When opening a restaurant, it helps to have a signature item.

Matt and Lindsey Tewanger, who recently opened Cravings Cafe at 114 N. Front St. in Columbus, were looking for a breakfast treat with a catchy name.

As it happens, "cronut" and "doughssant" were taken, so they came up with the "bronut" -- a doughnut made of fried, housemade brioche bread.

The Tewangers have tinkered with many flavors: chocolate tahini, lemon blueberry, s'mores, white-chocolate pistachio and vanilla with a simple glaze.

"That's kind of the fun part of it," Matt Tewanger said.

The breakfast-and-lunch operation is in the former Saigon Palace, just north of Columbus City Hall and across from some city administration buildings.

Cravings serves both hot- and cold-brewed coffees from a local roaster, Thunderkiss Coffee. Specialty coffee drinks aren't available because Cravings has no room for an espresso machine, Matt Tewanger said.

Teas and soft drinks round out the beverage menu.

The food menu is limited, with a few baked goods, sandwiches and salads.

"The menu will always stay about that size, but we will have daily specials," Matt Tewanger said.

In addition to the bronuts, two of the menu items cater to the morning crowd: The breakfast roll has thick-cut bacon, a fried egg and rosemary aioli on a house roll, and the breakfast burrito has scrambled eggs, crispy potatoes, cheese and tomatillo-avocado salsa.

For something out of the ordinary, smoked-salmon pierogies are topped with lemon-chive cream and a salad of pickled red onions and capers.

Sandwich options include the bulgogi cheesesteak, chicken club and the fried tomatillo.

Desserts beyond the bronut are available, too.

Most single items on the menu are $7 to $10.

The Tewangers got their start with Cravings Carryout Cafe in Columbus' Italian Village but said they were not given an opportunity to renew the lease for their 500-square-foot space two years ago.

During that time, they scouted potential locations for a new Cravings.

Matt Tewanger said they weren't sold on the Saigon Palace spot because it was rundown and dingy. The landlord had planned to outfit the space with drywall and let the Tewangers decorate it themselves, he said.

But some initial remodeling revealed character. Worn brick, wooden walls and a high ceiling have been incorporated into the interior, which seats 17.

"We're super stoked about being down here," Matt Tewanger said.

Cravings' hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and closed Sundays. For more information, call 614-670-4439.

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Little Lebanon Mediterranean in Polaris has changed formats, going from full-service to fast-casual, with an emphasis on home-cooked fare, fresh-chopped vegetables and housemade sauces.

Raymonda Risley, who owns the restaurant at 8495 Sancus Blvd. with her husband, Eric, said the change was necessary to better accommodate busy Polaris patrons.

The setup is familiar: Customers can choose a base of rice or vegetables, a number of proteins, such as lamb, chicken and falafel, plus toppings and sauces. The meals are available in bowls or wraps.

Little Lebanon also offers a number of Middle Eastern sides and homemade desserts.

Prices are $7.99 to $9.99.

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Black Creek Bistro, 51 Parsons Ave. in Columbus' Olde Towne East, has closed.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary