Restaurant review: Black Brick Bar

G.A. Benton, Columbus Alive
Photo by Tim Johnson

Past the slick, pop art depiction of a pizza decorating the entrance lies a spare, modern interior equipped with garage doors opening onto a roomy, Short North patio. Tunes from the likes of Wilco and Muddy Waters emanate from the place's speakers, except when local musicians are playing no-cover sets on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Over at the eight-seater bar, 10 Ohio craft drafts are offered, including selections from brewing companies such as Seventh Son, Wolf's Ridge, Zauber, Actual and Kindred. If craving the hard stuff, several house cocktails are shaken with local liquors. Yup, I'm describing a Donatos. Wait, what?

Actually, it's something new from Donatos: a two-fer establishment comprising a hooch operation called Black Brick Bar (currently exclusive to Columbus) conjoined to an enhanced Donatos pizzeria that features a few items you can't get elsewhere in Ohio right now (the only other Donatos modeled after this prototype - so far - recently opened in Nashville). If you think this sounds a little confusing, I agree.

The hard-to-differentiate restaurant and bar have separate entrances - and separate servers and separate cash registers - but you can order food and adult beverages at either station. There is electronic communication between the two entities, but it makes more sense to order food from the food side and booze from the booze side. So I did, and here's how it went. (P.S. not only were the servers here efficient, but they were among the friendliest I've encountered lately.)

After knocking back an easy-to-drink Black Brick Honey Bourbon cocktail ($9) livened by citrus and a big rosemary sprig and starring OYO Michelone Reserve bourbon whiskey - a small-batch spirit created by blending OYO's wheated whiskey with Kentucky bourbon - I dug into a few only-here (and Nashville) items.

One was a garlic-scented pizza with an assertive brininess and a lengthy name: Vegan It's Greek To Me ($10.49). As that title suggests, it's made with Daiya vegan "cheese" and contains Greek salad-type ingredients - sliced green and black olives, tomatoes, onions, banana peppers and green peppers. Supporting the veggies is an "organic, non-GMO" multigrain crust that's similar to but less crisp than Donatos' standard crackery base.

I also tried the Family-Style Meatballs ($4). Although I seriously doubt the pleasant, cheese-and-sauce-covered, puck-like pieces are cooked to order by a real chef, they are undoubtedly a really good value.

Black Brick Bar

917 N. High St.,

Short North