Columbus veteran Chef Paul Yow & Easton’s novel Forbidden Root

February 4, 2020

Late 2018, Columbus’s celebrated shopping center, Easton, announced a $500 million expansion in honor of their 20-year anniversary. The first establishment, Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery, opened just in time for the 2019 holiday season, and has been the talk of the town ever since. The second of its kind, with a flagship location in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, Forbidden Root is known for its botanical themed beers and elevated pub cuisine. Running the Columbus kitchen is Executive Chef Paul Yow. A veteran in the Columbus food scene, Paul brings years of experience to the table, ensuring Forbidden Root will be a beautiful blend of the original concept and the best of what Columbus has to offer. Paul confirms, “When I saw the menu from Forbidden Root in Chicago, I was blown away…I knew I had to be part of it.”

Previously the chef at Columbus staples like Barcelona, Biscuit & Branch, and Paul’s own Hae-Paul’s, Paul states his palate is not confined to any one cuisine. He explains his cooking style has four main influences: his general love for comfort food, his mother’s Southern cooking, his 15 years of cooking Spanish cuisine at Barcelona, and his 25-year marriage to his wife Hae, a South Korean native. As Paul puts it, “My style is basically wanting to cook and put on the menu things I would like to eat and constantly trying new things.”

From beers, to cocktails, to dishes, Forbidden Root’s menu also reflects diverse influences. From traditional pub fare to garden-inspired eclectic dishes, plates range from Crispy Chicken Skins to Grilled Fennel with Tomato Walnut Ezme, Mussels in Curry Coconut Broth, and Duck & Dumplings. The beer list boasts Strawberry Basil Hefeweizen, BlackBerry Fold Fruited Wheat Ale and Ghost Tropic 2xNEIPA, to name a few.  On the cocktail menu one can find the Rosé Spritz with Orange Saffron Bitters, the Lonely Wolf with Bourbon and Bitter Orange Apéritif, or The Coven with Gin, Lemon and Lavender Syrup, among many other crafty concoctions. Paul explains, “We have brought a few of Chicago’s best dishes to Columbus but are working to add our own local flavors. The personality and feel of Chicago Forbidden Root is definitely what we want to bring here to Columbus. The emphasis is on approachable offerings in a comfortable, friendly setting with fresh and unique flavors.”

True to word, the setting they have built in Easton is quite remarkable, consisting of two floors and capacity for 300. When patio weather hits, patrons will be able to enjoy a warm breeze on both the downstairs and upstairs levels, with garage doors on the lower level, and retractable windows on the top. Paul describes, “As we begin to brew here in Columbus, we will do beer pairing dinners and look for flavors on our menus that will complement our brews. We have a small private dining room and plenty of room for groups in our upstairs bar area. We plan to do all types of gatherings.”  

 “We in the kitchen are inspired by our brew masters’ use of globally sourced flavors,” Paul reflects. The culinary scene here in Columbus is so exciting now…there is so much diverse culinary talent here. We are excited to be a part of the newest expansion at Easton – we feel this will be the next dining and drinking destination in Columbus.” Since Forbidden Root’s Easton opening, a handful of others have followed, such as RH Warehouse and The Beeline. Many more are set to open later this year, so stay tuned!



Written by Marianna Marchenko