Table Talk: Dough Mama rolls into Columbus' Brewery District

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
Perrie Wilkof works in the kitchen of her restaurant, Dough Mama, 730 S. High St. in Columbus, on Sept. 30.

Dough Mama still is out to prove that its pies are upper crust.

On Aug. 29, owner and chief baker Perrie Wilkof opened her second location, replacing Kolache Republic at 730 S. High St. in Columbus' Brewery District.

Just shy of five years ago, Wilkof opened her original shop at 3335 N. High St. in Clintonville.

Wilkof acknowledges that she’s an unlikely restaurateur.

“I had never run a restaurant or even managed one,” she said.

The COVID-19 coronavirus put the brakes on an attempt to open in the North Market Bridge Park in Dublin. And although Wilkof had admired the Kolache Republic space from afar, it wasn’t available initially.

Customers are seen outside of Dough Mama restaurant, 730 S. High St. in Columbus, on Sept. 30.

“I always wanted to be on this block,” she said, with Antiques on High, Local Cantina, Law Bird, Ambrose and Eve and other destinations just a few doors away.

And then the space became vacant, with Kolache Republic moving down the street to take over the Daily Growler’s kitchen at 702 S. High St.

Almost immediately, the “for lease” sign came down once again – but only temporarily. When the space was back on the market, Wilkof struck.

The small interior is mostly white, with light-colored wooden floors, a semi-open kitchen and a big bay window at the store’s entrance.

The restaurant has been offering only carryout and delivery, with seating for 12 on the patio, but Wilkof plans to open the interior for dining when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, she said.

The menu includes scones, muffins, biscuits, seasonal quiche, dessert options and, of course, pies – among them maple bourbon pecan, seasonal custard and honey apple.

Savory options include sausage-apple pot pie and macaroni and cheese.

“The pot pies are big,” Wilkof said. “They’re enough for two, I’d say.”

Most individual items are $7 to $12. Pie slices generally are $5; whole pies are $34.

The Clintonville and Brewery District shops have some differences. One is early dinner hours, with plenty of hearty fare, at the South High Street location.

Wilkof revived a classic tuna-noodle casserole, with the kind of homespun quality that kids from the 1970s might remember well.

“It’s actually based on my grandma’s recipe” – cream-of-mushroom soup, egg noodles, canned tuna and French’s Crispy Fried Onions, she said.

Brice Knapp cooks at Dough Mama restaurant, 730 S. High St. in Columbus, on Sept. 30.

The Brewery District restaurant also has a new espresso machine that allows for an expansive coffee menu.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call 614-826-0688.

La Scala bids arrivederci

La Scala, the iconic Dublin Italian restaurant that has served countless wedding receptions, proms and high school reunions, is closing Oct. 31.

Nick Lalli, son of former chef William “Willi” Lalli, who eventually bought the business, said COVD-19 restrictions have forced the closing of the banquet rooms, which made up a huge percentage of the restaurant’s sales.

“The restaurant can’t carry the whole place on its own,” he said.

La Scala restaurant at 4199 W. Dublin-Granville Road in Dublin, is closing.

A COVID-19 infection claimed the life of William Lalli in July. Nick Lalli, a partner in the business, said it was his intention to keep La Scala open. Their second restaurant, Vittoria, remains open.

Meanwhile, Mike Ciotola, whose family owns the La Scala property at 4199 W. Dublin-Granville Road, said he plans to find a restaurateur who will maintain the heritage of La Scala.

The business was founded in 1972 by Ciotola's father, Benny, and Richard Corna. Maria Ciotola, Benny’s wife, was instrumental in the business, having built the menu on her family’s recipes from Italy.

The restaurant was known for its three banquet facilities, which could accommodate up to 400 guests if the partitions were removed, Nick Lalli said.

Although the state allowed for up to 300 patrons, the COVID-19 restrictions came at a high cost, he said.

Almost all the largest parties postponed their reservations; others reduced their group size by significant percentages, Nick Lalli said.

And the reservation book isn’t filling up for next year.

“They’re not looking at 2021,” Nick Lalli said of banquet guests. “They’re looking at '22.”

La Scala’s front dining room was rearranged over the years. A former balcony at the center of the dining was closed off and turned into a 180-seat banquet room.

The 230-seat front dining room has been reduced to 110 seats, per COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines, which isn’t enough to carry the freight of La Scala without maximum occupancy every night, Nick Lalli said.

He thanked the community for its decades of loyal patronage.

“Please come see us this last month,” he said. “Everybody has great stories about La Scala and we’d love to hear them.”

New pizza place 'grandfathered' in

Grandad’s Pizza & Pub is replacing Morone’s Italian Village in the Bethel Centre in northwest Columbus.

Cindi and Charles Hackney, who own Grandad’s Pizza & Pub in Hilliard and Grandad’s Pizza, a carryout near Grandview Heights, said they are creating a full-service restaurant that has a bar and full pizzeria menu at 1490 Bethel Road.

Cindi Hackney said the couple is knocking down a wall to create a 3,200-square-foot space.

She said COVID-19 has put the restaurant’s plan on hold for several months because the couple couldn’t obtain building permits. She said it’s unclear when it would open.

Barrio is on a roll

Barrio Tacos has just opened a local restaurant and plans to add a food truck in 2021.

The Cleveland-based casual taco joint, now at 1416 W. Fifth Ave. in Columbus Fifth by Northwest neighborhood, will roll out the truck March 1. Those who want to book an event may do so at barrio-tacos.com/foodtruck.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary