Kitchen Little (Facebook / @KitchenLittleOH)
59 Spruce St. (in the North Market)
Columbus, OH 43215
Open Tues-Fri, 10:30-4; Sat, 9-5 (bfast on Saturdays ONLY)
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/Y (both occasionally)
Date of Visit: Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: Ah, Kitchen Little. A mainstay of the Columbus eat-local scene, a worthy stop in our wonderful North Market, and one of the defining comfort food havens in town. Kitchen Little has been around as an operation for some time, although the name is relatively new. All along, they've been a part of North Market Poultry and Game; I wrote an early review of their Cuban breakfast years ago.
The food service area can be found on the western corner of the Poultry & Game stall, which is in the northern section of the market itself.
There are two important details to recommend Kitchen Little's food: 1.) Their connection to a poultry and game market that features a wide selection of locally-raised meats. 2.) Their location in the market itself, with access to all sorts of fresh produce, baked goods, and spices.
This is the man behind Kitchen Little: Dan Bandman. If you're at all hesitant about ordering something, just ask Dan to describe each of their dishes.
FOOD: Indeed, I was lured over to Kitchen Little this particular day by Dan's description of the French toast.
That day, he took challah bread from Omega Artisan Baking down the aisle and soaked it overnight in maple syrup, eggs, cream, and vanilla.
Keep in mind that the options may change by the week, depending on ingredients available. The other dishes available that day included freshly-made buttermilk biscuits...
... paired with a rich chicken sausage gravy.
Something new for me: breakfast sliders with eggs, sausage, veggies.
My father-in-law ordered the cassoulet (one of Kitchen Little's hallmarks) with a couple eggs and a side of grits. Kitchen Little is also known for their chicken and waffles, but I didn't order that today because I've had them (and written about them) before. But the chicken and waffles - made using Taste of Belgium's waffles - is well worth the taste.
Instead, I ordered a little bit of everything. First, the potatoes fried in duck fat. Very crispy, well seasoned.
Close-up of the French toast. Although it was a little floppy from soaking in the goodness, it was still custardy and rich.
Chicken sausage gravy ready for launch.
Biscuit at the ready.
It's go time! Biscuit was soft, gravy was chunky and full of flavor. I keep using the word "rich" to describe the food here, but it just fits. That's comfort food for you: packed with flavors, filling, and using simple ingredients to win you over.
Also got a breakfast slider. The bun was the tiniest bit soggy, but the flavors lined up just right. Would be an easy grab-and-go breakfast if you're swinging through the market.
SERVICE: Dan and his crew are very friendly, and love to engage their customers with their mission. They can tell you all about the sources of their meat, eggs, bread, cream, spices, and more. That, to me, adds a bonus element to the comfort food: you can take part in the process of your food coming together. So eating breakfast (or lunch) there is a little celebration of what's great about the market as a whole.
OVERALL: Run, don't walk, to Kitchen Little. You can find all manner of breakfasts at North Market, be it pastries, sandwiches, coffee, or juice (or pizza!), but Kitchen Little offers you the only full breakfast experience there: French toast, sausage gravy, eggs, potatoes, and the like. Tap into the locavore inside you, and dive right in.
-> North Market Poultry & Game's website
-> my (614) Magazine write-up on chicken and waffles (including Kitchen Little)