The new year is on the horizon, and it will mark a new beginning for the downtown dining scene.
Nawa, which means “new beginning” in Thai, is set to open soon on Columbia Street on The Landing. Social media posts feature photos of a nearly complete interior and advertisements for jobs, and gift certificates were sold for the holiday season in anticipation of opening.
Co-owner Prill Trowbridge says a grand opening, for which a date has not been set, will be in January.
The restaurant, which was originally slated to open in the fall, will feature Asian fusion cuisine with dishes inspired by Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Korean cooking.
Trowbridge, who is from Thailand, says the restaurant's food will be heavily inspired by her homeland but also draw from the other flavors.
The lunch menu includes items such as fried rice, pad Thai and chicken katsu. For dinner, guests can enjoy small plates such as Crying Tiger made with grilled rib eye, roasted ground rice and tamarind; Charcoal Chicken – grilled chicken skewers, peanut sauce and cucumber vinaigrette; and a tempura sampler.
Large plates include Volcano Chicken, which features a half roasted chicken, garlic, lemongrass, sticky rice and salad; Salt and Pepper Soft Shell Crab; and a whole red snapper.
There's also a variety of wok-made dishes, soups, salads and sides.
The staff is currently in training, Trowbridge says, and the menu could be changed to reflect things learned during that time.
The local partners in the restaurant also promise that some of the beverages will feature herbal and fruit flavors of Asia. Nawa has brought on Ryan Ellis, who was a part of the bartending staff at Wine Down and the Sidecar, to be the bar manager.
Ellis has been building anticipation for Nawa's cocktail menu by participating in local competitions.
Offering an upscale experience in a historic building, the decor will keep the red brick, tin ceilings and other unique features.
The modification and build-out of the interior will reflect a different Asian dining experience. This will include higher-end finishes, modern furniture and large artworks as focal points. Paper lantern-inspired light fixtures in bright hues hang next to exposed black pipes and gold globes are in wire cages. The shelving behind the bar is a mix of wood and iron-looking pipe.
“We want to bring something different, something more fun,” to downtown, Trowbridge says, adding that the restaurant at 126 W. Columbia St. should fill a void in Asian spots downtown.
The mission of the Kiwanis is to improve the world, one child and one community at a time, and on Feb. 9, it hopes to do that with one chocolate at a time.
The fourth annual Kiwanis ChocolateFest will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at Turnstone Center for Disabled Children and Adults on Clinton Street.
The evening includes a chocolate fountain with chocolate dipped goodies, chocolate desserts, a full dinner with chocolate inspired food, live entertainment and a cash bar. A silent auction takes place in conjunction with the event.
All of the money raised will go to Riley Hospital for Children and other area charities and projects.
Tickets are $40 each. companies can buy a VIP table of eight for $500. VIP tables will have a special centerpiece with the donor's name with recognition in the donations summary brochure.
For more information, to reserve your tickets or donate silent auction items, call the John Chapman Kiwanis Foundation at 749-4901. Some tickets will be available at the door.
Tickets are also available at www.eventbrite.com with an additional service fee.
Taking a break
Woodie Klepfer has operated Covington Coneys for more than seven years and, in that time, has never taken significant time off.
He has been hoping to find a buyer for the stand at Covington Road and West Jefferson Boulevard but has not made a deal. So while he waits, he is on his first vacation.
The store will be closed until Feb. 5. He will be back serving coneys, chili and all of his regular items thereafter.
The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 461-8304.