koval, 55, has had a varied work history.

He started in the food industry and then became a professional wrestler known as the Golden Idol, hence the kitchen's name.

He said he is still a manager of several professional wrestlers in Minnesota and recently organized a match in Zanesville.

After a long stint as sales manager for a furniture store, he recently started a construction company.

Still, the food industry tugged at him, so he brought in a friend, Brett Handmaker, to work out some logistics and help in the kitchen.

"That passion to own a restaurant was always there," he said. "It never leaves you."

Idol's Kitchen hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 4 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 4 to 9 p.m. Sundays.

For more information, call 614-813-6824.


The owners of Hai Poke food truck have found a place to set up shop in Columbus' Short North.

Nile Woodson and Mico Cordero will take over 500 square feet at 647 N. High St. A late-August opening is expected.

The restaurant will serve Hawaiian-style bowls with tuna, salmon or tofu over rice and vegetables.

The food truck will remain in business.

Rolled ice cream appears to be, well, on a roll.


Ice Cream Rollery is expected to open this fall in Reynoldsburg.

Owner Rashad Mosley said Ice Cream Rollery will occupy 2,000 square feet at 8073 E. Broad St.

The treat is made using a liquid ice-cream base poured on chilled tablets and scooped into small, thin coils. It will be offered in several flavors and with several toppings, including raw cookie dough, which also can be ordered on its own.

It also will have a small arcade.

It is the second such rolled ice-cream purveyor ThisWeek has covered. The first is Simply Rolled Ice Cream, which operates inside Oats & Barley Market in the Short North.


Rooks Tavern, 195 Chittenden Ave. in Columbus, has closed after nine months in operation.

Founding chef and partner Aaron Mercier attributed its demise to the lack of parking and location.

Known for its smoked meats and superlative fried chicken, Rooks' buildout was notably expensive, the owners said.

John Havens, the other founding partner, said he wouldn't rule out reopening another restaurant concept elsewhere.

"I don't think that's out of the realm of possibility," he said.