When Kent and Tasi Rigsby set out to open a more casual counterpart to the fairly structured Rigsby's Kitchen, they envisioned a funky little breakfast place to serve the Short North neighborhood.
What they got was a popular all-day destination not just for locals, but for people from all over the city who battle the limited parking or even ride their bikes in to enjoy breakfast or lunch in the rustic-chic space.
Named after Mrs. Rigsby, Tasi seats about 40 at a handful of two-tops, communal tables and stools at the bar. Wooden tables sit on concrete floors with red and yellow metal chairs. Floor to ceiling windows let in lots of natural light, while exposed brick and pipes lend to the charm. And prices that are generally in the $6-$8 range make it even more appealing.
The line for breakfast starts early, even on weekends. Diners may find themselves sharing one of the long tables with older folks getting an early start to the day or young
hipsters recovering from a night out.
The coffee alone is reason to come in. It's smooth and silky Illy brand, self-served from thermoses ($2.75). A steady stream of people come in just for the coffee, and maybe a pastry from Eleni-Christina Bakery (owned by the Rigsbys and named after their oldest daughter) to take with them.
But most people dine in, ordering at the counter then snagging a seat. While the line can be long, seats always seem to become available before the food is ready.
What to eat
Breakfast is served all day here, featuring an array of egg items: a Greek scramble with zucchini, tomatoes and feta cheese ($6); a classic egg sandwich with Canadian bacon on a croissant ($7);
or a choice of frittatas, with anything from chorizo and peppers to smoked salmon ($8).
One of the signature breakfast items features eggs in a supporting rather than starring role: French toast made with thick slices of cinnamon challah dunked in egg batter and sauted until golden brown. The bread is then topped with sauteed bananas and Ohio maple syrup, making for a sweet and gooey delight ($7).
Those looking for hash browns can accompany their breakfasts with potato latkes instead, topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh chives ($2.95) or make the potato pancakes a meal topped with smoked salmon ($6.95).
As good as breakfast is, it would be a shame to pass on the lunch offerings, which start at 11 a.m. Customers can choose from sandwiches such as grilled cheddar and tomato on sourdough ($7) to chicken salad with sun-dried tomatoes, feta and black olives on a croissant ($8).
The restaurant also offers a handful of "comfort food classics." Topping the list is an excellent oven-roasted chicken which is juicy and delicious, and made even better doused with the lemon-thyme reduction that is lighter than gravy, but thicker than pan sauce. The chicken comes with perfectly roasted potatoes and a mesclun salad ($10).
Another outstanding option is the bowl of macaroni and cheese ($9), studded with peas and chunks of Black Forest ham. The aged cheddar gives the creamy sauce tons of flavor without being gooey or heavy.
Customers can round out their meal with a bowl of tri-colored slaw ($3) made spicy from the addition of Thai chili sauce in the creamy dressing or skin-on fries with an almost imperceptible dusting of Parmesan and red pepper flakes ($3).
What to drink
Aside from the mugs of coffee, customers can enjoy a glass of prosecco ($6) or have it made into a mimosa with fresh-squeezed orange juice ($6.50). Another option for the breakfast crowd is a Bloody Mary ($6.50) made with a house blend of tomato juice and spices mixed with vodka. Those looking for something nonalcoholic can sip a Boylan's soda ($2.50).
Those who still have room for dessert-and want to get back in line to order, if they didn't think ahead-can choose from a daily assortment of house-baked cookies ($1) such as chocolate chip, gingersnaps or peanut butter; assorted biscotti ($1.25); or a milk shake in vanilla, chocolate or orange cream ($3.25) made from Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
Find out more about Tasi Cafe on ColumbusCrave.com