Critic’s Special: MOD Pizza

With 200 locations around the U.S. and a fast growing presence in the Midwest, MOD Pizza brings the build-your-own pizza concept some refreshing perspective. As another new location opened in Columbus Saturday, Another Food Critic was invited to take a look inside.

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Kaya Grill & Sushi

It’s pretty hard to find a place in the midwestern United States that does Korean barbecue — the distinctive style of cooking raw meats on a hot element is something that is easy to embrace…once you’re already familiar with the process. So around here, it doesn’t have much of a following. But if you want an introduction on the idea, a good place to go would be Kaya Grill & Sushi, a Columbus spot that specializes in Korean and Japanese cooking. But the best thing to try in the restaurant has to be this unique way of eating, both for its rarity in this area and for the potential to really walk away satisfied you’ve had a great meal.

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Addi’s Restaurant

While it doesn’t look like much from the outside, Addi’s Restaurant in Columbus in fact offers a taste of cuisine not often seen in Ohio; offering Ethiopian food, with the local Ethiopian population congregating around the restaurant and its take on traditional Ethiopian cuisine. While the food isn’t half bad, the spot does seem like it could use a bit of an update on the outside. On the inside, it does seem to need some tweaks to make it a more approachable place. There’s a lot of people here who have never had Ethiopian food.

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Mr. Pot

Nestle the way in the suburbs of North Columbus, Mr. pot only sells one thing: Chinese style hot pot. This is a unique kind of eating that lets you cook meats, seafoods and vegetables in a boiling broth and then dipping them in a sauce of your choice. It’s an immensely popular dish in Asia but this kind of cooking really hasn’t penetrated its way to the United States, except on a small scale with restaurants like this. Come hungry, this place will fill you up quickly.

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Belle’s Bread Japanese Bakery & Café

Focused specifically on providing baked goods and desserts specifically for an east Asian audience, Belle’s Bread sits among a number of Asian businesses but remains approachable. This Columbus bakery has many kinds of goodies that can’t be found in your average Midwestern shop. Roll cakes, green tea frozen yogurt, Rice cake based dishes. That in addition to the traditional cakes, pies, and bread are available here. What are you aiming to dine in, or you’re taking some food to go, you’ll this is a pretty nice place to try a few new goodies.

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Bonifacio

A brand new concept from experienced Columbus restaurateurs known for the popular Red Velvet Cafe downtown, Bonifacio is a full dive into Filipino cuisine, something very unusual in a full service restaurant in Columbus. For many this will be one of the first times they can try the specialty dishes offered here, and that’s a good thing. The East Asian and Spanish influences on The Philippines have always meant delicious food combinations, and the different way of thinking plays very well here.

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Johnny Buccelli’s

A Columbus concept with a simple love of Midwestern grub for “solid two-fisted eating,” Johnny Buccelli’s is a deli and sandwich operation along Bethel Road that offers a wide menu of subs, paninis, burgers, and soup/salad combos, the shop has plenty of options for a friendly kind of sandwich place. Columbus has many great options, this one has a faithful following.

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ZenCha Tea Salon

Now with three locations across Columbus, Zen Cha Tea Salon is a modern take on the classic, quiet and lovable tea house. Tea lovers can come to a place like this for a chance to enjoy nice drinks and tea time bites to eat while in a quieter and more peaceful environment. The salon is located in places that are typically very busy and crowded, but in each, the tea house is an island of calm, its drinks and goodies a real reason to come in.

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Sunflower Chinese Restaurant

While Columbus has plenty of Chinese food of all kinds, it’s harder to find a really good experience for the less Americanized palette of dim sum in the city. But when you get a taste of the more traditional Cantonese meal, you find it quickly grows on you. Sunflower Chinese Restaurant has a following in town, particularly in the close-knit Chinese-American community, for how its food hearkens to a different kind of eating. The spot has a regular menu full of Americanized dishes, but I highly recommend coming in to try something a bit more unusual, because here you’ll find a special liking for it.

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Stauf’s Coffee Roasters

A neighborhood coffee and tea shop with a few locations around Columbus, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters is a bistro with a specialty in roasting its own coffee and making its own tea. While that by itself is a rare thing indeed, the best part about this little coffee shop is by far the atmosphere at each location; it’s really a place that feels like a comfortable and friendly environment, even in the bustle of a city. The drinks here are made to be appreciated, as is the atmosphere.

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