Helen's Kitchen has big changes planned in the immediate future.
It isn't so much about where Helen's Asian Kitchen is as much as where it's going.
Owner Helen Jiao has some big plans for the space, an out-of-the-way location bookended by a Super 8 motel and Waffle House in the Northland area.
For starters, she's importing a noodle-maker from China, which will allow her to offer assorted noodle shapes and sizes to be used in various dishes.
And she plans to make use of the stage. Her husband, Zhuguo Liang, an opera singer who soon will move to the United States, plans to make several appearances at the restaurant. A liquor license is on its way. Chinese hot pots will be featured when the weather turns cold again. Another plan is to offer northern Chinese dim sum, but no decision has been made on that front, she said.
Though the future looks bright, Jiao is far from relaxing. She is offering customers a wide range of Chinese-American favorites, such as General Tso's chicken, and genuine Chinese dishes, such as steamed whole fish. Fresh, handmade dumplings - steamed, boiled and potstickers - are a particular source of pride, she said.
Most lunch dishes are in the $6 to $8 range while dinner entrees are $8 to $11.
Helen's seats about 100 people in a former gentleman's club at 1070 E. Dublin-Granville Road. Jiao acknowledges it isn't the most conspicuous location, but she has mailed out 12,000 menus to nearby homes.
Jiao said she got her culinary training in China and at Chinese restaurants in America. She learned her front-of-the-house affability at an unlikely place - the Olive Garden, where she served as a hostess. She said the staff displays that same welcoming attitude at her new restaurant.
"I would like my restaurant to be a warm, friendly, happy place," she said.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner hours daily. For more information, call 614-987-5121.- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The resurgence of frozen yogurt shows no sign of thawing. Bad Frog, based in West Chester, Ohio, has opened a location at 15 N. High St. in Historic Dublin.
The 2,300-square-foot space seats 60.
Erik Martin, regional vice president and director of operations of Bad Frog, said all frozen-yogurt stores are not the same. Bad Frog, for example, uses an exclusive all-organic, cream-based yogurt from a producer in Oregon. No growth hormones or steroids are ever administered to the dairy cows, he said.
Even so, the yogurt is competitively priced at 46 cents an ounce, he said.
The self-serve yogurt spot offers 21 flavors - including best-sellers cake batter, "cable car" chocolate and blueberry "asai" - and 64 toppings.
The Dublin store is the second of 25 planned locations over the next four years in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Illinois.
Look for a full line of smoothies in June.
The place is open for lunch and dinner hours daily. For more information, call 614-389-4035.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Apna Bazaar is expanding into an adjacent storefront, which will be called Tandoori Grill. The Indian and Pakastani grocery story, which also sells prepared dishes, is taking over the former Fantasia Tea Café space, 808 Bethel Road. Owner Syed Abbas said the 1,200-square-foot space will seat about 40.