Columbus Food Hub take-out window to begin selling the fried fish in March


J Hot Fish will open in March in the same Olde Towne East spot that Hot Chicken Takeover got its start in. Dispatch file photo.

The take-out window where Hot Chicken Takeover got its start will have a new tenant starting next month.

J Hot Fish just signed a lease at The Columbus Food Hub at 1117 Oak St. in Olde Towne East. The fried fish pop-up is aiming to begin operations on Friday, March 5 - the first Friday of Lent.

Owner K.C. Edwards grew up in Olde Towne East, and learned to cook from his father and stepfather. He's been frying fish for years, most regularly at an annual Fourth of July fish fry at Alum Creek Park.

"Customers at the fish fry would tell me, 'You missed your calling!'" he joked. "Now we'll move that party down to Oak Street."

Edwards' signature is a simple fried fish patted with a housemade cornmeal mix. He's planning to serve the fish with hand-cut fries, cole slaw and a slice of bread. He'll also make special egg rolls.

"We'll call them 'Love 'Ems,'" he said, "because once you eat them, you'll love 'em."

He's planning to open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for lunch and dinner. Exact hours haven't been set, but he's anticipating Fridays running lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner from 6-9 p.m. Friday evenings, he said, he will emphasize the family sit-down dinner.

"It's something that's been taken out of mainstream America," he said.

Kids will eat for free that night (they'll have options other than fish), and Edwards is planning activities like collage-making, kickball, bounce houses and more.

The "J" in "J Hot Fish" has two origins, Edwards said. The first comes from his daughter's name Jay, but also nods to his religious background.

"We like to say we're not religious but we have a relationship with Jesus," he said.

Edwards said the pop-up will be modeled roughly on Hot Chicken Takeover's operations. He's consulting with HCT proprietor Joe DeLoss about how best to operate out of the Food Hub.

Hot Chicken Takeover opened in the spot in April 2014. Last December, following a successful Kickstarter campaign, they transitioned to the upstairs of the North Market and put the funds toward building a food truck.

Nicholas Dekker writes about breakfast at breakfastwithnick.com and authored the guidebook "Breakfast With Nick: Columbus," with a second edition coming spring 2015. He leads breakfast and brunch tours for Columbus Food Adventures and brewery tours for Columbus Brew Adventures.