May 2007 Issue
May Featured Restaurant
The restaurant world is dog-eat-dog; behind-the-lines TV shows like "Hell's Kitchen" and now-defunct "The Restaurant" confirm that. Columbus' scene is no exception. Its ranks are stacked with corporate heavyweights with big spaces and deep pockets. It's a tough town for the little guy, no matter how sharp his skills.
Still, restaurateur Rudy Tirado had the guts to jump in the ring, and diners in northern Columbus are eating better because of it. The Miami, Florida, native's restaurant, Manhattans, has two locations, one in downtown Delaware, the other in Westerville's downtown, now known as "old Westerville" to differentiate it from the "new" Westerville that has sprung up around Polaris Fashion Place. Both restaurants have been open less than a year, although Tirado is already challenging the competition. "We make the best crab cakes in the city. No question," he says defiantly.
Tirado says the name, menu and decor are his way of bringing the big city to the suburbs. At either location, you'll find a large, straightforward collection of all-American classics such as burgers and shrimp scampi pasta, with a few eye catchers like the Manhattan beer-can chicken and the twin filet mignons. Tirado chose historic buildings for both locations, so high ceilings, wood floors and a sense of minimalism prevail, although the Delaware space is slightly more literal with black-and-whites of the Big Apple and a 6-foot Statue of Liberty welcoming the hungry, at least, from the back of the dining room. This time of year, you can get full-service outdoor dining on the 50-plus-seat patio in Westerville. It's a nice venue for watching the downtown traffic and testing out the crab cakes, which, drizzled with a creamy chipotle sauce, definitely hold their own against area contenders.
But if you don't agree, just let him know.
"We're family owned, and I want to offer excellent food and excellent service," says Tirado. "I refuse to dissatisfy anyone."
|Delaware and Westerville
Manhattans 29 E. Winter St., Delaware, 740/369-2840; 74 N. State St., Westerville, 614/882-9080.
The Westerville location is open for lunch and dinner.
Delaware serves dinner only.
Both locations are closed on Sundays. $7â€“$26. CR 3