My mother-in-law sends us “mystery boxes” in the mail all the time. My family loves getting these boxes in the mail, especially ones that are filled with some of our favorite things. The excitement of opening it to find special treats, hand-made items, jewelry, crafts, even clothes is enough to brighten even our darkest times.

Now imagine being able to send a box to one of your family members, friends, co-workers, or clients filled with locally made special eats and treats, jewelry, crafts, t-shirts and more. How awesome would that be?? Well, boxes filled with unique Columbus and Ohio-centric items are now available through a terrific subscription box service being introduced by Andrea Archibald of Simply Vague and LiveCbus.com. It’s called Modest Box, and it’s pretty awesome!!

ModestBox1

The idea of Modest Box was born from Andrea’s desire to provide a local experience and local products to those who may not be in a position to live it first hand, as well as a passion to help small local businesses reach a larger audience with their products. She recently told The Metropreneur, “When my husband Nate and I opened Simply Vague in 2012, we met many of our vendors at farmer’s markets or festivals. These small business owners are so passionate about their brands and their businesses and they work so hard to get them off the ground. Some of the best products I have ever tried were discovered at a farmer’s market. I want to be able to bring that same experience to people who may not be able to experience it first hand.” Modest Box will help her do just that.

So, who is Modest Box for? Really, it’s for anybody. Folks who have moved away from Ohio and long for a little piece of home; as a “thank you” to a client or business associate; or even a fun gift to yourself!

Modest Box is available in three different types of boxes – a small assortment, a large assortment (this assortment is gender specific), and a t-shirt box that ships two, super-soft Ohio-made t-shirts each month. According to Andrea, you can expect to find a good mix of high-quality, Ohio-made food products, accessories, body products, and/or art in each box. Pricing is $39/mo (small), $89/mo (large), and $56 (t-shirts) plus shipping. Subscribers have the option to purchase just one box, or they can pay for three, six, or twelve months up front to receive discounts on the price per box. The first shipment of boxes are currently scheduled to go out February 12th.

I honestly can’t think of a better way to show your love of all things local than to share the gift of Modest Box with everyone you know!! To order your Modest Box, or for more info, you can visit modestboxohio.com.

osuwexner

Another really special feature of Modest Box is that they donate $5.00 from each box ordered to support a local charity or organization. I have chosen Wexner Medical Center’s Movement Disorder Fund, which deals with educating medical professionals and the research of neurological disorders. This fund is very important to me, as these disorders affect three generations of Mrs. Grub Guy’s family. You can learn more about OSU Wexner Medical Center’s Movement Disorder Fund HERE.

When ordering, please include the coupon code “TBGG” to be sure your donation goes to this worthy cause!!

 

 

103_2392

It seems like the number of places in Columbus to grab a good Sunday brunch is growing in number every week. Over the past year, many new restaurants have opened, and existing ones have expanded their menus to offer this relaxed weekend meal. Searching for someplace to fill our bellies on a recent Sunday afternoon, we ventured out to the Worthington/Linworth area of town to check out The Crafty Pint, a groovy gastropub that opened earlier this year in the old Hoggy’s space along Route 161, just west of downtown Worthington. I’d heard lots of good things from fellow bloggers and foodies about this spot, so I was eager to check them out to see what they had to offer.

103_2372

103_2370

The Crafty Pint is an attractive space on the inside, with rugged wooden tables, exposed brick, and three main seating areas (one being a covered patio which was pretty much closed off since it was chilly outside.) The atmosphere was great and the seating was comfortable.

103_2373

Their bar has received a great deal of praise from online reviewers for its selection and style. With over 40 drafts on tap, including many local craft brews, it seems like one of the better places I’ve seen in a while to go to have a beer and watch a game or just to hang out with friends for a cocktail and apps at happy hour.

103_2390

The cozy touches, such as this corner fireplace located in the entryway, don’t go unnoticed, either.

