Despite Ohio's COVID-19 coronavirus-related ban on dining in at restaurants, new restaurateur Manal Ibrahim has been making lemonade out of lemons.

Editor's note: In the wake of Gov. Mike DeWine's March 15 order to close Ohio's bars and restaurants to diners because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, restaurants still were able to operate via carryout service and delivery. Check for updates about any new restrictions during the pandemic.

Despite Ohio's COVID-19 coronavirus-related ban on dining in at restaurants, new restaurateur Manal Ibrahim has been making lemonade out of lemons.

She has partnered with Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub to deliver her healthful and made-from-scratch food.

But her first obstacle in launching Oil & Thyme -- Healthy Sandwich Shop in northwest Columbus -- hiring employees -- no longer is a hindrance.

Since the shop opened on Feb. 12 at 2910 Hayden Road, Ibrahim said, she had job candidates who did not show up for the interview or call back after inquiring about the job.

Then Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued an executive order March 15 prohibiting restaurants from offering dine-in services -- limiting food sales to carryout and delivery -- to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

"You know, because I'm Palestinian, it's always a rough situation," Ibrahim said. "When I started this job, I knew it would not be easy."

Her lack of employees means she did not have to lay off anyone.

Besides, she said, she loves to cook meals from scratch. She said she will ride out the storm while making her brand of food.

"I think this is best for me," she said. "I am always an optimist and believe things happen for a reason."

The menu offers dishes ranging from tabbouleh to fatayer, a spinach pie.

It also includes sandwiches, wraps, soups, cold spreads and rice dishes, such as ozy-seasoned basmati rice with carrots and peas, with a topping of ground beef and almonds as an option.

Her specialties include "power bites" -- dates bound with toasted oatmeal and hand-pressed until round. Another version offers dates in cocoa powder.

Her desserts, such as chia and semolina puddings, aren't overly sweet, Ibrahim said.

If a customer wants a specialty dish, Ibrahim said, she is up for the challenge.

"We found that people want to customize," she said.

Most recently, she stuffed red and orange bell peppers with ground beef and other fillings.

Beverage options include fresh-pressed vegetable and fruit drinks, smoothies and shakes, as well as an array of coffee drinks, made from beans ground on premises.

Oil & Thyme is in a recessed storefront in the Hayden Run Plaza, a strip center west of Sawmill Road.

The 70-seat restaurant, which has another 20 on the patio, is casual and open, with the meal-prep area and cold cases at the center of the space.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 614-659-7168.


The region's fourth Eat Greek is open and curb-friendly for carryout customers, said Joe Youssef, a partner in the business.

Featuring a wide-ranging menu of Greek fare, the restaurant occupies a storefront near Dublin at 5720 Frantz Road, which has seen a number of restaurants come and go over the years.

Eat Greek, part of a family-run group of restaurants, covers all the basics, such as gyros, homemade pastitsio and grilled lamb.

Youssef said favorites include the chicken shawarma, hummus and baklava, recommended with a cup of stiff Mediterranean coffee.


Tupelo Doughnuts is getting in touch with its savory side.

The Columbus-based artisan shop has found a new use for its doughnut batter: bread for sandwiches.

Three options use the homespun dough, which is baked, not fried. They are: breakfast (egg, bacon, arugula, Swiss and Dijon mayo sauce), vegetarian (zucchini fritter, portobello mushrooms and chipotle mayo) and turkey (roasted red pepper, Swiss and arugula on doughnut focaccia with pesto).


Sandwiches are available at a few local coffee shops, such as Global Gallery Coffee Shop, 3535 N. High St. in Clintonville; Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea, 4541 N. High St, also in Clintonville; and Community Grounds, 1134 Parsons Ave. in south Columbus.

Also, pickup orders may be placed online at for the Tupelo kitchen, 2672 Billingsley Road in Columbus, near Dublin, or the roving food truck, which has a schedule available online.