With the tremendous rise in popularity of the trendy, gastropub-style restaurant in Columbus over the last couple of years, comes a plethora of new brunch menus to be sampled. These types of establishments have increased greatly in number around the city, in part because of the attention they give to featuring local craft brews and breweries, but also for the new wave of innovative dishes they’re serving, which are most often prepared using products from local butchers, dairies, and the freshest local fruits and vegetables available. Let’s face it, brewpubs are cool. They’re the hip places to eat. And they’re definitely making breakfast and brunch cooler, too. Add these new spots to the already legendary (ok, I think it’s legendary) Columbus breakfast scene, and you’ve got a city filled with incredible places to enjoy our favorite morning meal. Mrs. Grub Guy and I recently headed up to Dublin to check out one of these hip, new(ish) spots for brunch, the 101 Beer Kitchen.
101 Beer Kitchen is located along Sawmill Rd, just north of Hard Rd, and about five minutes off of I-270. It’s a pretty tricky location to find, unless you’re really familiar with the area. They’re set up on an angled end of a newer shopping center that sits back off the road, and behind some other buildings. Once we found it and made our way inside, the wife and I were greeted by two friendly hostesses who asked us about our seating preference, which was nice, since I’m usually pretty picky about where I like to sit. The deep interior of the restaurant is slightly dimmed, but the lighting around the perimeter is better, thanks to many big windows. The décor is rustic and modern, with lots of rugged-looking, antiqued wall art. I absolutely love a restaurant with big, community seating options like 101 BK offers.
The bar area is located in the center of the restaurant, and seemed to feature a fairly wide variety of craft beer. The environment, even on a Saturday afternoon, was comfortable yet sophisticated. 101 BK recently started a monthly beer tasting series that they’ve titled, “Beer 101”, which is a casual and informative event directed by their knowledgeable staff and other local beer experts.
No reason for this photo other than I just liked the look of this stylish, frosted glass wall.
101 Beer Kitchen’s brunch menu is composed of about eight unique entrees, along with appetizers and brunch cocktails. Our server, Philip, was very knowledgeable about their menu and the restaurant in general. He told us that the restaurant is owned by Thad and Jess Kittrell, who opened it on their anniversary, October 1, 2012 – thus the name (10/1 = 101 Beer Kitchen). The menu is eclectic, and features a number of trendy dishes such as benedicts, a corned beef pot pie, southwest-style cornbread with a chorizo gravy, and more. Decisions, decisions….
Our server poured us some water, and left a nearly full, ice-cold growler on the table so that we could refill our glasses as we wished. I really liked this classy touch. Plus, with a growler sitting on the table, it obviously makes people think…beer!! Mind games, baby. Mind games.
Ok, so we caved, and decided to order a couple of drinks from the brunch menu. I chose the MOA Breakfast Ale, which comes from the MOA Brewing Company in Marlborough, New Zealand. It was a European-style breakfast beer and had a subtle fruity taste. It was quite good. The wife ordered the Lavender Blueberry Lemonade, which was made with OYO honey vanilla vodka and a splash of soda. She raved about how light and sparkly it was.
We started our meal with an appetizer, the 101 BK version of Biscuits & “Gravy”($2.95). Anyone who has followed this blog for a while knows of my biscuits and gravy fetish, but these were unlike any I had ever sampled before. The dish consisted of two homemade, buttermilk biscuits and was topped with a sweet praline gravy and chopped pecans. All I can say is HOLY BISCUITS AND GRAVY, BATMAN!! These were unbelievable! When they arrived to our table in a small, cast-iron cask, the “gravy” was still bubbling hot. Obviously from the ingredient list, I knew these weren’t going to be your typical biscuits and gravy. They were sweet, almost like a dessert, and as I was eating, all I could think was, “Man, a big scoop of vanilla ice cream would be excellent over this!”
Mrs. Grub Guy ordered the Crab Cake Benedict ($14.95). It too, arrived at our table in a hot, cast-iron skillet and looked (and smelled) amazing. I surmised that a more accurate billing of this dish would be that of a skillet or a hash rather than a benedict, because its base was a mix of bacon and veggies (potatoes, asparagus, artichokes, onions, and tomatoes) that was topped with a tender and meaty crab cake, two perfectly poached eggs and red pepper hollandaise.
Layers and layers of delish was what this dish was all about. You can see how much food was actually inside of that skillet. My wife absolutely loved it and said that all of the flavors played off of each other really well. The crab cake was fresh and flaky, the eggs were perfect, the veggies were tender, and the dish as a whole was incredibly tasty.
After perusing the menu for apparently what is more than a socially acceptable amount of time, I finally decided to go with the “Steak & Eggs” ($12.95), which was a braised mole short rib atop a layer of corn tortilla, refried beans, tomatoes and queso fresco, with fresh guacamole and topped with a sunny side up egg. This dish just had an incredible freshness about it.
The sunny side up egg was perfect, and the short rib absolutely melted in my mouth. It was fork tender, and had delicious flavor. The house-made refried beans were incredible, the veggies, the guacamole, the sauces…everything was so fresh and delicious. I would most definitely recommend this dish to anyone going to check them out for brunch!!
I snapped this photo on our way out of 101 BK’s “patio”. Now I don’t really consider eating on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant a patio, so when I see this kind of thing, I’m more inclined to eat inside than out. But for what it is, it was ok, I guess. Just not my thing. There were many people sitting outside though, enjoying their meals and the sunshine, which is what it’s all about.
Our overall impression of 101 Beer Kitchen was that it’s a comfortable, casual, yet sophisticated establishment with a great brunch menu. I can’t really speak for the rest of their food, but if you’re looking for a nicer place to enjoy brunch on a weekend morning or early afternoon, 101 BK is your spot. Their prices are pretty much on point for the style of food they serve and the atmosphere they accomplish. The Mrs. and I both agreed that 101 BK may be one of our new favorite brunch spots in town, and we won’t hesitate to return.
They’ve also recently announced that they will be expanding to the east side in the near future with the opening of a second 101 Beer Kitchen restaurant in the Stone Ridge Plaza at the corner of Morse & Hamilton. So for those of you in the Gahanna/New Albany area, be sure to go out and check them out when they open!! You won’t regret it.
101 Beer Kitchen is located at 7509 Sawmill Rd, Dublin OH 43016 (Map). They’re open Monday – Saturday, 11:00 am – 11:00 pm, and Sunday, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm.They serve Brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 – 3:00. For more info, check out their website, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.