Review: Clintonville Community Market is alive and well (and serving brunch)

G.A. Benton, Columbus Alive

Revamped Clintonville Community Market is literally cooking again - and has begun serving a flavor-packed and refreshingly inexpensive brunch. In other words, paraphrasing Mark Twain's famous rejoinder to a flawed newspaper article about his death, reports of the market's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

In case you hadn't heard, the market experienced some turmoil over the past year. But new leadership and a makeover have rendered the little boutique-grocer-that-could roomier and more user-friendly than ever. Included in this rejuvenation is a reopened kitchen.

So along with organic produce and smartly curated beers, wines, bulk-sold grains, spices, herbs, healthy snacks, desserts and a hell of a lot more, now you can pop in for deli sandwiches and homemade soups during the week, and brunch on the weekend.

Manning the burners is Justin Boldizar, formerly of Knead and Ethyl & Tank. That guy was a virtual perpetual motion machine of a one-man band when I came in on a recent Saturday.

Opposite his cooking/ordering station, there's a massive table - communal of course - where in-the-know locals were digging into Boldizar's specials (hulking entrees for only $7.50). That day's chalkboard offered a vegan wrap, "chocolate cookie pancakes with Ohio syrup," and the following dishes my crew and I inhaled.

A whopping and delicious breakfast sandwich crammed with seared chicken sausage links, fried egg, mesclun greens, flavorful tomatoes and unifying aioli. The goodies were encased in alluringly panini-pressed "country sour" bread from Dan the Baker. Yeah, that's a winning combination.

Ditto for the medley of concentrated vegetables and eggs that composed the veggie frittata. Presented like a surging triangular waveform, the frittata wedges contained at least as much vegetables - roasted peppers, tomatoes, caramelized onions, broccolini and garlic - as ova.

I also tried the French toast. This time, Dan's hearty and crusty bread was adorned with a bright and intense, sweet-tart berry compote. Thick Chantilly cream (like excellent vanilla ice cream) and a gentle pollen dusting contributed counterpoints.

Classic blues recordings accompanied the comforting food, and the early spring sun was streaming in. The free-trade coffee was good and hot. And this friendly, natural food-focused market was once again pulsing with the heartbeat of a proudly progressive community.

Clintonville Community Market

200 Crestview Rd., Clintonville

614-261-3663

communitymarket.org