A fundraiser for the Columbus Historical Society, this quarterly Historical Dinner Club series, which kicked off with the Kahiki, recreates the heyday of a different shuttered iconic Columbus restaurant each time.
As guests arrive for dinner at Alana's Food and Wine, they are greeted with a cocktail in a tiki glass, fog from the dry ice inside pouring over the sides.
For this one night in October, the North Campus restaurant has been transformed into the Kahiki Supper Club, the Polynesian favorite that closed in 2000 but is still remembered for its mystery drinks. Servers, dressed as islanders, deliver a three-course meal to 40 nostalgic patrons, anxious for a taste of the East Side restaurant's original menu, recreated for one night by chef Alana Shock.
A fundraiser for the Columbus Historical Society, this quarterly Historical Dinner Club series, which kicked off with the Kahiki, recreates the heyday of a different shuttered iconic Columbus restaurant each time. Each dinner is preceded by cocktails and a brief presentation from a local historian on the esteemed institution.
While history is at its core, each affair is "more about the food and the memories," says Jeff Lafever, director of the Columbus Historical Society. Guests swap stories while savoring old favorite meals-dishes Shock mimicks as closely as possible.
Next up is the Jai Lai, whose second location on Olentangy River Road (the original opened in 1933 on North High Street Downtown) was a banquet behemoth when it opened in 1955.
Shock will again welcome those with a ticket ($125 apiece) into her restaurant on Jan. 21 for a sampling of the steakhouse's extensive menu, including the restaurant's famous Cesta Salad and ice cream eclair. Though Lafever is tight-lipped about what the presentation will entail, Shock has an artifact to share: She has a portion of the original Jai Lai bar in her restaurant.
"It's a lot of fun because these people come out of the woodwork and say, 'I have a menu from this place from 40 years ago,' " Shock says. "And I've been to these places. I arrived in Columbus early enough to have been to all of them." She hints The Clarmont and Lazarus' Chintz Room are also on deck for reincarnation this year.
For tickets, visit columbushistory.org or historicaldinnerclub.com.