103_2377

And it’s the nifty little things that jump out at you about this place. Mason jar drinking glasses, Trivial Pursuit cards at the table, bandana handkerchiefs used as napkins, and pieces of board games as a backing for the drink menu. There are lots of unique things that The Crafty Pint does really well.

103_2364

Their brunch menu features around eight breakfast-y items like a Toad in a Hole, Biscuits & Gravy, and a Chorizo Hash. It leans heavy on the lunch(ish) items, including some typical dishes like burgers, a club sandwich, flatbreads, wings, salads, etc. Overall, some pretty solid options, and you’d be hard pressed not to find something you’d like.

103_2379

We started with a Green Eggs & Ham Flatbread ($9.00), which our server offered to bring out first. It was a large, scratch stone fired flatbread topped with Bavarian ham, Monterey jack cheese, arugula, chimichurri, and three sunny-side up eggs. I’m assuming that the dish was named after the Dr. Seuss story (more on Seuss later), since the eggs were normal color. It was light and crispy, and was probably the best thing we ate all morning.

Unfortunately, the rest of our meal didn’t fare as well. Now, anyone who has followed this blog knows that I am not the kind of blogger who hands out negative reviews very often. In fact, I hate writing them. But when I need to, I will, so that you’ll be aware of what to possibly expect when and if you visit. All of that to say that we did have some issues with the rest of our food at The Crafty Pint. Here are the details….

103_2380

We ordered a side of the Chipotle Cinnamon Tempura Pickles ($3.00) because I seriously LOVE fried pickles. What arrived at our table was not what I was expecting. Our server delivered them in a small, crock-type serving dish, which was fine, but the order of pickles was so small that it didn’t even cover the bottom of the small dish. Now, I realize $3.00 is pretty cheap for an appetizer, so I wasn’t expecting a heap, but I was hoping for enough to share between two people. They were withered and WAY overcooked, and all of the tempura batter had pretty much been fried off of them. In addition, there was no hint of chipotle flavor. No hint of cinnamon. No seasoning whatsoever. I thought, “Maybe the chipotle cinnamon is in the dipping sauce…”. And then I realized there was no sauce either. Just thin, burnt, greasy pickle chips. Not good.

103_2383

After a bit of a wait, our entrees arrived to our table. Here’s a shot of the Mimosa French Toast ($9.00). This was a really large serving which included five slices of a sweet orange bread, battered and fried, and served with champagne whipped cream. Honestly, the flavor of this dish was pretty good. Originally, we chose the Block “O” Waffles, but were told that they don’t have those anymore. The problem was the texture of the French toast – it was either soaked too long in the batter or the bread wasn’t dense enough to handle it. It was way too mushy. When our server was made aware of this, her answer was, “Yeah, that’s the way it always is”. In addition, the underside of each slice was burned. Swing and a big miss….

103_2387

I ordered the Crab Cake Benedict ($10.00) with hopes of greatness. The menu stated that the dish included grilled shrimp, which I didn’t get. I thought maybe the shrimp were included inside the crab cake, but couldn’t find them. The flavor of the crab was good, but maybe a little strong. The menu also said that the sauce was a bayou hollandaise, but it unfortunately had absolutely no flavor.

103_2388

The other problem was that the crab cakes were burned, and were hidden under two eggs. They were barely the size of silver dollars, and were maybe half an inch thick. I was completely disappointed. Our server was nowhere to be found, so I just let it go without complaint. I left more than half of my meal on the plate.

103_2389

As the bill arrived, I was reminded again about the positive side of our visit to The Crafty Pint. They brought the check in a hard-cover Dr. Seuss story book (We got “Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?”). Inside, notes from past guests were written in praise, or otherwise, of the meal and/or the server. I thought it was a clever and unique way to leave the customer with a smile on their faces.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with our brunch at The Crafty Pint. Although they nailed the little things, the food overall was not good. Most of the flavors and concepts were solid, they just really fell flat on execution. Our server seemed as though she’d rather be anywhere else but serving, which also negatively impacted our opinion of the visit. I’m not sure I’ll be back for brunch any time soon, but I would maybe go again for a burger or a sandwich, and would definitely stop in for a beer.

