Surly Girl Saloon recently unveiled a new menu. Here's more about the woman behind the spicy fare at the Short North hangout, kitchen manager Lara Ranallo.

Surly Girl Saloon recently unveiled a new menu. Here's more about the woman behind the spicy fare at the Short North hangout, kitchen manager Lara Ranallo.

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. I moved out here three and half years ago, because I was in culinary school and I had to go on an externship. I could go anywhere I wanted, and I sort of always loved this city. I took a job with the Hyatt on Capitol Square. I've been at Surly for about eight months.

My favorite thing about Columbus is the community. I love that I can walk down the street, go into any store and see someone I know. I love going down to the North Market, just walking around. I really just love everything about this city. Everyone's so friendly.

I sort of fell into cooking. I was going to school in Pittsburgh, and I took a break. I was working at this local Italian restaurant. One of my managers said he recognized some talent and thought I should go to school for it.

The Pennsylvania Culinary Institute is a Le Cordon Bleu school right in downtown Pittsburgh. The program is a year long. It's not as intense as Top Chef or anything, but they're long days. You learn everything from soups and sauces to classic French cuisine.

I could see myself being in a kitchen for a long time. I'm pretty sure I have the best job ever.

My goal with Surly's new menu was to bring in a little more Southwestern flair, since our theme is a little bit of sass and spice. I also wanted some fresher ingredients. I always like a new challenge. I like to do a bit of everything and change it up all the time.

If there's something I haven't made, I love to make it a whole bunch of times until I perfect it.

Every now and then, I have spare time. I have a puppy that I like to play with. We do board game nights with our friends. We go out to eat a lot.

I secretly love to dance. I can do the "Thriller" dance, Soulja Boy and "Cotton Eye Joe." My whole goal is to learn the stupidest dance ever.

Three things I can't live without are my puppy, the internet and my family.

The best advice I've ever received comes from my dad, who told me to be persistent all the time. If you want something, work for it. You'll get it.

Something about me that people might not know is there's a hot dog named after me at Dirty Frank's. It's the Lara's Pittsburgh Princess. It's a Pittsburgh-style dog with fries and coleslaw on it. I had to bring a little bit of Pittsburgh to Columbus.

Know someone doing cool things in Columbus? E-mail jross@columbusalive.com