Drew Cleary is ruling a new roost in Columbus, near Upper Arlington.
The former owner of Uncle Nick's Greek Fried Chicken has rebranded his restaurant as the Crispy Coop and relocated to 1717 Northwest Blvd., a few blocks north of his former digs at 1333 Northwest Blvd. It is in a standalone storefront that most recently was occupied by Acre.
"Our menu is simple," Cleary said. "We got rid of the pizza, gyros and all of that stuff. We're doing what we do best -- fried chicken."
He still uses a proprietary recipe, a light breading developed at Uncle Nick's in the Buena Vista Cafe in Warren, Ohio, but he also has developed a mild Nashville-style sauce, as well as a hot version.
The Crispy Coop uses Ohio-raised, hormone- and GMO-free chicken that is brined 24 hours before being pressure-fried in soybean oil.
"That's how we make the meat so moist," Cleary said.
The restaurant serves individual pieces of chicken, as well as chicken dinners and chicken tenders prepared in the same manner. A chicken sandwich has been added to the lineup.
No menu items are more than $11.
The move also resulted in the development of classic sides, including greens, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and cornbread.
Jojos, or potato wedges, remain on the menu. Otherwise known as Texas potatoes, they are dredged in the same dry mixture as the chicken and deep-fried.
They are served with hot, barbecue and ranch dipping sauces.
Nothing is frozen; the restaurant does not even have a freezer, Cleary said.
Cleary, who brought in Xuegong Chen of Poke Bros. as a partner, said he did not change much in the interior of the space, which is bright and seats 60. He plans to expand the patio this year.
They are working to acquire a full liquor license, Cleary said.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call 614-481-4040.
Meanwhile, Tamo's Pizzeria has replaced Uncle Nick's Greek Fried Chicken at 1333 Northwest Blvd.
It follows the tradition of New York-style pizzas, with thin crusts from dough tossed on the premises.
Tamo's also offers homemade calzones, stromboli and "napolina," a style of stuffed pizza using a thin crust on the top and bottom.
Appetizers, salads, wings, subs and pasta dinners also are available.
Gallo's on High will fill the hole left by Little Eater at 4215 N. High St. in Clintonville.
Part of the Gallo's family of restaurants -- including Gallo's Tap Room locations in northwest Columbus and Powell and Gallo's Kitchen and Bar in Upper Arlington -- the new upscale-casual restaurant will serve pasta, pan-seared steaks and other Italian- and French-influenced cuisine.
A May opening is expected, chef Libby Norris said.
Norris said customers familiar with the Gallo's restaurants can expect "new food, new recipes and newer styles," including bread and desserts made from scratch.
Gallo's on High will seat 85 to 90 inside and another 20 or so on the patio; it also will have a bar.
The plan is to be open for lunch and dinner through the week and for brunch and dinner on Saturdays. The restaurant will be closed Sundays, Norris said.
In related news, Gallo's Kitchen and Bar, 2820 Nottingham Road, is expanding into an adjacent storefront to the west.
Nick Gallo, a partner in the restaurant chain, said the 450-square-foot addition will be home to a wine room and spillover seating on busy nights. It also will be available for private events.
Construction has started and should take about six weeks, Gallo said.
Louisiana-style seafood boils are getting easier to find in central Ohio.
The latest one to open is Jay's Crab Boil & Oyster Bar, at 10705 Blacklick-Eastern Road NW in Pickerington.
Seafood options run the gamut -- lobster tails, crawfish and crab -- and no fewer than seven styles of oysters are offered most of the time, according to owner Jay Zheng.
The boiled-seafood dinners are served with potatoes, eggs, corn and two pieces of sausage.