Like I said before, I loathe writing anything negative, but I really wanted to be truthful with you guys. I’m hoping that maybe the kitchen was just having an off day, and that if you try them for brunch, you’ll have a much better experience than I did. If you do, please be sure to comment on this post to let us know!!

The Crafty Pint is located at 2234 W. Dublin Granville Rd., Columbus, OH 43085 (Map). They’re open Monday – Thursday, 4:00 PM – 12:00 AM, Friday, 4:00 PM – 1:00 AM, Saturday, 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM, and Sunday, 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM. You can keep up with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at their website.

 

The Crafty Pint on Urbanspoon

103_2273

Cravings Carryout Café has indeed marked their territory over the past year. This tiny shop, located along a side street in the Italian Village neighborhood of the city, has hit its stride as one of the tastiest options in town for incredibly delicious sandwiches, as well as inventive and inspired daily breakfast and lunch specials. But they haven’t always had such a strait-forward framework for their business…

They started out three years ago as Cookie Cravings Bakery, where they sold cookies (obviously), and other bakery sweets and treats. Eventually, owners Matt & Lindsey Tewanger decided to expand their menu by adding several varieties of crepes and a few other unique brunch and lunch options. Word spread, and the response to their new food was so great, that Matt & Lindsey decided that instead of pigeonholing themselves as just a bakery, they would keep a few of the baked goods on hand, but focus more on expanding their horizons, with Matt’s exquisite brioche rolls as the foundation for much of their new menu. They rebranded their shop and re-opened as Cravings Carryout Cafe last Spring.

Since then, Cravings has continued to wow it’s customers with incredible morning and afternoon meals. But I think it’s safe to say that none have been so embraced, or have seen such a demand, as their wildly popular Bronut.

103_2258

I was invited by the Tewanger’s last week to come and hang out before the store opened this past Saturday as they prepared for their latest Bronut offering. The Bronut was created by Matt as an experiment several months ago, after deciding to try a brioche donut on the menu. Matt’s brioche dough is so amazingly rich and buttery, that there’s no way it wouldn’t be a huge hit! He put it on the menu and advertized it as a “Bronut Takeover”. That morning, there was a line waiting out the door when they opened! Matt made about 100 donuts that day and they sold out quickly. He’s since settled on about 150 as a doable number for Bronut Saturday’s, which they recently announced would be the second Saturday of every month.

103_2242

I arrived at the shop just after 7:00 AM, but Matt & Lindsey had already been there for over an hour, frying, icing and preparing the bounty. We chatted as they worked, and they were both extremely friendly and kind enough to let me capture their prep session. Matt handled much of the frying duty, and explained that they don’t actually have a fryer…instead, all of their frying happens in a pan of oil on an electric burner, which is painstakingly kept at around 300 – 350 degrees.

103_2238

The donuts are fried in small batches of a half-dozen or so at a time to keep it manageable.

103_2244

They’re fried for about 3 minutes per side, until the donut is golden brown.

103_2230

After they were done frying, Matt passed them off to Lindsey, who was waiting to coat them in rich chocolate, a classic sugar glaze, or a sweet blackberry glaze. They feature several scrumptious flavors each time they offer the Bronut. Aside from the three aforementioned varieties, there was also a Cayenne Chocolate Walnut donut that was incredible!

WARNING: Extreme salivating straight ahead…..

103_2239

103_2234

103_2231

103_2261

103_2260

I just couldn’t resist capturing the deliciousness of these donuts. Seriously, you guys, they all looked and smelled so good!

103_2271

This was the first time that they offered “Bro Bites”, which were simply the fried brioche donut holes coated in powdered sugar. A batch of about a dozen went for $5.00.

103_2251

The kitchen is where all the action happens, but Cravings does have a very small front of the house area, too. There’s just one high-top table and a short counter with three stools for seating, and these shelves on the opposite wall feature things like t-shirts, fancy bottled water, and more. It’s quite a tight squeeze, especially when there are folks waiting for Bronuts and other food to take out, but it’s cozy. Matt, Lindsey and the other staff chat with their customers to make them feel welcome while they wait.

