The Scoop: Five things to know in Columbus dining news

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

Crave is excited to introduce our weekly column, The Scoop. Every week, our editors dish on five things we're eating, drinking and gabbing about in Columbus food news. Here's the latest from The Rossi, Alana's 16th anniversary celebration, and more events Columbus food lovers won't want to miss.

Saturday was chef Andrew Smith's last day at The Rossi Bar & Kitchen. For almost five years, Smith led the Short North kitchen turning out perennial favorites like New York-style pizza and the Rossi Burger. He also helped steer menu direction at Randy and Tina Corbin's sister restaurants, including Short North dinner Philco. It was just time to move on, Smith says, promising he won't be going far. He'll be sticking around Columbus and hopes to announce a new restaurant concept soon. "There's so much with food I want to do," Smith says. "I'd like to give people an option of a tasting menu-things people aren't really used to seeing in Columbus." In the meantime, he plans to take some time off and host a few pop-up dinners. Rossi co-owner Tina Corbin says they have tapped a new head chef, but are not ready to make a formal announcement.

It's been almost a year since the Northstar Cafe team announced its plans to open a new concept in the former Betty's Fine Food and Spirits space in the Short North. They were mum on details of the coming eatery until this week, revealing it will be a casual Eastern Mediterranean restaurant called Brassica. The hope is to open the restaurant at 680 N. High St. late summer.

Last year, we had a long chat with Worthington Inn chef Tom Smith about the importance of embracing indigenous cuisine. It's not just local food that we're talking about. We mean ingredients native to the Midwest, and dishes firmly rooted in our regional history. It's a movement we're seeing bit by bit in Columbus restaurants-and it's one that will be celebrated in an upcoming five-course dinner hosted by the Columbus Slow Food chapter. On Tuesday, June 30, Tastes of the Midwest will bring together five area chefs-Alana Shock of Alana's Food and Wine, Andrew Smith formerly of The Rossi, Bill Glover of Gallerie Bar and Bistro, Tom Smith of The Worthington Inn, and A. J. Perry of Sassafras Bakery-who will each prepare a course that re-imagines a Midwest classic. We can't wait to see how they elevate dishes like potato-flour dumplings, Johnny Marzetti casserole and sugar cream pie. The cost is $75 per person, plus service charge. The event starts with passed appetizers (including a riff on city chicken) at 6 p.m. at The Worthington Inn.

Alana's Food and Wine turns 16 this weekend, and the Campus restaurant is planning one heck of a special to celebrate. Alana's 16 year anniversary starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 27. The kitchen will be open turning out a menu of $16 small plates meant to share, including copper river salmon croquette, roasted beets with pepper jam, feta and fennel pollen and mushroom satay smoked almond romesco. Also new at Alana's: brunch is now served every Sunday with live music from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; the kitchen now opens at 1 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, along with Kevin's Post-Off Wine Shoppe, offering wine bottles sales.

Anniversary celebrations continue next month as Columbus Food Adventures-the tour group that offers dining enthusiasts a behind the scenes look at area restaurants-turns 5. To mark the occasion, Columbus Food Adventures has partnered with nonprofit Columbus Refugee and Immigrant Services (CRIS) for a series of new tours that delve into Nepalese, Senegalese, Ethiopian and Somali cuisines. Tours will be held on July 21, 22 and 23. All proceeds will benefit CRIS. Head here to sign up for a tour.