Restaurant openings, closings and more Central Ohio food and drink news

Openings and Announcements

Freedom a la Cart, a local nonprofit that empowers and employs survivors of human trafficking, announced plans this week to open a flagship café and bakery at 123 E. Spring St. in Downtown Columbus. The space will also include “Freedom Home,” 2,500 square feet of programming and office spaces aimed at supporting survivors. “In less than 10 years, we’ve seen Freedom a la Cart evolve from a food cart to a successful catering operation, and now, a full-service cafe and community resource center,” said Paula Haines, the organization’s executive director, in a press release. Under the direction of consulting chef BJ Lieberman, Freedom a la Cart Cafe + Bakery will serve fresh-baked pastries, scratch-made meals and locally roasted coffee during breakfast and lunch hours. Freedom’s catering business will also move to the Spring Street location. Look for the full-service café and survivor resource center to open next summer.

Zaftig Brewing Co.’s new brewpub opened this week at 119 E. Fifth Ave. in Italian Village. The official grand opening celebration takes place Saturday, Dec. 7. Owners Jim Gokenbach and Jason Blevins launched the Worthington-based brewery in 2014, with an emphasis on big, high-gravity brews. Zaftig’s new taproom and restaurant is located in the mixed-use Beeker building. 

Powell’s Vittoria Ristorante & Bar (10241 Sawmill Pkwy.) has changed owners and has a new name. The owner of La Scala, William Lalli, and his son, Nick, have renamed the restaurant Vittoria Prime Italian Steakhouse and refreshed the menu, adding entrées such as a 16-ounce, bone-in rib-eye and Chilean sea bass.

The Mix, a restaurant serving the rare combination of Peruvian and Somali cuisines, is now open at 4362 Karl Road on the North Side. Its specialty is pollo a la brasa, Peruvian-style chicken dry rubbed with spices and then roasted over charcoal. Somali sambusas are also offered, with more Somali dishes on the way soon.

A Short North location of Cincinnati-based Macaron Bar opened last week at 668 N. High St., formerly Fount. The bakery sells one thing: French macarons. The new spot will operate as a pop-up through the holidays and later add a full-blown commercial kitchen. Flavors range from the traditional—coffee and pistachio—to more creative flavors such as birthday cake and mimosa.

The Crispy Coop, a new venture from the owners of Uncle Nick’s Fried Chicken in Grandview, is expected to open in January at 1717 Northwest Blvd., previously Acre. Uncle Nick’s ended its run this week after five years at 1333 Northwest Blvd. The new spot will continue offering the same fried chicken that Uncle Nick’s became known for, a style developed at Buena Vista Café in Warren, Ohio. The Crispy Coop will also offer new menu items, including Nashville hot chicken and sandwiches.

The 6-month-old English pub Geordie’s Restaurant (1586 S. High St.) recently launched a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

A new food truck offering Filipino food is now serving customers on the West Side. Masarap, meaning “it’s delicious,” serves dishes such as lumpia, pancit and chicken adobo. You can find the truck parked at 4385 Clime Rd. in front of HomeBuys.

Events

Miracle, a kitschy holiday-themed cocktail pop-up, has returned to The Citizens Trust, the swanky Downtown bar at 11 W. Gay St. This year’s Miracle includes a blow-up igloo—seriously. The pop-up runs through Dec. 31.

Watershed Distillery’s family-friendly Nocino Fest will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, in celebration of the distillery’s barrel-finished nocino. Attendees will get the chance to tour the distillery (1145 Chesapeake Ave.) and try nocino-infused treats and cocktails from Watershed Kitchen & Bar.

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