* 01/05/2017 | Rotary Club of Circleville, Ohio, USA | Joseph G. McNemar


Presiding: Pres. Chris Mullins

Prayer: Gary Montgomery

Piano: Don Metzler

Intros: Vince Yaniga

Song: Jim Hooks, Buckeye Fight Song (a mourning version), & second verse of Auld Lang Syne

Absentees: Joe Brown, Connie Chamberlain, Coyan, Crespo, Davis, Dan Delong, Dutton, Elick, Ewing, Charley Gerhardt, Dick Gerhardt, Gilles, Grover, Halm, Jack Hooks, Justinger, Lewis, Bob Liggett, Maroscher, Mavis, Moss, Radcliff, Scherer, Stevens, Stevenson, Stout, Tener, Throckmorton, Vickers, White, Williams

Make-ups: Sunrise - Gary Dean

Visiting Rotarians: None

Guests: Gary Joiner, by Bob McCrady; Mollie Hedges, by Charlie Hedges

January birthdays: 5th - Bob Tootle; 13th - Jim River, Carly Neff; 22nd - Dave Webb; 23rd - Roger Wolfe, Clark Cellio; 24th - Fred Mavis; 25th - Wayne Vickers; 26th - Mike Dutton

January anniversaries: 3rd - Tad Grover; 4th - Tim Throckmorton; 7th - Bob Mabe

Student guests:  None


  • Charlie Hedges: Rotary Foundation update; donations are coming in well, and we have only $2,300 left to make our 2016-2017 yearly goal!
  • Jamie Fountain: Tickets are for sale for PCN's annual Celebrity Roast, at Cook's Creek on 02/25/17 at 7PM.  Celebrity honoree/roastee will be Jeff Sheets.
  • Gary Montgomery: our next Community Soup Kitchen will be on 01/23/17 at Presbyterian Church.  A sign-up sheet is being passed around the room.
  • Pres Chris read two thank-you notes.
  • By e-mail: 
  • Rotary RI will be holding the 2017 RI Convention in Atlanta from June 10-14. The registration cost is $415 .which will end on Dec. 15.  Go to www.rotaryconvention2017.org to register &/or get more details.

SAA: Bob Tootle

   * Trivia quiz regarding college football, & restaurants

   * Fined all January birthdays

Lottery:  Ian Webb had the winning tickets and received $16.  Since the golden bean was not drawn, the jackpot is now $288.

Intro:  Bob Sneed

Speaker(s): Steve Stover, an Upper Arlington graduate, member of the rock band "The Ravens," retired after a successful law career.  He is also passionate about food.  Steve has taught cooking for 35 years, and has reviewed restaurants &  judged cooking for more than 30 years.  He currently teaches cooking at the Franklin Park Conservatory and The Seasoned Farmhouse in Columbus and speaks to community groups all over Central Ohio.

Steve had a weekly restaurant and food commentary program on the Bob Conners Show on 610WTVN AM radio for nearly 12 years (600 shows, 1996 - 2008).  From 1992 to 2004, he was the Ohio Editor for Zagat Survey, edited five Zagat Survey Ohio editions, and was a contributing editor for several editions of Zagat Survey America's Top Restaurants.  

Steve is currently a regular guest on Allsides on WOSU Radio, and a contributor to Edible Columbus magazine.  His restaurant reviews and food blog can be found at www.wosu.org/chefsinthecity. 

Highlights: (Below is a copy, submitted by Steve himself, of the speech he gave to us.)



Thursday, January 5, 2017

12/1 PM


Thanks, Bob Sneed, for the invitation, and thank you all for coming today (great turnout).

PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT OUR BLOG AT www.wosu.org/chefsinthecity or join me for one of my cooking classes at the Franklin Park Conservatory (next Tuesday) or Seasoned Farmhouse.

Our gift to you is our Historic Columbus Restaurants list; spawned by our speech to the Columbus Metropolitan Club, and it had grown incrementally in two years; let me know if you have an addition.

So buckle your eat belts, and get ready for a wild ride through the Columbus food scene, with all of the interesting and exciting things that are happening on the, the latest news and scandal, and the trends that are driving so many changes. 

Craft Beers and Artisan Cocktails  COCKTAILS BEFORE DINNER?

Craft Breweries on Tap

Today, craft breweries are everywhere.  There are 160 in Ohio, with 60 more in the planning stages, and there are now 30 craft breweries in Central Ohio, according to Mary MacDonald of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association. Cleveland's Platform Beer Co has renovated an old meat packing plant near Columbus State (408 N 6th) into a brewery and tap room featuring rotating pop up restaurants, and a patio and rooftop deck with views of the downtown skyline. And Gordon Biersch and Columbus Brewing alum Keith Jackson is planning to open Combustion Brewery and Taproom in Pickerington. Also, Hoster Brewing may reappear in the Brewery District.

