Iguanas Fresh Mexican Grill is rocking the guac -- and other south-of-the-border fare -- in Lewis Center.
The independent restaurant, which emphasizes quick, made-to-order meals, has taken over the former Kohinoor Indian Cuisine storefront at 76 W. Powell Road, just east of U.S. Route 23 in Delaware County.
Owned by Omar Garcia, his wife, Abigail Ramirez, and Joel Aguirre, Iguanas is festive but low-key, seating 92 in a commercial area dominated by chain restaurants.
Iguanas has no microwaves and only a small freezer, Garcia said, so all meals are made to order, including the chunky guacamole. A mango option also is available.
Fish tacos are the signature dish. Pieces of beer-marinated tilapia are fried but not breaded, topped with red cabbage and pico de gallo and drizzled with a creamy "secret sauce."
As entrees, they are served with chips, salsa, rice and beans.
Iguanas' 11 salsas, ranging from mild to extra spicy, are made in-house.
"We have a salsa for everybody," Garcia said.
"We worked a lot on this menu, each dish, each salsa. We did a lot, matching the right salsa with the right dish."
The menu features all types of Mexican cuisine, including quesadillas, burritos, fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, chimichangas and several options for tortas made with fresh, local bread -- carne asada or chicken, machaca (beef and eggs) and seafood (fish or shrimp).
A house favorite is elote, fresh steamed corn that is rolled in cotija cheese.
Although most of the food is mild, a few spicy choices are available, such as the tacos diablo, in which the meats or seafood are sauteed with habanero peppers.
Most individual items are priced $11 or less, and all are available at a drive-thru window.
Garcia said he is pleased with the storefront, which has been used by a number of operators over the past decade.
"I think we're in a good location," he said. "People just need to know we're here. We're up for the challenge. We're bringing in different kind of food to the people."
Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 614-987-7351.
The Woodbury, billed as an urban diner serving breakfast all day, is planning a spring opening at 223 E. Town St. in downtown Columbus.
In addition to homespun fare, the Woodbury will serve wine, cocktails and craft beer.
The Woodbury is owned by real-estate investment company Bluestone Brothers and will be operated by Olde Towne Partners, whose portfolio of restaurants includes the Olde Towne Tavern, the Walrus Kitchen & Public House, Corner Stone Craft Beer & Wine and Pecan Penny's, a barbecue joint in the old Ray Johnson Seafood Market, 111 E. Main St.
Sibling restaurants Atlas Tavern and Wings Over Columbus are slated for a spring opening at the Pointe at Polaris, 8900 Lyra Drive in Columbus.
Patrick Daly, owner of the two concepts, said Atlas will specialize in sandwiches, burgers and salads. The preliminary lineup will include pot roast, prime rib and schnitzel sandwiches, a chicken Parmesan roll and burgers made from hand-ground beef.
Wings Over Columbus, meanwhile, will be next door.
The restaurant, which has another location on Lane Avenue, offers 30 flavors of traditional and boneless wings.
Daly and Dave Ruhl also own the Carvery sandwich shop in downtown Columbus.
MCL Restaurant & Bakery, 76 E. Schrock Road, has closed.