Memphis-style chicken coming to the Short North

Anthony Dominic, Crave

It's been nearly a decade since Mary Lyski moved from Memphis, Tennessee, to Central Ohio, but she never stopped craving Southern cuisine-especially spicy, Memphis-style fried chicken. So she turned to her background in corporate hospitality and decided to open a restaurant of her own.

Double Comfort is set to open mid-July at 505 N. High St. -the former home of Knead diner, which closed in March-across from the Greater Columbus Convention Center. In addition to chicken and po'boys, expect sides like cornbread with sizzled bacon grease and salads with seasonal greens from Sippel Family Farm in Mount Gilead. A weekend breakfast menu will also offer fried chicken waffles, ham and cheese biscuits, quiche and yogurt. As owner-manager, Lyski is still filling out her staff, including the role of executive chef.

Call-ahead carryout will be available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but Lyski says it'll be worth sticking around for your meal. The space is sit-down casual, with 65 seats inside and another 20 on the High Street patio. Barn wood walls and trim abound, and Mount Vernon Barn Company is supplying custom benches.

There will also be a full bar with local drafts from Seventh Son Brewing Co. and Four String Brewing Co. Right now, Lyski plans to stay open until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, but she says hours may extend if there's demand. The restaurant will be open every day but Monday.

In addition to serving Southern staples, Double Comfort is founded on one of Lyski's other passions: philanthropy. Save for overhead expenses, nearly all of the restaurant's business will benefit a Central Ohio food pantry. In the restaurant's first six months, proceeds will go to Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

While Lyski is excited about the restaurant's "buy a meal, give a meal" design, Double Comfort is a restaurant first. "It has to be a successful business," she says. "We want to become a landmark place-the place you go for real fried-chicken in Columbus."