103_2253

Cravings Carryout Café offers locally brewed Thunderkiss coffee by the cup, and also sells bags of beans to take home and brew yourself.

103_2264

As I mentioned, while the menu isn’t huge, Cravings offers a variety of sandwiches and breakfast items that are top notch. Their brioche rolls are utilized well, and fresh wraps, focaccia, and more cradle the high quality meats and local cheeses that are chosen to build these portable masterpieces. They always run a daily special or two, and often include a delicate or hearty “Soup of the day” option.

103_2248

In addition to hot, Thunderkiss French Press coffee, they also offer a cold brew coffee and honey mint green tea that you can get in single servings, or a growler to take home if you’d like!!

103_2269

After they opened the door for the morning and the initial rush died down a bit, I decided to order some breakfast. I had already tasted one of the Cayenne Chocolate Walnut Bronuts, which was amazing, so I wanted something a little more substantial. I selected the Breakfast Burrito w/ bacon ($8.00 + $2.00 for bacon), which was a hearty, yet tender wrap filled with two scrambled eggs, potatoes, red peppers, scallions, avocado, salsa rojo, jack cheese, and of course, bacon. I also ordered a 16 oz. glass of refreshing orange juice.

103_2270

The burrito was really, really good. It wasn’t huge, but was filled well so it was satisfying. Everything tasted very fresh, including the wrap itself. The eggs were soft and not dry, the potatoes inside the wrap were a welcome and tasty surprise, and the avocado, peppers and other ingredients combined to make an extremely tasty morning meal. For whatever reason, I don’t usually gravitate toward a burrito when I dine out for breakfast, but I’d definitely come back for this one.

103_2272

Cravings Carryout Cafe has been a welcome addition to that area of town for those who enjoy quality foods. Although they draw big crowds for their Bronuts, and they also continue to serve delicious cookies and other sweets, they’ve proven that they are much more than just a bakery. Their sandwich shop/cafe atmosphere is casual and comfortable, and you’re sure to get Matt & Lindsey’s best efforts in every meal you eat here. It’s a solid choice for a simple, yet complex breakfast or lunch sandwich or special.

I started this post talking about the Bronut, and will end it by saying that if you haven’t tried them yet, Bronuts are a special kind of donut, unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. Make sure you mark your calendars for the second Saturday of the month. And get there early! They go fast!!

Cravings Carryout Cafe is located at 227 E. 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43201 (Map). They’re open Tuesday – Friday, from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, and Saturday – Sunday, from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. For more info, you can check out their website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @cravingscafe614.

Cravings Carryout Cafe on Urbanspoon

Christmas-Lights-1

Earlier this week, I posted a link to fellow blogger Morgan Lee’s Holiday Gift Guide on her blog Columbus Living, where she suggested some awesome local products for your still-to-buy-for friends and family. I got some great feedback in response, and hope many of you have found something for the folks on your list. But a lot of you asked about gifts for the “foodies” in your life. You know, those special folks who love to not only shop local, but EAT & COOK local too.

So without further delay, here’s my 2014 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Foodies in your life!!

 

103_1546

1. Local Culinary Tours from Columbus Food Adventures

The opportunity to experience local eats in this uniquely designed atmosphere will always top my list of awesome gift ideas. CFA offers guided tours through several of Cbus’ popular neighborhoods, and also features tours focusing on things like ethnic eats, desserts, coffee, and even a breakfast tour!! Booking a trip or buying a gift certificate to a CFA tour is the ultimate foodie gift!!

103_1844

2. Local Brewery Tours from Columbus Brew Adventures

CFA’s sister company, Columbus Brew Adventures, offers equally entertaining and informative tours for fans of local breweries and distilleries. They also offer an exceptional Pizza & Pints tour that I can personally recommend. A guided tour or a gift certificate from CBA will certainly thrill the craft beer fan in your family!