UPDATE: Our friend Matthew Barbee of Rockmill Brewery, duly famous for Belgian-style craft beers down near Lancaster, has opened Rockmill Tavern, a brewpub in the Worley Building on Front St in the Brewery District. Chef Andrew Smith, formerly of Salt & Pine, has a small but wonderful menu of updated gastropub fare that has made this my top new restaurant of 2016!

And speaking of booze....

Local Distilleries and Artisan Cocktails are also big

Middle West Spirits (OYO), Watershed

Brothers Drake Meadery + a dozen or more craft microbreweries

Mouton, Curio +++ even making mixes and bitters

Breaking News (YOUR APPE-TEASER)

Breaking News (you heard it here first)

Cleveland star chef Jonathan Sawyer, winner of the prestigious James Beard Award as Best Chef Great Lakes, is considering a Columbus restaurant according to published reports. I talked to Jonathan's wife and nothing is imminent (real estate), but it would be great and a much-needed addition to Columbus.

Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse is coming to Columbus in the old 89 Fish + Grill location on Nationwide Blvd. Jeff Ruby is a long-time Cincinnati restauranteur; he has had numerous restaurants in Cinci, and now has three: Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, the Precinct, and Carlo & Johnny (each of the three is a different steakhouse concept). It will open early this year after a major renovation. 

Veritas Tavern (Delaware), Top 10 restaurant (Cols Monthly #1), is opening at Gay & High this Spring

Veritas alum Silas Caeton will be the chef at Cosecha, Mexican from Harvest Pizzeria Chris Crader

Veritas alum Avishar Barua will be the chef at Sevice Bar, restaurant in Middle West Spirits

Watershed Distillery will also open a restaurant in their Grandview location

Crest Tavern folks taking over former Eddie George's Grille 27 location

Hot Chicken Takeover will open a restaurant in Clintonville this Spring

Also coming soon: Flowers & Bread, Steam Kitchen (N Market, Marcus Meacham)

Paul Panzera closed, then reopened Paul's Fifth Avenue

Haiku closed Dec 31; The Florentine closed December 23 after 70 years; Montgomery Inn closed

Barcelona celebrated 20 years; Thurn's 130 years; Schmidt's 130 years


Decline of Fine Dining, not just Columbus but around the world 

The most significant trend of the last ten years is the decline of fine dining.

After the closing of Handke's & Rosendale's in 2009, and the closing of L'Antibes and Rigsby's in 2015, only The Refectory and "M" remain, and perhaps a steakhouse or two. Matt Litzinger of the former L'Antibes told me that sustaining a fine dining restaurant requires a high volume, high income "sibling" to support it.  Recently the owners of Eleven Madison Park (#5 in the World, Michelin 3*, Zagat #4 in NYC) announced its new fast casual restaurant called Made Nice, where the average meal will cost $10 to $15.

There is another story about the decline in restaurant dining (eat in). In the last 30 years of so, we have gone from spending 65 percent of the food budget on grocery and 35 on restaurant dining to the opposite: we now spend 65 - 70% of the food dollar on restaurants and takeout, and only 30 - 35 percent on meals at home. And now, sit down restaurants, from Ruby Tuesday and Chili's to fine dining are losing ground to takeaway chains, which offer convenience and portability; food places without servers now represent 53 percent of the dining market. Think Northstar, Brassica, Sweet Carrot....

Rebirth of the Downtown Columbus  

            SOB (south of Broad), including. 4th & Summit/Third Streets; very casual, not fancy places 

Dirty Frank's, Camino, Little Palace, Mikey's, Walrus, Hadley's, Ccndado, de Novo, Salt & Pine

NOB Market Italian Village, Fox in the Snow, Cosecha, a new Mexican concept at 987 N 4th

German Village: Pistachia Vera, Skillet, Valter's at the Maennerchor, Westie's gastropub

Big News in the Tri Village Area 

And here is a quick listing of the many exciting new restaurants in the Tri Village area:

- The Avenue, the new Cameron Mitchell steak concept, opened in Feb on Grandview Avenue; 

- Brassica, the Middle Eastern concept from the Northstar folks, will open on Lane Avenue;

- Balboa, a new concept from the owner of Bodega in the Short North, opened this summer, in the old Shoku location, featuring Mexican & Southwestern food and a great patio;

- Palle by Moretti at 1021 W. Fifth Ave (meatball-centric, complete with bad puns)

- Press Pub, from the Press Grill folks, is open at 1505 W. Fifth Ave

- Fukuryu Ramen on Lane Ave (son of the family behind the Kahiki); 

- Sweet Carrot, in the old Rife's Market location, is planning to expand to Clintonville;

- Mezze Pita Bowls and Salads, 2051 W. Henderson (Chipotle-style); fast, fresh, delicious Middle Eastern food; and

- Eddie George's Grill 27 is now in the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill location (OSU contract ran out); new location at the Columbus airport, plus one in Nashviille;

- Bonifacio, interesting new Filipino restaurant, opened Aug 1 at King Avenue and N Star;  

- Fortune Chinese, which just opened a second location on 161, with a dim sum menu;

- Butcher & Grocer, a new butcher shop, opened in early July on First Avenue;

- Paul's Fifth Avenue closed the end of July, but has now reopened, renovated; 

- also, let's support some of our treasures: Huffman's Market & Spagio.

