Food News: Chef Avishar Barua Opens Joya's Café in Old Worthington

Restaurant openings, closings and more Central Ohio food and drink news

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
The fried rice at Joya's Cafe, chef Avishar Barua's new restaurant in Old Worthington.

Openings & Announcements 

The hotly anticipated daytime café from chef Avishar Barua, a Top Chef season 18 contestant, gave a sneak peek last week and is primed to officially open Wednesday in Old Worthington. Named after Barua’s mother, Joya’s Café is located at 657 High St., formerly Sassafras Bakery. Early menu highlights include several chai and coffee drinks to choose from, including Joya’s milk chai, plus a breakfast sandwich, fried rice and the Cheesy Double Crunch—a popular holdover from Barua's time as executive chef at Service Bar. Barua has already announced that a second restaurant in the works. That restaurant, Agni, will take over the former Ambrose and Eve space on South High Street.  

Speaking of Service Bar (1230 Courtland Ave.), the long-shuttered restaurant from Middle West Spirits has hired a new executive chef, Chris Connolly. According to a post on Service Bar’s Instagram page, an announcement about the restaurant’s reopening is coming soon. After quickly pivoting to a carryout menu when the pandemic kicked off in 2020, Service Bar hit pause in June 2021 for renovations and then-executive chef Avishar Barua moved forward with his own restaurant venture. 

A new Korean fried chicken joint called 92Chickenopened Monday at 12 S. Sandusky St. in Delaware, formerly home to The Flying Pig Ale House. The casual restaurant is owned by the same company that runs CM Chicken, which has quickly become a popular KFC destination since opening last fall on Henderson Road. 92Chicken has a similar menu, including classic Korean fried chicken, spring onion and curry chicken dishes as well as shrimp tempura and fried chicken gizzards. 

Cameron Mitchell’s El Segundo Mexican Kitchen (698 N. High St.) celebrates its first anniversary on Wednesday, Aug. 31. To mark the event, the Mexican restaurant will host a variety of specials from 3 to 9 p.m., including $5 “birthday shots,” $8 house margaritas and $4 tacos. 

Events 

The 3rd Annual Columbus Cocktail Classic, hosted by The Columbus Craft Cocktail Tour and The Bourbon Club of Central Ohio, takes place Sunday, Sept. 4 at Le Méridien Columbus The Joseph (620 N. High St.). Kicking off at 2 p.m., the event features educational seminars on wine and cocktails as well as the chance to interact with local beverage vendors. The event, which benefits Service!, culminates at 6:30 p.m. with the Cocktail Culinary Throwdown, a food-and-cocktail pairing competition judged in part by yours truly. To learn more about the Columbus Cocktail Classic and to purchase tickets, visit thecolumbuscocktailclassic.com