IMG_26875904180167

3. Coffee by the Month

Stauf’s Coffee Roasters offers a unique and special gift that will last the whole year through…their Coffee by the Month Club.  It’s an extra special way to sample many of their delicious coffees, selected by their roasters for each and every month. In addition, bags of coffee and holiday gift sets from local favorites like Roaming Goat, One Line Coffee, Thunderkiss, Cafe Brioso and others are usually available for purchase at each respective shop, and at local grocers like The Hills Market, Weiland’s Market, and Lucky’s Market.

Buy-the-book-1024x320

4. Open A Coffee Shop

No, I’m not suggesting for you to open a shop for someone, but if you have someone in your life that has always dreamed of opening and running their own coffee shop, Crimson Cup Coffee founder Greg Ubert has written “Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry”. It’s everything you need to know to run a profitable coffee house or cafe. It could be just the gift that your aspiring small business owner needs to motivate them to success!

15449_742438932505820_4356005885604385651_n

5. Buy them a seat at a cooking class or culinary event

The Commissary is a certified, commercial kitchen and culinary event center designed for anyone and everyone who works in food at any stage. They host cooking classes, tastings, local start-ups, and is seriously just an awesome community tool for “foodies”. The Commissary regularly schedules events with local chefs, where the public can purchase tickets and sample their foods, and learn more about the Columbus food scene in the process.

gifts-1

6. Chocolates

Everybody loves chocolates!! Luckily, Columbus has some of the finest, top-quality chocolate makers in the country right here. Check out the delicious gift boxes and holiday selections at Le Chocoholique or Winans Fine Chocolates & Coffees.

103_1818

7. Beer Dinners & Educational Tasting Sessions

101 Beer Kitchen in Dublin (and their soon-to-open 2nd location in Gahanna!) offers their exciting, monthly Beer Dinner Series, a unique 5-course dinner which is paired perfectly with 6 different beers from local breweries and brewers, well-known regional breweries and top-level national brands. In addition, they also offer Educational Tasting Sessions throughout the year.

10639606_10152292846368085_9136375918781123109_n

8. CaJohn’s Flavor & Fire

One of my all-time favorite vendors at the North Market is CaJohn’s. With over 180 all-natural items that will ignite your taste buds with the fire of local flavor, they’re the perfect choice for the spicy and adventurous food lover on your list. They specialize in sauces, spices, salsa and gift boxes of all varieties.

 1888751_10154798393255492_7731334528610640309_n

9. Jeni’s Holiday Delivery

We all know and love Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. But did you know that they offer a Holiday gift service with holiday delivery? The process is simple – just log on to their website, select a mix of your favorite flavors (or the recipients favorites), or shop by collection, and they’ll take care of the rest!

10644681_655615204534548_3793789693347198478_n

10. Aprons from Kitchen + Threads

Chef Silas Caeton, formerly of Veritas Tavern in Delaware, recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign where he created a line of aprons that are durable, fit well, and are stylish at the same time. Kitchen + Threads is now taking orders on their website for their popular smocks, and even has a section for custom designs as well. I’m thinking of buying one of these for myself this holiday season, and I’m thinking the foodie in your life who loves to cook or bake would love to have one too!

2418448_orig

Where did this year go??

December is here already and the cold and snow have arrived, the holidays are at hand, and thus it’s time for TBGG’s annual Holiday Gift Guide. Each year, I try to publish a list of a local items or services that I’ve discovered over the past year or so, but this year I thought I’d do something a little different…I’m publishing two lists! My pal Morgan Lee, who writes the blog Columbus Living, has put together a pretty darn comprehensive list of some of the best local products and businesses available to help you start or finish your holiday shopping! Trust me, if you can’t find a gift or an idea from her list, you’re pretty much SOL.  I’ll be posting my own “2014 Holiday Gifts for Foodies” list in a few days, but until then, check out Morgan’s gift ideas HERE!

