It's not every day that restaurateurs use the words "sloppy," "garlicky" and "buttery" to attract customers.
But at Kai's Crab Boil in northwest Columbus, the messy dining experience is part of the attraction, said owners Kai Sheng and Tiffany Cho.
"You bring the family, friends, put two tables together and dump the food on the table," Sheng said.
Kai's specializes in Louisiana-style seafood boils, which can include shrimp, crab legs, crawfish, lobster and clams.
Customers can add potatoes, corn and sausage for $1 each.
Bibs and plastic gloves are provided.
The dining room even has a sink for those who need a more thorough cleanup.
Patrons at Kai's, 839 Bethel Road in the Olentangy Plaza, can create their own boil or choose one of three "house" combos: the Pacific ($34), one pound each of snow crab legs and shrimp; the Gulf ($35), one pound each of crawfish, shrimp and mussels; and the New England ($45), one lobster and and a pound of snow crab.
All combos are served with a choice of two add-ons and feed two to three people, Cho said.
Other seafood is sold at market price.
Sheng said the restaurant makes its own spice mixtures for the boils. They come in mild, medium and hot, but an extra-hot version is not available yet, Sheng said.
"I still have reservations about serving that," he said.
The menu includes a few sides and fried items but the boils are the focus, Cho said.
"We wanted to keep our focus on what we know about, which is the seafood," she said.
The restaurant seats 72. A full liquor license is expected to be in place in the next week or so.
Kai's joins another restaurant offering a similar style of dining, Boiling Seafood Crawfish, just down the street at 1446 Bethel Road.
It's difficult to call it a central Ohio trend at this point, but Cho and Sheng expect that to change.
Cho said she worked at a crab-boil restaurant in Chicago and within 18 months, there were six more.
"It's just all about getting people to know about it," she said.
Kai's Crab Boil is open 4 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 4 to 10:30 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, call 614-869-0652.
Tomatillos Authentic Mexican will have a sweet component at the new restaurant in Linworth.
The fast-casual Mexican restaurant is teaming up with Diamonds Ice Cream -- known for its fresh-made ice cream, paletas and cakes -- at 2285 W. Dublin-Granville Road.
Tomatillos is expected to open this week.
Sergio Munoz, a partner in the 100-seat restaurant, said the main focus is on tacos, both gourmet ($3 each) and traditional ($2.50 each), in addition to a half-dozen homemade salsas.
An example of a gourmet taco is the "Texas barbecue," with shredded pork, bacon, barbecue cole slaw and cilantro.
Burritos, a smattering of entrees and appetizers round out the menu, Munoz said.
"Everything's fresh and made every day," he said. "It's pretty simple but a lot of flavor."
Meanwhile, the eatery will be Diamonds' third retail spot; its other locations are on Bethel Road in Columbus and in Hilliard.
Central Ohio's second Crafted Drafts opened Feb. 6 at 4485 Cemetery Road in Hilliard.
As with the original location, at 5245 N. Hamilton Road in northeast Columbus, the new retail beer store will have 700 brews, including a massive single-bottle selection so consumers can create their own six-packs.
In addition, the Hilliard location will offer four beers on tap for growler fills.
The Carvery, 51 E. Gay St., has closed.