January 15, 2021


All Things Delicious

A person of Ohio’s most effective restaurants is in a gas station

4 min read

Pictured pre-pandemic, Katalina’s is situated in a 100-12 months-aged gas station — Picture courtesy of Nick Dekker

It’s not uncommon to see a line at a fuel station but, at the oldest gas station in Columbus, Ohio, there are no vehicles waiting around – just people. And they’re ready to fill up their stomachs, not their tanks.

Katalina’s, The Tiny Café with Tons of Nearby Goodness, took over the 100-calendar year-outdated fuel station in Harrison West 10 years back and straight away turned the spot to go for Latin-leaning, Southern-slanted comfort food.

No matter whether you might be purchasing for breakfast, brunch or lunch, you ought to count on a wait because of the reputation of the Pancake Balls.

Katalina's signature Pancake BallsKatalina’s signature Pancake Balls — Photograph courtesy of Raquib Ahmed

If you get absolutely nothing else at Katalina’s (but really do not fret, you will), you have to check out individuals signature bites of deliciousness crammed with Nutella or dulce de leche. A lot more than two million of them have been offered considering that the cafe opened, and they continue on to be a bestseller.

“I’ve been building Pancake Balls for my household for a lengthy, prolonged time,” said Kathleen Working day, the true Katalina. “They’re impressed by a beloved worldwide dish but mine aspect a top secret component and are produced with the best stoneground flour from Fowler’s, a neighborhood mill.”

That devotion to supporting regional businesses has turn into a image of Katalina’s, and it is the purpose every little thing is so fresh new and flavorful.

Katalina's Prego Steak SandwichKatalina’s Prego Steak Sandwich — Photo courtesy of Raquib Ahmed

A champion of the “Live Like Local” philosophy (in fact, she trademarked it), Day purchases substances nearly solely from her Columbus colleagues, many of whom she identified at the city’s well-liked North Market place.

The pork in her award-winning Huge! Mazatlan Sluggish-Roasted Pork & Egg Sandwich arrives from Beeler’s the mixture of spices in her well-known Holy Tomole (Tomato + Mole) soup was made by Ben Walter the tortilla chips that accompany her sandwiches are created from Shagbark’s organic heritage wheat and the espresso that commences so quite a few Ohioans’ mornings is produced in compact batches in Central America (in which it supports ladies) by Thunderkiss.

Oh, and crème fraiche from Snowville Creamery appears in rather substantially every thing from the Award-Successful Breakfast Tacos to Katalina’s Latina Sandwich.

Working day has loaded her Unique Pancake Balls with every selection of jam and fruit butter from Cooper’s Mill and complemented them with rich, Bourbon-barrel aged maple syrup from Milligan’s.

Katalina's Southern Fried Buttermilk Chicken SandwichKatalina’s Southern Fried Buttermilk Rooster Sandwich — Picture courtesy of Eric Wagner

“When I opened a ten years ago, extremely couple ‘fast casual’ restaurants ended up concentrating on community and organic and natural components, specially in the Midwest,” said Day. “I wasn’t on the lookout to be ‘trendy.’ I just missed the street burritos I was used to from The Mission District in California and the homecooked dishes I experienced developed up consuming. I seriously just preferred to make and resource the foods that I desired to try to eat.”

Day has been a passionate cook because the age of 9, when she utilised to try her hand at Julia Child’s recipes in Parade magazine. She place off opening her personal restaurant until finally later on in existence, immediately after she had saved plenty of dollars by caring for young children as an au pair in France, cooking for a Countess, waiting tables and working in promoting.

The original gas station that's now Katalina'sThe primary gasoline station that is now Katalina’s — Picture courtesy of Katalina’s

“As shortly as I observed the fuel station, complete of cigarette butts and graffiti, I envisioned my Indian Circus gentle indication more than it and realized how significantly potential it experienced to be my aspiration area,” remembered Working day. “I pretty much signed on the dotted line in just a few of weeks and remaining my company advertising work. The neighborhood is now a single of the most desirable in Columbus.”

The graffiti is still there, however, giving Katalina’s a down-to-earth authenticity that tends to make visitors really feel proper at residence and encourages them to increase their have contributions to the artwork. According to Day, the most tough component of turning an previous gasoline station into a modern day working day cafe was the point that it was only 600 sq. feet.

“There’s only area for a single restroom, and Columbus involves two restrooms for a liquor license,” she defined. “So, the motive we do not provide supper is just by default.”

With only 26 seats inside of and 50 on the patio (but now open up for curbside decide-up and shipping and delivery), it’s no question Day opened her 2nd cafe, Katalina’s, Way too! in Clintonville. The demand was substantial and the name instantly recognizable.

Kathleen Working day, the actual Katalina — Picture courtesy of Raquib Ahmed

“Katalina is my identify in Spanish, and it’s what the Latin personnel have known as me in each restaurant I have at any time worked in, from Arkansas to Paris,” she said.

There’s a very good likelihood Day will open a third place in the in the vicinity of long run.

“I desire about new menu goods,” she admitted. “That’s my favored portion of jogging the eating places.”

New menu goods?

“Don’t fret,” she laughed. “As extensive as there’s a Katalina’s, there will constantly be Pancake Balls.”

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