1656332_857994540899414_9083720498195142911_n

And since it’s December…it’s also time for our next gift card giveaway!! This month, our friends at Village Crepe in Pickerington have generously donated $40 in gift certificates to one of my readers. Village Crepe is an awesome local business that will seriously satisfy your craving for both sweet and savor crepes! Mrs. Grub Guy and I visited them earlier this year, and really loved their food (you can read my review HERE)!!

If you’d like to enter for a chance to win, all you need to do is comment on this post, or post to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #TBGGCREPE. We’ll select a winner on Monday, Dec 15th at 11:00PM, and will post the name of the winner here on Tuesday, the 16th. Spread the word!!

Thanks for reading!!

 

*** WINNER***

Hey everybody, sorry I’m a little late in announcing the winner…I lost track of time :) The winner of the $40 in Village Crepe gift certificates is “Molly”!!! Molly, please email your name and address info to me at thebreakfastgrubguy@gmail.com, and I will get your prize out to you. Thanks to everyone who entered!!

Keep reading!!

 

 

I’m always up for a good eating challenge, and Columbus is certainly home to some pretty great ones. I’ve defeated the Dagwood at Ohio Deli, but honestly with the number of folks who can boast the same accomplishment, I feel like that’s become more of like a warm up to the big boys.

For those who haven’t participated in, or watched an eating challenge before, here’s a quick tutorial:

There are three main formats to an eating challenge –

1. Quantity of food eaten in a specified time period

2. Completion of a predetermined meal or amount of food in a specified time period, and

3. Consumption of food based on heat or flavor intensity

Because I’m a major weenie when it comes to really hot or spicy foods, I usually focus on the first two types when selecting a challenge, which is what drew me to my latest quest – to defeat a pizza so colossal that, out of the dozens of attempts there have been to topple this gargantuan, it’s only been conquered one time in history….it’s the Mega Meat Challenge at Joseppi’s Pizza.

1456790_10204420704991487_1508571320972506558_n

Joseppi’s is a local chain of four pizza shops, located primarily on the west side of town. I’ve been to their shop on W. Broad Street many times, and even wrote a blog post about a year and a half ago about their lunchtime pizza buffet (you can read it here). The pizza is absolutely delicious, and from the very first time I saw the poster in their dining room advertising this contest (below), which daringly stares me down like a hungry predator every time I walk into the shop, I knew this was a challenge I needed to accept….

101_1498

Joseppi’s main store in Lincoln Village is their only location that hosts this mega pizza challenge. It’s a hefty one, so the rules allow a team of two competitors exactly one hour to down an entire 28″ Joseppi’s Mega Meat pizza. The prizes for completing the challenge are lucrative, and make the attempt all the more enticing. This past summer, Jim from CMH Gourmand and I decided that we should team up in order to defeat the Goliath pie. Jim, being the Columbus pizza connoisseur and experienced eating challenge competitor that he is, was the perfect partner for such a feat. We finally decided upon a date and time to meet up at the store and try our hands (er…our bellies) at the competition. We were hungry and ready to put away some grub.

10731215_10204420704591477_7087551014919002136_n

This is Jeff Thompson. He’s the manager of the W. Broad Joseppi’s location. Jeff’s family started the shop in 1969, and is now in it’s 3rd generation of management of the company. He’s been working for his family’s business since he was 12 years old, and knows how to build an amazing pizza. Jeff showed us every single step of the process as he made our competition pie. We chatted with him quite a bit about the history of the shop, his other locations, and Columbus pizza history in general. Here, he showed us the crust for our pizza about to be piled high with meat and cheese…

10628464_10204420704431473_6545028590636967945_n

This is a shot of the pie at about the halfway point of building. Crust, sauce, provolone cheese, old world pepperoni, ham, and italian sausage. Still to be applied is more shredded provolone, ground beef, and bacon!!

10390296_10204420703911460_2895928055182658286_n

10420200_10204420702951436_135215269189658506_n

And here’s a couple of close-up’s of the finished product. The crust is a thin crust, but not cracker-like. We sliced a piece in half to show the layers of meat inside each piece. When contemplating a 28″ pizza, one could envision the possibility of consuming such a monster. But when you take into account that the pizza was at least a half inch thick, the task becomes quite the chore.

