Intent is as constant a force as there is in the explorer's vocabulary. The phrases are familiar and off-repeating: from "that's on my list of to-dos now" to "hey, we should check out such-and-such place this month" to "oh, yeah, that's somewhere we haven't gotten to yet." So it figures when you unintentionally visit a place several times in a short span after seemingly infinite "intending to's", it's about time to get writing about it, especially when that something's initial incarnation has evolved numerous times since we first learned of them.
Mai Chau originally started as a Granville-based food truck. Inspired by time spent in Vietnam, owners Scott and Ashley Wilkins brought their love of the country's food back to Granville starting in 2013, and both my spouse and I heard nothing but good things about their offerings from friends and family in the area.
As it turned out, we never could make it out to the truck itself before the Wilkins clan opened up their brick-and-mortar Mai Chau on Prospect eatery in November, 2015. Even more intentions built up prior to their latest venture: the opening of the companion Three Tigers Brewing but five months afterward when the space next door came available, and something of a flip of the typical fledgling brewery adds food service model.
A couple months later in July, Three Tigers announced a weekend brunch service. Geez, our favorite type of meal for my spouse and I. Twist our arms enough already, why don't you...
As it turns out, the Three Tigers/Mai Chau spaces are interconnected with one another, somewhat reminiscent to me of Grandview Heights' Zauber Brewing, which holds Explorer's Club and Das Kaffeehaus within its space. Not surprisingly, the brewpub side of things contains a bar area and plenty of televisions for viewing all the sports you can bear to watch. Cool earth-tone colors and wood panel floors give the interior an overall comfy vibe.
Our first impression of brunch was favorable - while I was given an Eggs Benedict vs. Croque Madame (I didn't mind so much, but the staff was happy to discount my meal in a show of good service), it was a good rendition of such, and apparently the choice of most brunch-goers to Three Tigers. Meanwhile, my spouse enjoyed her Chicken & Waffles, more so for the latter as it sported a pleasing crispy exterior/soft interior texture blend, as well as the Bloody Mary - while the mix was a commercially produced one, it sported an nice spicy kick. The fried pork rind topper (freshly made) was an added nice touch to this cocktail.
Our next visit was to the Mai Chau side of things to pick up some Bahn Mi to go. These sandwiches are more Vietnamese-inspired versus the traditional constructs you would get at a place like Columbus' Mi Li or Huong, but they hit the right notes in terms of size (these big boys will fill you up) and fresh ingredients. They provide a perfect pairing with one of the beers on tap from the Three Tigers side of things, or, in our case, a neighboring brethren (Heath's own Homestead Brewing.)
Our third visit brought us back to Three Tigers for some late night hanging out. We were actually jonesing for some dinner, but alas the restaurant side of the business was closed. However, this allowed us to sample some of the bar snacks available for consumption for night owls like us.
Here, Three Tigers came to the rescue with a great assortment of wings. Each variety (Thai, Mai Chau Hot and Viet-Style) had something to recommend them, and even spice heads like us would be inclined to order a flight of all three next time we were inclined for such. Paired up with some really good mozzarella cheese bites and beers on tap, and we really couldn't complain too much about missing dinner that night.
Besides, that gives us another excuse for a fourth visit in the very near future to actually sample the dinner selections, right?
Mai Chau on Prospect
138 N. Prospect Street (Google Maps)
Granville, OH 43023
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Three Tigers Brewing
140 N. Prospect Street
Granville, OH 43023
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