Tomatillos Authentic Mexican is the latest restaurant to embellish the simple taco with stylish trappings.
The restaurant, which recently opened at 2285 W. Dublin-Granville Road in Linworth, is spacious and laid-back, focusing on freshness and efficiency by featuring a limited menu, counter-order service and reasonably priced food, owner Sergio Munoz said
"We wanted to try a fast-casual concept," said Munoz, owner of two Tres Potrillos, one each in Galloway and Marysville, and Mi Cerrito in Delaware.
The entire space, which is in a new shopping center that includes Borgata Pizza Cafe, seats 99.
When customers enter, they order at the counter, then are served their food and drink by an employee.
The shrimp tacos are one featured menu selection, with grilled jumbo shrimp, spicy-sweet coleslaw and a homemade chipotle sauce.
Another taco option has shredded pork, bacon, barbecue coleslaw and cilantro.
The upscale versions are $3 each or four for $11.
Tomatillos still has street cred in the form of Mexican street tacos: simple, stripped-down protein (or avocado and feta, in one selection) in a corn tortilla festooned with chopped onion and cilantro -- and a lime upon request.
The street-style tacos -- for example, carnitas -- are $2.50 each or four for $9.
The menu is rounded out with an assortment of appetizers, salads, entrees and burritos, most costing between $10 and $14.
"We didn't want to extend the menu" to the point that dishes were going to take a long time to prepare, said Daniel Munoz, Sergio's brother and manager of the restaurant.
A self-serve salsa bar has seven options, all using a base of charred-and-blended tomatillos, ranging from mild to extra spicy.
Tomatillos has a full bar with 10 beers on tap, a vast selection of tequilas and several margarita selections.
The story also has a sweet element: Tomatillos' roommate is Diamonds Ice Cream, which has retail stores on Bethel Road in Columbus and on Main Street in Hilliard.
Diamonds owner Jose Torres, Munoz's uncle, makes all of his ice creams, sorbets and paletas -- think Mexican ice pops -- in-house.
Diamonds offers a cavalcade of flavors, with 32 for ice cream and more than 70 paletas -- a veritable rainbow of bright colors.
Ice cream is $3.25 for a single scoop and paletas cost $2.99 to $3.99.
Just don't ask Torres to name a favorite.
"Every flavor is good, man," he said. "Every flavor is different."
Hours for the operation are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 am. to 9 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 614-987-7999.
The owners of the Kitchen in German Village have acquired an adjacent storefront that will be used as a special-events space.
Anne Boninsegna and Jen Lindsey plan a June opening for the Studio at the Kitchen directly east of their current facility, 231 E. Livingston Ave. in Columbus.
They said the location, to seat 50, could entertain a range of events, from bridal showers to pop-up art galleries. They will provide food from their restaurant, which primarily is a participatory kitchen.
Alcohol also will be served.
Kraft House No. 5, the cozy restaurant in downtown Powell, has been sold to Orion Trifoni of Panini Opa in northwest Columbus.
Kraft House, 5 Liberty St., was owned by brothers Louie and Michael Pappas. It is known for its creative pub fare and wide craft-beer selection.
The sale is not expected to not result in any closures for the restaurant.
That's not the case for Hank & Tom's Chatter Box Bar, which now is in the hands of Ran Dezalovski, who plans to refresh the small pub in the Ganthers Place neighborhood.
Chatter Box, 554 E. Whittier St., just east of Parsons Avenue, has been some kind of bar since the late 1930s.
It was most recently owned by Tom Snow.
The bar is expected to reopen in a week or two.
Lee's China Kitchen, 65 E. State St. in downtown Columbus, has closed.