10392303_10204420703271444_4745111356054110059_n

As the pizza arrived at the table, we were feeling pretty confident. The rules were laid out for us: We were allowed one hour to finish. We could get up, walk around, stretch, or whatever else we needed to do to help digest, but if we left the dining area, the competition was over. We were allotted an unlimited supply of water or fountain soda. No one else was allowed to sit at or approach the table, and finally….

10427335_10204420704151466_1783542306218248860_n

…If we had to use these, it was over.

10377260_10204420703431448_2636152200941806467_n

We sized up our challenger before we dug in. Jeff’s recommendation was to have some dipping sauces on hand in case we needed to break up the flavors a bit. We opted for ranch dressing and hot sauce. Jim counted the pieces before we started…a total of 59. Surely one of us could handle 29, and the other 30, right? After letting the pizza cool for five minutes or so, we notified Jeff that we were ready.

We dug in just before 8:00, and started off strong. Jim and I each had an outer row gone before we knew it. The pizza itself had great flavor. All of the meats made each bite a real pleasure. The rim of the crust was golden brown, and sort of just melted in our mouths, instead of being hard. We each started on a side, and did well for a while, but as we started on our second row in, we started slowing down. Slowly but surely we fought onward. A few more pieces in and we were slowly hitting that dreaded wall.

10153674_10204420703111440_6842249324724483402_n

Sadly, at 38 minutes in, Jim and I had to tap out. We had hit that wall head on, and knew there was no way we would recover. Even after stretching, and getting up for a few minutes, we weren’t able to push forward. Man, I was stuffed.

The Mega Meat pizza really is an incredibly delicious pizza. I’m glad I had the opportunity to make this attempt, and haven’t ruled out another go at it in the future. I don’t really have any advice for anyone contemplating this challenge. It’s a monster. Truly. I’d say, find a great partner like we did, and go for it. If you love meat pizzas, this one is probably one of the tastiest, and most filling ones you’ll find in Columbus. And If you love leftover cold pizza for breakfast, fail the test and you’ll certainly have plenty. Enjoy!!

To read CMH Gourmand’s post about our epic endeavor, click HERE!!

If you want to try Joseppi’s Mega Meat Challenge, or if you just want to check out one of their other tasty pies, check out their website here for their shop locations.

10377079_10204360182518463_3743181555982997668_n

No matter where you live, having a great deli nearby as a delicious and fresh lunch option is something that most foodies can agree is an essential requirement in life. I mean, really…who doesn’t love deli sandwiches? Most of the time they’re healthier, lighter, and easier to handle than, say, a giant burger or your favorite pizza. And when you find a really good shop, it’s pretty much “your place” for life, right? Enter Neighbor’s Deli. For me, this is MY new place. And all that stuff I said about healthier and lighter food? Oh, they can do that if you want, but it’s not the norm here. Here, they pile the meat so high that you can barely see over the lid! But even more than that, do you want to know my favorite thing about this place? It’s that they’re doing the same thing with breakfast sandwiches, too!!

12781_10204360180638416_4552216423295587389_n

I first learned of Neighbor’s Deli through a blog post that Jim Ellison of CMH Gourmand wrote a few years ago, where he told about his misadventures in tackling the Deli’s behemoth eating challenge known as The Monolith (A sandwich so huge that it makes the Dagwood wet itself). I’ll save the details on that particular menu item for a future post when I can brag about how I put it down like the culinary demon that it is (I will defeat you, Monster!!).

10624759_10204360180878422_3775295219153773068_n

Neighbor’s Deli is located in a strip of shops on Henderson Rd., and is right next door to another U.A. breakfast favorite, Cuco’s Taqueria. The space is compact, but is bright and clean. It’s designed to steer you right toward the order counter, where the shop’s owner, John, and his staff slice up your favorites.

