Jacob Hough and Patrick Marker, who worked side by side for nearly a decade, have opened Alqueria Farmhouse Kitchen in Columbus' University District.
Two months ago, the former chefs at Barcelona Restaurant and Bar in German Village decided to strike out on their own, creating a "new American, rustically refined menu," Hough said.
"We want to do things that are accessible but things people will appreciate," Marker said.
Alqueria replaces Angry Baker at 247 King Ave., just west of North High Street.
Warm with earth tones and reclaimed wood, the 60-seat interior features antique fixtures, a quilted-pattern mural, original artwork and a small bar.
Both Hough and Marker designed the menu and take turns running the kitchen and the front of the house.
At lunch, customers can get Nashville-style hot chicken over a savory waffle with ham and cheddar. It is drizzled with dill buttermilk sauce and topped with horseradish pickles for a spicy counterpoint.
Grilled cheese has an adult contemporary edge, with the addition of applewood-smoked duck, pickled onions and Havarti cheese on buttered sourdough. It is served with seasoned fries.
The dinner menu is a hearty affair, with such dishes as buttermilk fried chicken over mascarpone potato puree, a cassoulet with smoked duck breast, pork belly and chorizo links, and a crispy braised pork shank that is flash-fried and glazed with a Korean barbecue sauce.
"We knew we were opening in winter so that was the thought behind the menu," Hough said.
The menu also has plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans, including salads, a green hummus spread (made with young chickpeas for an earthier flavor), a beet carpaccio starter and a farro entree with roasted squash, parsnips, onions, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms.
Most entrees are $12 to $28.
The word alqueria means farmhouse in Spanish, a nod to their former employer, Scott Heimlich, and Barcelona.
Though the menu doesn't have a tremendous amount of Spanish flair, it has the occasional touch, such as charred octopus with fried potatoes and a sofrito verde.
The full bar has a small selection of craft beers on tap, a hand-picked wine list and several craft cocktails created by bar manager Michael Marson.
The restaurant itself, which has seen some turnover in recent years, is in a walkable neighborhood with a growing food scene north of Columbus' Short North.
"I feel we're in a good space," Hough said.
Lunch hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and dinner hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; the restaurant is closed Sundays. For more information, call 614-824-5579.
General Tso's Chinese Restaurant, a quaint little northwest Columbus eatery, will close Saturday, Feb. 23.
Fur Tang and his wife, Chun Shen, who have owned the restaurant for 25 years, said they are retiring.
Tang said another operator would open a different restaurant at 5227 Godown Road, but he does not know what the new owner has planned.
Chicken Salad Chick's first Ohio restaurant is expected to open this spring at 687 Worthington Road, Westerville.
Franchisee Jen Crichfield of Buckeye Chick LLC will own and operate the local Chicken Salad Chick, a Southern-inspired, fast-casual chicken-salad restaurant concept. Crichfield's father, Larry Romanoff, a 43-year veteran of the Ohio State University's athletics department, will serve as her operations partner.
Based in Auburn, Alabama, the restaurant chain is known for a dozen original chicken-salad flavors, as well as fresh side salads, gourmet soups, signature sandwiches and desserts.
CoreLife Eatery's third Columbus location opened Feb. 15 at 17 E. Lane Ave. near Ohio State University.
CoreLife, known for its healthful greens, grains and broth-based dishes, will be in the Wilson Place building at the northeast corner of Lane and North High Street.