| For The Columbus Dispatch
The proliferation of upscale healthy food restaurants shows that a good portion of the dining public won’t hold its nose at plant-based dishes and is even willing to pay top dollar for them.
True Food Kitchen, the latest to join the central Ohio sphere of natural-foods’ restaurants, offers a balance of “healthy and delicious,” said Christine Barone, CEO of the Phoenix-based restaurant chain.
“It has to start with delicious because food is one of life’s greatest pleasures,” Barone said. “It has to be a sense of discovery and a real experience.”
True Food Kitchen, 4052 Worth Ave. in Easton Town Center, has a sleek, modern look, with a verdant color scheme, spacious dining room, light wood paneling stacked up to the towering ceiling, and mix of low- and high-top tables. A retractable wall opens to the year-round patio.
Columbus is the 35th location of True Food Kitchen, whose founder is Dr. Andrew Weil, a diet guru and specialist of “integrative medicine,” the restaurant’s website said.
Founded in 2008, it was serious about sourcing good ingredients, Barone said.
“I think at the beginning it was kind of niche,” she said. “Organic kale was hard to find.”
Although “organic” is not the byword at True Food Kitchen; its menu is influenced by sustainability and the Environmental Working Group – a nonprofit group that publishes reports on more naturally grown food, and those that are cultivated with the use of pesticides – among other initiatives, Barone said.
The menu, while not fully vegetarian or vegan, is veggie-centric with dishes such as jackfruit lettuce wraps, ancient-grains bowl and charred cauliflower.
The menu changes seasonally and the sauces and dressings are made in-house, Barone said.
Of the meat dishes, the kitchen features lasagna Bolognese with fennel chicken sausage, grass-fed beef burger, turkey burger and shrimp tacos.
Most dishes are in the $9 to $13 range.
The “scratch” bar uses freshly squeezed juices in its cocktails.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 614-269-8910.
Lorenzo’s Grill, which has emerged from a Dan’s Deli food truck and brick-and-mortar restaurant of the same name, is opening in the next few days at 2550 Corporate Exchange Drive near Westerville.
Owner Lorenzo Germany said the restaurant is open to the general public for breakfast and lunch, with grab-and-go dinners available for those in a hurry.
Germany said he specializes in familiar breakfast-and-lunch items – pancakes, bacon and eggs, burgers, gyros, stir-fry and occasional Italian dishes.
“Everything is familiar,” he said. “As a matter of fact, the dishes I have and specials I have come from random conversations with customers.”
Most items are $5 to $10.
Paul Sherry, Jess Helllmich and Peter Wittmann are opening their second Dueling Axes sometime in the next month in Hamilton Quarter.
The 5,000-square-foot facility will offer 12 lanes, secured with welded wire fence panels from top to bottoms, offering axe-wielding competition inside, where competitors throw at a board to try to earn points, Sherry said.
Competitions are displayed on overhead TVs and scores are kept on tablets.
Dueling Axes, 5780 Hamilton Road in the New Albany area, serves the basics of finger food and will have a full liquor license in place soon, Sherry said.
Patrons are also allowed to bring in food from outside sources, he said.
The investors also own a Dueling Axes on South Fourth Street Downtown. They plan to open a third location this December in Las Vegas.
Dispatch restaurant reporter Gary Seman Jr. can be reached at [email protected].