10308717_10204360181118428_793649464936623320_n

The dining room is a simple space, and I’m told by John that they usually get pretty packed around the lunch rush during the week and for breakfast on Saturdays when there’s an early Ohio State game. Luckily for us, the Buckeyes were playing a night game on the day we visited, and we avoided the crowds until folks started filing in for lunch around 11.

10731005_10204360181278432_8653667123407716787_n

Written on chalkboards that stretch the length of the inner wall, Neighbor’s deli menu is quite impressive. As you can imagine, most of the items are huge sandwiches, like monster reubens, clubs, grilled melts, hoagies, scrollers (wraps) and more. Much of the menu is comprised of John’s specialty creations – combinations of just the right ingredients discovered simply through trial and error.

The breakfast menu is small, but huge. I dare you to find something on this six-item menu that you wouldn’t love. Seriously.

10639517_10204360182078452_7893475688002408037_n

We decided to order from both the breakfast menu and the regular menu during this visit. I opted for the Cheesesteak & Eggs ($8.00), which was recommended by the owner, himself. It was an enormous sandwich with equally enormous flavors – thinly sliced, marinated sirloin steak, grilled sweet peppers, onions (maybe just a tad too many for me), white American cheese, and two fried eggs stuffed into a fresh, homemade 7-inch hoagie roll.  This was truly the ultimate breakfast sandwich. John asked me to try a “secret sauce” he’d been working on, and honestly, my best guess is that it was a simple combination of honey mustard/barbeque/hot sauce, and it worked really well with the cheesesteak.

1966822_10204360181798445_1249966316748997087_n

Mrs. Grub Guy ordered the California ($5.50), a terrific sandwich made with eggs, cheddar cheese, sliced avacado, and about a half pound of bacon! Seriously, this thing was HUGE for a half-sandwich (the picture really doesn’t do it justice)! She ordered it on Sun-dried tomato, but also had the option of several other breads or one of their fresh, house-made bagels. Being the bacon fan that she is, she enjoyed this sandwich tremendously. And the crispy cheese around the edges was a surprise bonus :)

1488052_10204360618409360_257460245763490603_n

When we first arrived, the boy saw a row of hoagies being prepared for another order, and decided that was what he wanted, nevermind that this was our first meal of the day. So, we ordered him a half-sized Roast Beef & Turkey Club Hoagie ($5.75). Forget those stingy chain places, this is the way a hoagie is supposed to look!! It was piled high with fresh turkey, roast beef, bacon, mayo and veggies. He ate half of the half, and was full. Big sandwich.

10616134_10204360396883822_623392821331105974_n

Here’s a look at another beauty, The Undertaker ($5.75/half). John told me that he named this sandwich after a friend of his, who worked in a funeral parlor, asked him to make him a sandwich. It’s an absolutely huge sandwich made with fresh-sliced roast beef, which is grilled and layered with Swiss, a mountain of delicious cole slaw, and horsey sauce, cradled between two slices of grilled, marbled rye. You definitely need some sturdy, plastic utensils for this one. It’s a bit messy, but the flavor is incredible!! This is one of my favorites so far, but I’ve only tried about a half-dozen items on the menu…I’ve still got a long way to go!!

10698481_10204360182318458_5505474624307713844_n

We finished our meal with some fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies ($1.00/3) upon the boy’s request. Dessert after breakfast? I mean, sure…why not!

As you can see, nothing that Neighbor’s Deli does is small. If you’re a fan of deli, or breakfast, or lunch, or just food in general…you have got to check this place out! I’ve been several times now, and honestly everything I’ve ordered has been super fresh and delicious. It’s obvious that John and his staff are focused on two main points: Great food and customer satisfaction. I’d say they are excelling at both.

Pro tip: During the Buckeyes’ season, Neighbor’s offers a tremendous “Game Day Special” – any two, large hoagies for only $16.99! What a great deal!!

Neighbor’s Deli is located at 2142 Henderson Rd, Columbus, OH 43220 (Map). They are open Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Saturday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and Sunday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. For more info, visit them on Facebook and at their website.

Neighbor's Deli on Urbanspoon