Knead Urban Diner
505 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Less than a year old, Knead has found its way to the top of many diners' favorites list. ColumbusUnderground.com lists Knead as the Best New Restaurant of 2010 and Urbanspoon.com lists it #1 on its Talk of the Town ("Restaurants that Columbus critics and bloggers are talking about right now") list.
Knead is the beneficiary of a fine culinary pedigree. Rick and Krista Lopez were the proprietors of Crescendo Pastaria (just north of the current Digger & Finch location in Dublin) and one of my favorite restaurants - Trattoria La Tavola which began in Powell before moving to Riverside Drive. Prior to these husband and wife endeavors, Rick also worked at Tapatio, another of my favorite restaurants on Park Street across from the North Market. Each of these restaurants was critically acclaimed and Knead is already living up to this reputation.
This was my sophomore sojourn to Knead, having first visited for dinner in early August. Unfortunately, that visit was before I conceived the idea of creating this blog and I can't remember what I ordered. What I can remember is that I enjoyed it very much, had excellent service, and vowed to return.
Today, Lori and I came downtown for lunch. With a train show across the street at the Columbus Convention Center and few available parking spaces on this early Sunday afternoon, I thought we might be in for a crowded lunch. On the contrary, several tables were still open and we chose one with a view of the passing traffic. Short North traffic, particularly of the pedestrian variety, is always fun to watch!
Knead prides itself on offering food made from scratch and using ingredients produced by local farmers. In fact, we were seated by a map of the state that had the locations of many of the restaurants vendors listed.
(Photo from Knead's Facebook page)
After reviewing the menu and considering a number of options, particularly The Fun Guy pizza (with shiitake and oyster mushrooms...get it..."Fungi!") and the StuDaBurger (Knead's take on the classic bacon cheeseburger), I opted for the Motherclucker! Based on the menu description, this incarnation of the sandwich is apparently "new and improved" over the original. After reading that it was a "buttermilk fried Gerber chicken breast with house cured bacon, roasted poblano chiles, romaine lettuce and Amish jack cheese drizzled with honey," I was hooked.
Keeping with the theme of fan favorites, the Motherclucker was also named 2010 Sandwich of the Year by Columbus Alive! In my humble opinion, this was a well-deserved honor.
(Photo from Columbus Alive)
The sandwich contained a nice portion of deliciously fried chicken breast topped with "can't miss" favorites - bacon and poblano peppers! It is accompanied by the diner's choice of lentil salad or hand-cut fries. I opted for the latter and received a large portion of thinly sliced, perfectly fried potato strips. The only downside to the meal was the house-made fennel ketchup. Two things came to mind immediately after tasting the ketchup...(a) if it ain't broke, don't fix it and (b) you don't need to put your signature on everything. However, the fries did not need to be dressed at all. They were very good on their own.
For dessert, we shared a Swoozy Q, which is Knead's take on the Suzy Q's, the Hostess snack that has been around for more nearly 50 years!
The two pieces of chocolate cakes with a white creme filling was a nostalgic take on an old lunch box favorite!
The staff at Knead is very friendly and attentive. This also seems to be a hallmark of Lopez restaurants. They make their patrons feel that they really enjoy working there...and I'm sure they do!
Knead has a website and Facebook page that offers additional insight into their food and philosophy. Also, undoubtedly due to its reputation in the culinary community, a Google search will yield many reviews and stories about the restaurant and their owners.
I highly recommend Knead!