Central Ohioans need not wait until lunch if they are craving Mexican fare.

Fuzzy's Taco Shop, the latest fresh-Mex restaurant on the Columbus dining scene, starts the day offering its take on breakfast.

Part of a 132-unit chain based in Fort Worth, Texas, Fuzzy's Taco Shop has replaced Japanese Steak House, 479 N. High St., across from the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Painted in festive blues, reds, yellow and greens, Fuzzy's seats 120 people in a narrow, 4,600-square-foot storefront with an open kitchen.

Breakfast tacos principally are egg-based, with variations that include potatoes and various meats, including chorizo.

In an era of piled-high, build-your-own tacos, Fuzzy's lunch and dinner options are fairly simple, with slow-cooked brisket, spicy pork, shredded chicken, ground beef, grilled vegetables, fajita-style chicken or beef, fish and shrimp, the latter two served either grilled or tempura-battered.

District manager Mike Migliori said Fuzzy's serves its distinctive tacos on soft-corn tortillas, which are garnished with garlic sauce, cilantro, lettuce, shredded cheese, tomatoes and feta.

Individual tacos are priced $2.29 to $2.99, with specials costing a bit more.

For example, a "California heat" taco ($3.49) has tempura-battered or grilled shrimp, traditional garnishes, bacon and a Sriracha-lime sauce.

"It's my favorite by far," Migliori said.

The menu also features starters, salads, soups, nachos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, platters and desserts. No individual item tops $10, and breakfast items are served all day.

Additionally, homemade sauces, such as chimichurri, a salsa made of fire-roasted vegetables and queso, are available.

Two additional hot sauces, one made with habanero peppers, will be available tableside.

Fuzzy's also has 16 beers on tap and offers seven frozen margaritas.

Migliori said of the chain's 132 units, seven are company-owned, including the North High Street location, which is the second in Ohio. The other is a franchised location in Toledo.

The reason the company chose to build a restaurant locally was to have a place to train Midwest and East Coast franchisees, Migliori said.

That said, Fuzzy's plans to develop 12 to 14 restaurants in Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, in addition to franchise-owned restaurants, he said.

The origin of the restaurant's name is something of a mystery, the most popular story being that the original owners were sampling drinks at the bar, getting "fuzzy," Migliori said.

"Nobody's been able to confirm or deny that for me," he said.

Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.

For more information, call 614-412-8226.

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The name says it all: Blunch is a new place in Clintonville that serves breakfast and lunch.

Owned by Jane and Jeff White, the brunch spot is at 2973 N. High St.

Corned-beef hash, eggs Benedict, bananas Foster pancakes and creme brulee French toast are among the menu items. All meals are priced around $10.

Blunch also offers a la carte and build-your-own options.

In addition to Luck Bros' Coffee, the restaurant serves a variety of signature brunch drinks, such as the bloody mary and cherry Bellini.

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Barley's Brewing Co. celebrated its 25th anniversary date Nov. 3 by tapping its first keg of Christmas Ale for the season.

Barley's, 467 N. High St., is a pioneer of the central Ohio craft-beer scene, renowned for its brewing program, as well as its menu of better-than-average tavern fare. Sauerkraut balls and grilled wings are among the crowd favorites.

"It's been a great ride," general manager Jason Fabian said. "It's been really cool to see the local growth of craft beers over the past five to six years."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary