Columbus Monthly’s Best New Restaurants: Wario’s Beef and Pork
An Arena District walk-up becomes a word-of-mouth hit.
During his stint with A&R Creative Group, chef Stephan Madias could be found grinding meat and casing sausages at The Market Italian Village or spotted through a haze in front of Clintonville’s The Crest Gastropub, tending his smoker. So the arrival of his new protein-heavy walk-up, Wario’s, should come as no surprise. Opening a new restaurant is daring, but opening a new restaurant during a pandemic, in an eventless Arena District, with only outdoor seating as the cold months settle in, is even more so. But Madias’ knowledge and tenacity have rightfully made Wario’s a word-of-mouth hit.
Madias says the idea came together quickly in late 2020. He was consulting for a friend who saw the takeout window recently vacated by Arena Sandwich Co. and wanted to keep it going as a sandwich shop. Madias and his business partner opened Wario’s in early October, with the goal of creating “the best sandwich shop in the city,” Madias says. He drew the name from the arch-nemesis of Nintendo’s popular Mario character.
If you haven’t spied Wario’s massive sandwiches on social media yet, one glance will show why they’re Instagram darlings. The monster creations, enhanced by beautifully crafted rolls from local bakery Matija Breads, are bursting at the seams. Sandwich purists should start with The Steak, loaded with shaved rib-eye, onion and housemade Cheez Whiz. Ask for it “Wario’s Way” to add American cheese, provolone and more Whiz. Or go for the chicken cutlet sandwich, a breaded-and-fried cutlet folded over so many times you can’t get your mouth around it. The small but powerful menu is full of standouts: the classic cold cut sandwich with ham, soppressata and coppa salami; the Philadelphia-famous roasted pork with broccoli rabe; the falafel with pickled onion, cucumber and greens. Don’t forget a hefty order of fragrant, crispy house spuds blanketed with Parmesan and herbs.
And Madias is just getting warmed up. Soon enough he’ll park his smoker outside and begin crafting pastrami, sausages and other delicious eats. If he set out to create the best sandwich shop in the city, he’s off to a solid start.
Wario’s Beef and Pork, 111 W. Nationwide Blvd., Arena District, 614-914-8338