This post is running in conjunction with Local Foods Week, a series of events presented by Local Matters to celebrate locally-sourced food in Central Ohio. Events include tastings, special restaurant menus, cooking classes, farmers markets, food tours, and an Eat Local challenge. For a complete schedule of events and to learn more about Local Matters, click here.
Earlier this year, Clintonville residents watched their flagship food truck, Ray Ray’s Hog Pit, pull up anchor and move down High Street to the parking lot at Ace of Cups bar. While its new home in Old North Columbus is less than a mile away from its original location, there was a noticeable void left in the Clintonville mobile food scene with its departure.
Enter Mya’s Fried Chicken. Named after owners Mark and Rachel Tolentino’s daughter, Mya’s moved into the spot formerly occupied by Ray Ray’s and couldn’t have had a more dramatic opening weekend. The Friday night prior, Ohio was hit with a massive windstorm (the infamous derecho) that left millions without power. Unrelenting temperatures reaching into the high 90s compounded the misery of those left without electricity and Clintonville was one of the hardest hit neighborhoods, suffering wide-spread outages that would last over a week. In an extraordinary show of community support, Mark went ahead with the opening of Mya’s and gave away chicken meals to residents on a donation-only basis. With the opening of Mya’s, Clintonville had not only found its newest food truck, it had welcomed its newest neighbor.
Mark’s strong sense of community is further evident in his decision to source all of Mya’s chicken locally. Using Ohio-raised, hormone-free chickens fed an all-vegetable diet with no antibiotics, Mya’s suppliers process the birds in Clintonville. By choosing to source Ohio poultry, Mark not only supports the local economy, the minimal travel time from farm to table ensures he’s supplied with the freshest possible chickens. And a fresh bird is the foundation of great fried chicken.
Drawing on his experience and food knowledge, Mark (a veteran of the food industry with 17 years in the business) has developed his own method for preparing and frying his chickens. His process involves soaking them in a buttermilk brine, then dredging the meat through a flour-based mixture (both of which contain a proprietary blend of seasonings). It is then fried on location and finished with either a spiced vinegar or herbed honey drizzle (your choice) prior to serving. The result is a crispy, full-flavored and golden-brown coating surrounding a succulent, moist piece of chicken—some of the best I’ve had the pleasure eating.
Mya’s menu also includes craft versions of the obligatory sides: biscuits, potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese, green beans, and coleslaw. While all play a solid supporting role to the chicken, the two standouts for me are the biscuits and the potatoes/gravy. The buttermilk biscuits are made daily and are light and fluffy. They also contain a sweet note, reminiscent of cornbread. Mya’s smashed potatoes and pan gravy are exactly what the name implies: coarsely mashed potatoes topped with a rich gravy made from the pan drippings of the chicken. Were it available, I would gladly order a side of just gravy.
The brief vacancy left by Ray Ray’s at Pacemont and High has been filled by the more-than-capable team at Mya’s Fried Chicken, securing Clintonville residents’ easy access to mobile comfort food. Mya’s is located at 3166 N. High Street (adjacent to the Super Food Mart) and is open Friday through Sunday, noon to 8pm (or until they run out of chicken). You can check their current status and updates on their Facebook page.
Photography is courtesy of guest photographer Lauren Ewart of Barefeet Studio.