Clintonville Community Market is alive, well and cooking

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

Plopped in the middle of a residential neighborhood, the Clintonville Community Market is hidden in plain sight. The sustainable grocery and provisions shop is so low key that one nearby resident recently admitted to Trish Clark, who handles marketing for the market and is a longtime co-op member herself, that she had no idea it was there.

In an effort to remedy its esoteric existence, and to attract potential new members, the Clintonville Community Market, located at 200 Crestview Road, has reopened its kitchen and cafe counter, now cooking up hot sandwiches for lunch and dinner, $2 tacos all day Tuesdays and weekend brunch.

Leading the kitchen is chef Justin Boldizar-a virtual one-man operation who moves swiftly from a panini press to an induction burner behind a baker's rack that separates the one-table dining area from the kitchen. Boldizar came to the market from previous stints at Ethyl & Tank and Knead. You can also expect to see market general manager Adam Fleischer, a chef by training, helping in the kitchen.

A long and narrow chalkboard to the left of the kitchen details the lineup for the day with every dish costing $7.50. By design, the food is as seasonal as what's selling in the aisles of the market, because all the sourcing for the kitchen comes directly from the grocery.

"We had a lot of food waste," Clark says. Rather than discounting produce nearing its expiration date, they're transferring it to the kitchen for chef Justin Boldizar to use. He's transformed fruit into toppings for French toast and soy yogurt into vegan parfaits. Items that can't be used in the kitchen are given to a local gardener for composting. The market, Clark adds, is now operating at zero waste.

"It was so obvious we needed to showcase a lot of the food on the floor," Clark says. "The kitchen, in the past, used to primarily prepare a lot of deli items and sandwiches that were cold. We wanted to utilize the kitchen to have more of a culinary influence over the co-op."

For a recent brunch, Boldizar was offering creamy and crisp French Toast with an apple cinnamon compote, Chocolate Cookie Pancakes and a savory Veggie Frittata filled with spring mushrooms, caramelized onions and peppers and brightened with fresh parsley.

The focus is more sandwich heavy for lunch and dinner with hot options like a spicy Vegan Chorizo Wrap with guacamole, a BLT topped with a fried egg and garlic aioli and a pleasantly rich Pulled Pork with spring greens and an oniony mayo on crusty old world bread.

After you order directly to Boldizar, take a seat at the community table or wander the market to get a jump on grocery shopping. Here, you'll find bulk herbs, fair trade coffee, beer and wine, produce, sustainable meats, and a range of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free items.

By becoming a member of the co-op, you can earn 2 to 5 percent off every purchase. Simply inquire at the checkout for details.

The kitchen is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tue-Fri, 3-7 p.m. Sat, brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat-Sun.