Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen (Facebook / T: @hoofheartedbar / IG: @hoofheartedbrewpub)
850 N. Fourth St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43215
Open Wed, 3p-12a; Thurs-Fri, 3p-2a; Sat, 11a-2a; Sun, 11a-12a
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
My November brunch review for the Columbus Dispatch took me to Hoof Hearted’s brewpub in Italian Village. Read my thoughts on the place here.
Although the Hoof Hearted brewery has had a solid presence in central Ohio for a few years now, the brewpub itself is less than a year old. There’s a bit of a contrast between the brewery’s colorful, cartoonish branding and the sleek, modern (albeit beautiful) restaurant space.
That said, you’ll still find the regular markings of Hoof Hearted branding, from the cartoon characters to the irreverent naming of beers and dishes.
The space is big and open, with bar seating and two dining rooms, one at the front and one in the back. In the middle of the space, surrounded by glass walls, is the brewery.
I can barely keep up with Hoof Hearted’s beer offerings, although I have some old favorites like their South of Eleven imperial IPA. They actually have two breweries: the original up in Marengo, Ohio, where you can gather for popular can releases on Sundays, and the system at the brewpub. This means you may find familiar HH beers in new iterations on tap at the restaurant.
And there’s sufficient variety to keep almost any beer drinker interested, from farmhouse ales and sour beers to IPAs and stouts to pilsners and cream ales.
It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to us, but the meal turned out to be one of the more interesting and memorable brunches we’ve encountered in a while. The best part is that there’s great follow-through on the promise of the menu.
But first: beer. There were too many new beers I wanted to try, so I ordered a flight of four samples to tackle the Tailpipin’ IPA, Drownin’ in the Drzmz cream ale with apricot and vanilla, Zipper Ripper double IPA with Amish honey (really nice), and the I Only Smoke After Sex smoked stout made with their house-roasted coffee.
If you’re a bruncher but not a beer drinker, you’ll find a good selection of cocktails, too, like the Bandol Bandito with vodka, rose, bubbles, and lime.
Once you order, you’ll soon be presented with a colorful parade of brunch dishes. Never pass up donuts on a brunch menu, especially here at Hoof Hearted. We tried the PB&J Doughnut, a big yeast donut filled with jam and topped with peanut butter and a piece of peanut brittle.
For added theatricality, they include a plastic pipette filled with more jam, so you can inject or drizzle it as you see fit. As you can imagine, it was a big hit with the kiddos. They got to play with jam and then eat a donut.
The donut is a good set-up for the main courses. First, the shakshuka, a North African dish of eggs cooked in a tomato sauce. This dish was very rich but nicely balanced, with peppers and onions sauteed with the tomatoes. It’s all covered in cheese, baked, and served with toast and a piece of lamb sausage.
Nachos count as breakfast as long you put eggs in them, right? Works for me. The Nacho Breakfast is just what it sounds like: a giant pile of chips topped with scrambled eggs, three types of meat (bacon, chuck, short rib), a charred corn salsa, a cilantro crema, and a big dollop of guacamole. It’s messy and colorful and everything you’d hope breakfast nachos would be.
The poutine is similarly messy and flavorful: thick wedge fries topped with shredded pork, cheese curds (could have used more of those), and gravy. Diced daikon radish adds a little crisp, as does the giant onion ring.
It’s topped with a well done egg with a runny yolk.
Finally, the smoked trout bagel: a soft Amy’s Bagel spread with cream cheese, a generous portion of smoked trout, two poached eggs, a little salmon roe (I think?), and a light hollandaise. It’s light and savory, but it’s all pulled together by a bed of sauteed greens.
The marriage of Hoof Hearted beers and their attendant branding (read: farting minotaurs) and a fully-fledged restaurant has resulted in a pretty fascinating meal, at least to speak of the brunch side. I’d recommend checking it out, and I hope they continue to produce a fun and engaging meal like the one we had.