The Columbus Museum of Art decided that its cafe was worthy of a colorful showcase all its own.

The Schokko Cafe recently reopened with a fresh tagline -- "curated cuisine" -- and a new chef who sought to create a menu tied to the mission of the museum, 480 E. Broad St.

"I think we all kind of agree food is part of the art here, and we want it to be an exhibit," chef Laura Richmond said.

The cafe's name was taken from a model in a painting by Alexej Georgewitsch von Jawlensky. The artist nicknamed the model "Schokko" because of her fondness for hot chocolate -- or "schokolade" in German.

A reproduction of "Schokko with Red Hat" -- the original is part of the museum's permanent collection -- is on display in the entrance of the cafe.

Such an image deserved to be memorialized with a deluxe hot chocolate at the cafe, Richmond said.

A raft of Swiss meringue floats in the center of the beverage, combining Valrhona Manjari chocolate and ganache, with a paper-thin homemade graham cracker served on the side.

"We call it the Boom Schokkolatte," Richmond said.

Pastry chef Blaine Smith is adding to the sweet attractions. For example, Smith is creating a truffle of the week. A recent selection was a candied-bacon dark-chocolate truffle.

Richmond is focused on the savory side of the menu, crafting such dishes as salmon en papillote, which offers the kind of presentation worthy of a trip to a museum, she said. The fish is wrapped inside parchment paper and baked with rice and seasonal vegetables.

"It has dazzle," she said. "It's got theater. It's artful."

The cafe's everyday burger is far from ordinary, she said, because it uses grass-fed Ohio beef short ribs.

"Even with simple things, we do them right," Richmond said.

The Caesar salad uses kale that is marinated in olive oil, chili flake, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to take away some of the bitterness of the leaves. The kale is tossed in a classic Caesar dressing, with sourdough croutons and Parmesan crisps on top.

Richmond also recommends avocado toast with house-cured salmon and avocado, homemade bread and butter with strawberry-and-thyme jam, and vegan mango gazpacho that leans more toward savory than sweet.

She said the freshly made dishes are priced to suit most budgets, with items $4 to $12.

Schokko emerged from the Palette Cafe, which was closed in 2010 when the historic building that is the home of the art musuem was renovated.

Palette was replaced by Schokko Art Cafe, which was operated by Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. Although the museum and Cameron Mitchell have parted company on the cafe, the local restaurant group still provides catering services at some events.

Most recently, Schokko was closed for two months while the kitchen was recast.

The 70-seat cafe offers a spacious dining area, with a wooden floor, open kitchen and a sliding window wall that opens to a patio overlooking the sculpture garden.

Melissa Ferguson, a spokeswoman for the museum, said she likes Richmond's direction.

"I think 'curated cuisine' says it all," Ferguson said. "It's not a 14-page menu. It's everything (the) chef has picked and perfected."

Cafe hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays and closed Mondays.


Two fairly slim men are the owners of the Two Fatt Indians food truck, now parked in front of the Thurber BP gas station at 660 Neil Ave. in Columbus' Victorian Village.

"It's a funny, catchy name," said Amit Kumar, who owns the truck with Raj Sabherwal.

However, they are serious about their North Indian cuisine, such as lamb vindaloo, goat curry, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer and fresh naan. They even had a tandoor oven installed in the food truck.

Entrees are $11 to $14, with some specials costing more, Kumar said.


Breckenridge Brewery's Breck Trek will make a stop in Columbus the week of May 14.

The Littleton, Colorado, brewery will meet central Ohioans by participating in bar crawls, concerts, food pairings and other events.

Breckenridge will be featuring its new Hop Peak IPA, as well as Summer Pils, Nitro Irish Stout, Agave Wheat and Mango Mosaic Pale Ale.

For details, go to