Dis 'n' Data
By Margaret Marten, Editor
DIS 'N' DATA ARCHIVE
FINE FOOD AT FORNO KITCHEN
New restaurants continue to make their way along High Street. Forno Kitchen + Bar opened at the corner of Buttles and High (721 N. High St.) on January 23 in the space formerly occupied by Two Fish Bistro. Owners Chris Corso and Mike Gallicchio of Corso & Gallicchio Ventures also own the Short North Pint House & Beer Garden next to Torso a block north on the other side of the street. Their new Italian-themed restaurant includes a copper stone-fired oven (forno) as a functional showpiece in the central open kitchen. Blue lighting enhances the white marble-topped bar and tables in a European-style lounge area on one side. The other side features a wood butcher block bar and tables with a view of the street. Forno’s executive chef Vincent Martin, a 27-year-old Canton native, attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute, was a sous chef at L’Antibes, and worked at Curds and Whey in the North Market where he participated in at least a couple Fiery Foods Festival hot wing eating contests. Forno’s menu offers American bistro choices as well as Italian. There are almost a dozen varieties of pizza. Salmon, chicken, ribeye, tuna, and house-cured pork belly are found in the menu. Forno is open at 4 p.m. every day except Sunday. Visit www.fornoshortnorth.com or call 614-469-0053 for more information.
In December, a new bakery opened on East Second Avenue in a small space right around the corner from The Lamp Shade. Jonas Laughlin, the owner of Laughlin’s Bakery, is a former opera singer whose familiarity with European delicacies, sensitivity to refined taste, and passion for baking are a sure recipe for success. He ran the business from his Italian Village home prior to opening the storefront (with the help of Kickstarter), so he hit the ground running with happy customers ready and waiting for his beautiful handcrafted creations. He turns out cakes, pastries, cookies and bread Tuesday through Sunday with the help of baker Kristy List, cake decorator Brian Wildroudt and manager Paul Gillilan. Partner Alexis Diaz provides plenty of support along with other part-time staff to keep the bustling bakery operating. Laughlin’s baking interest began almost a decade ago in Boston, so he put in years of practice before the recent opening. And the price is right: One doesn’t have to spend much (a lemon madeleine is only a dollar). Most everything is extraordinary; some of it ordinary. Savory shallot and tapenade focaccia slices – what exactly is that? Find out for five dollars. Plain old pullman loaves (pains de mie) are fresh from the oven ready to carry home. Laughlin’s Bakery, located at 15 E. Second Ave, is open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 614-914-8858 or visit www.laughlinsbakery.com and Facebook to learn more.
GOURMET COFFEE NEAR GIANT EAGLE
Dayton-based Boston Stoker Coffee Co.’s Columbus store moved from the university district at 1660 Neil Ave., where it had been operating since August 2012, to the Victorian Village Thurber Center at 771 Neil Ave. by Giant Eagle. The building they moved from is slated for demolition. Another reason for the move, explained manager Erik Fenstermacher, is “May through August and the middle of December through the middle of January.” In other words, the fluctuating student customer base at their last location wasn’t good for business. Fenstermacher, 29, moved to Columbus with his girlfriend Kasey Kimble (another Boston Stoker employee) in 2012 from Dayton to open and manage the university-district store, so he experienced the problem first-hand. “The nature of our business involves having highly trained employees,” he explained, and you don’t randomly reduce skilled staff to accommodate a lean month or season. Fenstermacher was studying to be a history teacher when he first began working for Boston Stoker in Dayton in 2008. He said he loves his work at the coffee shop because he’s “interacting with other human beings all day, everyday.” He was less enamored with his previous job as a fine dining waiter in a French restaurant because it was too formal. “Working in a coffee shop is just like working in a bar,” he said, except you’re serving coffee instead of alcohol. The new shop seats 24 at tables, and includes a counter facing the window, along with a couple club chairs and a soft sofa providing a relaxed atmosphere for conversation and friendship. In fact, many past customers have become good friends of Fenstermacher (a Harrison West resident) and he’s hoping to see them when Boston Stoker opens on March 13 at the Thurber Center – and that they will keep coming back. Boston Stoker started out as a pipe tobacco retail store in the Dayton suburb of Englewood over 40 years ago. The Dean family who own the business began serving gourmet coffee to their tobacco customers in those early years, eventually shifting their focus from the tobacco to coffee bean sales and roasting. Henry Dean, 32, a son of founders Don and Sally, is now president of the company. He enjoys traveling the world in search of prime coffee beans, and establishing and maintaining relationships with growers. He said his parents started roasting coffee the year he was born. He recalls running around the shops as a boy, and even opening a “pretend” coffee company as a six-year-old, which he called K & K, named after one of his father’s coffee blends. Recently, Ohio Magazine named the company Best Coffee Roaster. Boston Stoker is open at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on the weekend. They close at 9 p.m. most weekdays; 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 8 p.m. on Sunday. Visit www.bostonsoker.com for more
RETRO CANDY AND PLENTY OF POP
While I was visiting the new Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop at 944 N. High St., the creaky floorboards really caught my attention. What I was hearing was a stream of customers strolling round and round the room filled with colorful displays, trying to absorb the vast inventory of candy, soda pop, and gag gifts. I think the place serves as much as a museum as it does a retail store. The gallery of goodies keep your eyes moving from one display to the next as you spot a long-forgotten product or notice something really strange or funny or just plain appetizing. The warmth of nostalgia, along with the sweet treats and the funny stuff make this a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Lyndsay Maher, 34, who opened the store in December, said the idea of running an “old school” candy store came to her soon after college, and when she and her husband moved to Harrison West in 2007, the idea of a store in the Short North became her “pipe dream.” What appealed to her was the concept of the old general store she remembers from her childhood. During visits to her grandparents, she and her sisters were taken to the store and allowed to pick out treats. She also holds sweet memories of candy dishes in her grandparents’ home. While in Colorado (where she moved with her attorney husband for job reasons), Maher had a life-altering experience when she stumbled across a Rocket Fizz store in Boulder and fell in love with it. “I liked that they had the old school candy as well as just crazy candy and funny gags and gifts,” she said. After returning to Ohio in 2013, and to the dream of opening a store, she learned that Rocket Fizz was a small California-based franchise and decided to open one. With two small boys, she understands the need for family-friendly destinations and considers a trip to her store something fun for everyone. “I always say it’s hard to come into a candy store in a bad mood,” she said, “and if you come into a candy store in a bad mood, you’re likely not going to leave in a bad mood.” And you’re not likely to leave without something to satisfy your curiosity, seeing that there are over 500 flavors of soda – some downright whacky, over 90 flavors of salt water taffy and countless other kinds of candy to peak your curiosity and interest. “I love candy,” said Maher. “I’ve just always been kind of a candy freak.” There are plenty of those around, so it’s a welcome addition to the Short North. Call 614-525-0052 or visit www.rocketfizz.com
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