On Restaurants

New shop makes doughnuts glazed in attitude

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  • Tom Dodge | DISPATCH
    Kate Butterbaugh is a doughnut artist at the new Little Donut Shop at 1716 N. High St.
  • Tom Dodge | DISPATCH PHOTOS
    Todd Ciardelli is general manager of the Little Donut Shop, across from OSU at 1716 N. High St.
  • The Little Donut Shop window reflects the OSU student union.

December 17, 2013

Fans of independent doughnut purveyors now have one more option for unusual concoctions. The Little Donut Shop opened at 1716 N. High St. on Sept. 18.

It was created to fill both an empty storefront and a void in the food offerings in the neighborhood across from Ohio State University.

“We already have the first-floor space at that address. We tried to do other things there, and nothing took off, so we revamped it when the doughnut idea came about. It’s going very well. Everything has been positive,” said manager Todd Ciardelli.

The Little Donut Shop is owned by John Massimiani and John Kastelic, who also are behind the Big Bar & Grill, which is directly upstairs, and the Little Bar at 2195 N. High St.

“When we looked around, we saw that no one else was really doing doughnuts here. We have a nice student population, and it can work on campus,” Ciardelli said. Students “want to try different things and fun stuff.”

The menu is simple: 15 varieties of doughnuts, plus Peet’s coffee. Each doughnut has a big personality. Alongside powdered doughnuts, and frosted chocolate and vanilla varieties, are maple-bacon doughnuts coated with bacon pieces, a “dirty worm” with chocolate frosting coated in Oreo crumbs and garnished with gummy worms, and an M&M doughnut rolled in crushed M&Ms.

The goodies cost a buck each.

“All of the doughnuts have the same cake base, which is a blank canvas. The sky is the limit with what you can put on top of that,” Ciardelli said. “We have 15 flavors right now, and many other ideas coming.”

They also solicit suggestions from the public.

“As long as it can stick to a doughnut, we’re open to ideas.”

The Little Donut Shop is as small as its name suggests, about 600 square feet with seating for 15 people. It was transformed from a barlike atmosphere with dark wood before opening. “We really just had to change the colors and brighten it up,” he said.

The owners know they aren’t the only people in town offering such fare, but “we see ourselves as something completely different,” Ciardelli said. “We are selling doughnuts, but we know people who want a traditional doughnut can get a glazed one wherever they want. We’re doing something more fun. It’s a different mentality altogether.”

The Little Donut Shop is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and has late-night hours on Friday and Saturday nights. For more information, go to www.littledonut.com.

Treats at Trattoria Roma

Trattoria Roma, an Italian-restaurant staple in Columbus for 24 years, is going coast to coast, at least in terms of the menu. The restaurant at 1447 Grandview Ave. has launched a series of weekly special menus featuring the dishes of noteworthy Italian restaurants in cities from Rome to San Francisco.

So far, dishes from eight restaurants have been featured, including Babbo Ristorante, Rao’s and Patsy’s Italian Restaurant — one of Frank Sinatra’s favorites — in New York City.

Chef Matt Prokopchak takes several dishes from the menu at the featured restaurant, then gives it his own spin, he said.

“It has been a fun experiment,” he said. “It’s interesting to see how chefs put their approach to their particular cuisine.”

So far, the specials aren’t advertised or announced far in advance. Fans have to closely monitor the Facebook page or wait for their server to tell them the specials. It’s a way for the restaurant to freshen its offerings without having to change the menu.

Off the menu

• Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer Diner has opened at 2160 W. Case Rd., at the Ohio State University airport. It’s owned by Genaro and Hilda Garcia-Mandriotti, who have owned and operated Jack & Benny’s Diner at 2563 N. High St. for about 18 years. For more information, call 614-292-5699.

• The new Moe’s Southwest Grill at 1478 Bethel Rd. is the Atlanta-based chain’s fourth location in Columbus. Moe’s has been expanding aggressively in central Ohio; all its local restaurants have opened in the past year.

• The annual Chicken Souper Bowl cook-off, in which professional and amateur chefs compete for the title of best chicken soup and best challah bread, will be Feb. 1. The deadline to enter is Dec. 31. The event is sponsored by Congregation Beth Tikvah in Worthington. Proceeds are used to send kids to summer camp and to benefit the Holy Family Soup Kitchen. For more information, contact Jeff Wasserstrom at 614-760-0026.

Obit file

• Charley’s Philly Steaks, 1836 W. Henderson Rd., has closed. BiBiBop, a Korean fast-casual restaurant owned by the same parent company as Charley’s, will open in its place.

• The Wendy’s at 4328 W Broad St. has closed. It’s no longer listed on the company website.

Dispatch restaurant columnist Denise Trowbridge can be reached at onrestaurants@dispatch.com.