Tastemakers Continue to Push Forward

Erin Edwards
Logan Demmy

Our Tastemakers list is now in its eighth year, and as our family of rising culinary stars continues to grow, so do their accomplishments.

Jane, James and Duncan Forbes, owners of North Country Charcuterie (Class of 2018)

This January, North Country celebrated its first year of operation in its own facility, allowing the mother-and-sons team to ramp up production from 300 pounds of cured meats per week to 300 pounds per day. Since we last caught up with them, the “Salami Squad” has increased its product line from five to 14, including a spreadable chorizo and herbed bresaola. Its Old World-style meats are now sold in 14 states, with Alabama and Georgia joining the list this month.

Dara Schwartz, owner of Darista Dips (Class of 2017)

This year will be a big one for Schwartz, who was recently one of the first vendors announced for the forthcoming Budd Dairy Food Hall from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. Her fast-casual concept, Darista Hummusiya, promises a modern take on the traditional Israeli hummus bar.

Tony Tanner, owner of The Butcher & Grocer (Class of 2017)

The Butcher & Grocer has expanded its offerings to include specialty beer, wine and events. Tanner says 90 percent of the shop’s charcuterie now comes from independent makers who verify that the meat used in their products is farm-sourced. In March, Tanner announced he is partnering with local restaurateurs Rick and Krista Lopez on a new butcher-meets-restaurant concept. Their new business, The Old Spot, will fill the former Harvest Tavern & Pizzeria space at 1099 W. First Ave. Look for a summer opening.

Angela Petro, owner of Sweet Carrot and Together & Company (Class of 2016)

In 2018, Petro’s fast-casual brand Sweet Carrot added Dublin and Polaris locations, which makes three including her Grandview flagship. (Editor's note: On June 10, Petro announced on social media that the Dublin and Polaris locations would close.) In April, her catering company, Two Caterers, rebranded as Together & Company. Founded 22 years ago, the company has grown from two employees to 150 and hosts 3,000 events annually.

Annie Williams Pierce, co-owner of Law Bird (Class of 2015)

The veteran Columbus bartender and her husband, Luke Pierce, are set to open their own bar, Law Bird, this year in the Brewery District at 740 S. High St. The Pierces are planning a wine and cocktail bar that works to debunk “the idea that wine is stuffy and stiff.”

Portia Yiamouyiannis, owner of Portia’s Café (Class of 2015)

Yiamouyiannis, who continues to inspire up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the plant-based realm, is planning to open Portia’s Diner at 3269 N. High St., the former Whole World Natural Restaurant & Bakery space in Clintonville.

Logan Demmy, bar manager at The Citizens Trust (Class of 2014)

After five years bartending at Mouton in the Short North, Demmy headed overseas and worked at Singapore’s 28 HongKong Street, frequently named to the World’s 50 Best Bars list. Demmy is back in Columbus and leading one of the city’s most impressive cocktail bars, The Citizens Trust, at 11 W. Gay St.

Travis Owens, owner of Behind the Glass Consulting (Class of 2012)

Many Columbus cocktail fans met with dread the 2018 closing of Owens’ award-winning bar Curio. Since then, Owens has launched his own beverage consulting company, Behind the Glass. Last year, Owens’ biggest project was developing the cocktail program at Seventh Son Brewing Co.’s new sour brewery, Antiques on High. Owens is reportedly working on Curio 2.0.