Magdiale Wolmark says he's staying true to his passion at Till.
Some will consider it an unforgivable betrayal to a passionate and loyal customer base. Others undoubtedly will salute the change, a signal that people of all appetites are welcome.
But no matter where one falls on the great cultural food divide, the transition is complete: Magdiale Wolmark has unveiled his revamped restaurant concept, Till, which now offers meat among vegetarian and vegan offerings in Victorian Village.
He opened the dining venue quietly - make that very quietly - to the public earlier this month.
He was nervous, he said, partly because of the reputation of his previous endeavor, Dragonfly, the most heralded vegan restaurant in central Ohio. But they came, even the most committed vegan diners, to wish him well.
Wolmark remains unapologetic, saying his decision was based on a passion for good food and fierce attention to how it's procured.
"I think it's been an evolution," he said. "I've taken it very seriously, as seriously as I take the vegetables."
The menu will stay small and affordable, with all entrees currently priced less than $20. A Philly-style cheese steak uses beef tongue and taleggio cheese.
Organic ham, served on a platter or as a sandwich, is cured and smoked in-house. Indeed, vegan options, such as tempeh fricassee, still exist.
Once unthinkable in these rustic confines, built more than 100 years ago, a burger soon will make the menu. But it will be far from ordinary: The beef will be finely chopped by a knife, not ground. He hasn't ruled out a steak, but the current cost has kept him from adding it to the menu, which will change often. Till also has children's offerings. Wolmark's wife, Cristin Austin, is in charge of homemade desserts, including cream cheese pound cake and vegan chocolate parfait.
One thing that hasn't changed is his commitment to locally sourced food, including many of the herbs and vegetables he grows in his own garden in back of the restaurant, 247 King Ave. Wolmark said he goes directly to the source, looking for producers who meet the firm standards of biodynamic farming, an ecological system that emphasizes the relationship between the soil, plants and animals.
Local ingredients include honey from Mockingbird Meadows, cream from Snowville Creamery and chicken and eggs from Fox Hollow Farm.
One of the biggest changes is to the beverage list. For starters, Till offers two wines on tap -that's right, stored in kegs - per the Gotham Project delivery system. Other wine choices are offered by the glass and bottle.
Pop, known as "shrubs" here, is made on-premises the old-fashioned way, by macerating fruit and creating a syrup, which is then combined with soda water.
Thunderkiss Coffee supplies the java, prepared in traditional and pour-over methods, the latter in which the each cup is individually brewed by pouring hot water over freshly ground beans in a filter. An ever-changing selection of beer - six on tap - is scrupulously chosen and cocktails follow traditional or modern interpretations.
"The forefront of our new identity is the beverage program," he said.
The interior underwent some cosmetic changes, from a fresh coat of paint to custom-made high-top wooden tables. A related concept, Glaze, more dedicated to desserts, will open in May in the former On the Fly spot next to Till.
Till is open for dinner hours daily, with lunch being introduced in a couple of months. For more information, call (614) 298-9986.