Columbus Food Entrepreneurs (BRIEF)

A lot of the action on the Columbus restaurant scene is the result of several Columbus food entrepreneurs, who are opening not just one, but two or three or more restaurants. (have you heard of any of them?)

Northstar Cafe Kevin & Katy Malhame

Northstar Cafe Short North, Clintonville, Easton + Third & Hollywood; 

Northstar Westerville and Mason, near Cincinnati, are coming soon

Brassica, Middle Eastern, in the former Betty's location (Chipotle style, with pita base)

another Brassica coming on Lane Avenue

The Crest

The Crest Gastropub 

Market Italian Village

Alchemy Juice Bar, a smoothie, health food place near Children's Hospital

Crest Gastropub at Parsons & Livingston Aves

Hoof Hearted BrewPub & Kitchen, 850 N 4th, 614-401-4033; www.hoofhearted.bar; open late--try to say the name out loud and quickly (get it?)--taking over the Campus Gateway spot formerly Eddie George's Grille 27

Chris Crader 

Harvest Pizzeria, Harvest Bar + Kitchen (on N High St in Clintonville)

The Sycamore

Salt & Pine downtown at Main & High (eclectic menu moderne); new chef

Coming soon: Harvest Pizzeria Dublin and Cosecha, a new Mexican concept at 987 N 4th

Harvest Pizza Cincinnati

Brian Swanson



Hadley's Bar + Kitchen 

(Grandview Cafe)

Cameron Mitchell

Breaking News Cameron Mitchell plans to open two new restaurants in Dublin. I spoke with Steve Weis, Vice President of Development for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, and he told me that there will be an updated version of Cap City Diner in the huge new Dublin complex on the NE corner of Riverside and SR 161; it will include a new look, menu tweaks, large dining room and patio; it will open July 2017; Across the pedestrian bridge in old Dublin, just north of Oscars, there will be second Avenue Steak Tavern.

The Avenue Steak Tavern on Grandview Ave has generated a lot of buzz  

The Guild House artisan food, mostly small plates at The Joseph (Le Meridian)

(NEW) Ocean Prime Beverly Hills (fall 2014) & NYC (spring 2015) & Boston (just opened)

+ 10 other locations, with Washington DC coming in October, Naples, FL in December

Coming: Marcella's in Denver

14 different concepts (keeps our friend Brian Hinshaw very busy)

And who knew, City Barbeque now has 30 stores (even NC) and Jeni's has 23!


Our Favorite New Restaurants 

Top New Restaurants of the Last Couple of Years

The Guild House, our top new restaurant of 2015

La Tavola, our top new restaurant of 2014; Crave Magazine "top ten new restaurants" 2014

Veritas Tavern in Delaware, Columbus Monthly "best new restaurant of the year" 2013

Kraft House #5, Crave Magazine "best new restaurant of the year" 2014

Wolf's Creek - Top Ten in Crave Magazine (lunch)

Hot Chicken Takeover

Rockmill Tavern

Our Favorite Restaurants

Some of Our Favorite Restaurant to Visit When Not Doing a Review (How many have you tried?)

Basi Italia (Johnny Dornbach & Trish Gentile)

Kihachi (Mike Kimura)

G Michael's (David Tetzloff & Jeff Benson)

Refectory, including the bistro menu (especially with a "10 for $10" wine tasting)

La Tavola - Rick Lopez cooks every plate

The Guild House

Guiseppe's Ritrovo

Old favorites:



The Top  

Casual: Cuco's Tacqueria, Lavash (Middle Eastern); Hot Chicken Takeover

SPECIAL MENTION: though not full service, gourmet restaurants, these are the 

BEST in their category, and as good as any in the country

Pistacia Vera - second store at the North Market (#1 in Zagat & Trip Advisor)


City Barbeque

Jeni's Ice Cream

Admonition: get out of your geographical and culinary comfort zone

Kihachi; Hot Chicken Takeover, Bonifacio, Fortune Chinese dim sum


Contact information:

None provided

January program schedule (submitted by Bob Sneed)

12th: Steve Helewagen, sports reporter and author

19th: TBA

26th: TBA

© Rotary Club of Circleville, Ohio 2015