For 13 years now, Alana Shock has been turning out the very best kind of food: local, seasonal and intensely personal. She's established such a reputation among food- and wine-lovers in this city that she no longer needs to worry about appeasing the masses. Alana's closes down for two weeks each summer while Shock goes on vacation. Her loyal regulars don't think a thing of it.

For 13 years now, Alana Shock has been turning out the very best kind of food: local, seasonal and intensely personal. Sheís established such a reputation among food- and wine-lovers in this city that she no longer needs to worry about appeasing the masses. Alanaís closes down for two weeks each summer while Shock goes on vacation. Her loyal regulars donít think a thing of it.

Alana changes her menu daily. Itís a succinct list of dishes, typically with a seafood option and a meat one, often a risotto, and usually a vegetarian dish or two.

Donít like mushrooms? Too bad. Modifications are accommodated with a frown and an extra charge.

And then, always, thereís a Surprise. The Surprise tempts me almost every visit. Alana famously sweeps the dining room to hand-deliver each diner an amuse-bouche, and sometimes I get the feeling she does that to size up the Surprise orderers. If so, it works. Whatever her creation that night, it always manages to be exactly what I didnít know I was craving.

As a side note, Alanaís opened its doors in 1999, the same year I arrived in Columbus as a college freshman.

So I feel a special kinship with this place, and each June, when Alanaís celebrates its birthday with throwback menus and special prices, I make it a point to head on over, down a bottle of wine and think back fondly on another year gone by.

Photos by Will Shilling