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Ali Menasria… Help our Dear Friend

Posted in: Blog, News

Ali MenasriaAs many of you may know, Ali Menasria, who has been with The Refectory for many years has been battling cancer for quite some time.

These are the updates, we have posted since the battle intensified…
Ali is a blessing to know and a privilege to work with…

Ali Menasaria is in Rhoads Hall Hospice of Central Ohio 7th floor. Visiting is 24/7. This is in the Main OSU hospital, connected to the James. Room 724. His cancer has progressed quickly and he is no longer responsive. So this the time for goodbyes…

Sad news today, Late this afternoon I received a text from Ali’s wife and he has taken a turn for the worse… As you may recall the cancer had spread to his brain and Ali had expected to receive treatments for the next 6-8 weeks for his lungs and brain. Sadly, his wife informed me that Ali has been moved from the ICU at the Rhoads Hall Hospice – 7th floor. This is the main OSU Hospital – Room 724; and he is very delirious… Elaine said she did not expect Ali to be there very long… Your prayers and thoughts would be greatly appreciated and if I find out any other details, I will let you know… Thanks, Kamal

Ali remains very upbeat and positive as he goes through this battle and these next steps and procedures. As you may know, his sister is a 100% match for a bone marrow transplant and has come to the US for this procedure. They have indeed extracted her stem cells and frozen them to be used for Ali in the next two months or so. Until then, Ali is going through a five – week course of treatment for brain cancer. This will be followed by a four week course of treatment for nodule in his lung. After the nine weeks, the procedure for the bone marrow transplant will take place. We deeply appreciate for all of your continued prayers and support on Ali’s behalf. With much gratitude, Kamal (and for Ali)

Finding out if you are a potential donor the first step is just a simple swab of the cheek. Five swabs were Sent with UPS by James Cancer Center to Algiers where my siblings (3 sisters and 2 brothers) live. Statistically 7 in 10 siblings don’t match, 2 in 10 match at 25, 50, or 75%. Less than 10% do match at 100%. It took one week for the swabs to be returned and the results showed that out of five siblings my baby sister is a 100% perfect match! With the approval of my doctors she was designated as the donor. She will be arriving in Ohio on March 30th, 2019. With her cells on hand, first I get Chemo to kill most unhealthy cells that I still carry. then donated healthy cells are given to me intravenously. The new cells travel to the inside of the bones and begin producing healthy cells. Will let you know how this turns out!

I can’t not begin to thank you all enough for your continued love, prayers, friendship, encouragement and support which helps make this possible!

With much gratitude, Ali

To make a donation to Ali’s gofundme page click here

At The Refectory, we are a family. We are sad to share the challenges currently facing one of our well-known family members, Ali Menasria, former general manager at Alex’s Bistro and long-time part of The Refectory.

Ali is an avid wine enthusiast, a gentleman, and one of the warmest and most gracious people with whom we have had the privilege of working. After twenty-three years with Alex’s Bistro and now at The Refectory. Ali is well known among the guests who dine out regularly in Northwest Columbus.

In April of 2017, Ali was diagnosed with leukemia and soon after began a long series of treatments. During this time, the treatments have been relatively positive after some initial setbacks and adverse reactions. Ali was able to come back to work part-time, monitoring his progress as he continued intermittent treatments.

In September of 2018, the initial leukemia developed into Richter’s syndrome. Ali is now battling a more aggressive form of lymphoma. Since then, he has been in the James Cancer Hospital for short and sometimes more extended stays and treatments.

Ali is currently undergoing a treatment of six sessions of chemo, which will end on January 31st, 2019. The outlook for this is positive. The Doctors are optimistic that Ali will hopefully be in remission by the end of this course of treatment. When in remission, the next step would be a bone marrow transplant. The matching donor is Ali’s brother Zinedine, who lives in his native city of Algiers, Algeria and will be traveling here in March of 2019, for the bone marrow transplant surgery.

Ali is fighting hard though this process and as always his spirit is very positive. We are so blessed to know Ali and we stand with him in this battle for physical health and look forward to his return to The Refectory at whatever time he is ready.  In our continual efforts to assist Ali and his family during this difficult time we have created a GoFundMe Campaign.

We greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers for Ali and his family, as well as any assistance you might be able to offer. Please don’t hesitate to send him notes of encouragement

Ali Menasria
4406 Kenny Rd
Columbus OH 43220-4076

I can’t begin to thank you enough for your kindness, generosity and support.

With my deepest gratitude,
Kamal Boulos
The Refectory

To make a donation to Ali’s gofundme page click here




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Refectory earns four diamonds from AAA

Posted in: Blog, News
Refectory earns four diamonds from AAA

AAA announced its annual 4 Diamond awards and, for the 24th straight year, The Refectory Restaurant & Bistro earned its Four Diamond designation.

We are one of 656 restaurants in North America and the Caribbean to earn the honor and two of five in the state to be so recognized alongside Lola in Cleveland, Boca Restaurant and Nicola’s, both in Cincinnati. That’s 2.1 percent of the more than 32,000 restaurants inspected and rated every year.

Read the full article…

Download the complete list of AAA 2019 4 Diamond Award Recipient List

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Refectory to debut new wine shop!

Posted in: Blog, News

As several area wine retailers — most notably The Andersons — have closed, a Columbus dining institution that knows a thing or two about vino is uncorking a new business.

The Refectory is opening a small retail wine shop in its 1092 Bethel Road restaurant that its owner thinks can grow to something bigger.

“It’s going to start off very humbly in our lobby,” owner Kamal Boulos told me Wednesday. “If it catches on in the way we hope, we will add on to the building. We already have some preliminary plans.”

He expects the shop to open in July.

“Over the years we’ve built a reputation for being known for wine,” Boulos said. “It’s clearly a world we live in. We have relationships, we have the research, the knowledge.”

Read the full Article here…..

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The Refectory Restaurant Welcomes Chef Laurent Blondin!

Posted in: Blog, News

On Friday February 3, 2017, the award-winning Refectory Restaurant is privileged to have the highly acclaimed Chef Laurent Blondin visit the Refectory Kitchen Brigade. Chef Laurent will prepare a culinary masterpiece Five-Course Dinner unlike anything else we have presented! Among Chef Laurent’s career highlights are his work under Alain Ducasse and Fernand Point and being a French finalist for the prestigious Bocuse d’ Or competition. This event has been several years in the making, said Refectory owner Kamal Boulos, and we are very excited to begin celebrating Chef Richard’s 25th year at The Refectory by highlighting his culture and heritage with an extraordinary dinner personally prepared by his nephew, Chef Laurent Blondin!

The Dinner will include some surprises and of course French Wines to match the courses!
The evening is 175.00 per guest plus gratuity and begins at 6:30 p.m.
Reservations are limited to the first 40 guests and you can find more information here

Please call (614) 451.9774 to make reservations.

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Jeffrey Elasky … A Celebration of Life!

Posted in: Blog, News

Remembering Jeff Elasky

When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, the steward of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

This story is from the book of John in the Bible. It uses a common experience here on earth – a marriage feast with wine; as a picture of who God is and how He can transform us.

Good wine takes caring about every fastidious detail of the art of wine-making, from the vineyard to the winery; above all it takes time! It cannot be rushed; yet here the Lord did this in an instant. We all know that our good friend Jeff knew a little bit about wine!

As with many things; food and wine can be abused and misused; but this picture of a marriage feast is mentioned in Revelations when it speaks of “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb”

Breaking bread and sharing a glass can celebrate life in humble or grand ways, build friendships, express love to others or perhaps bring comfort to each other; a shared table can simply bring people together and create lasting memories of life. Jeff and I shared this passion and it was my honor to call him my colleague, my friend, my brother in Christ and to learn much from him.

I believe God brings some people into our lives that are a light and they are a very special gift from the Lord and Jeff is one of those people.

We began working together in 1979 and he had an amazing work ethic and there are many, many things that set him apart. Jeff always set goals for himself and would break down every step necessary to achieve the results he was seeking. His focus to pursue excellence and add to his knowledge in any given area were relentless.

In fact, I have used these stories many times as an example for others to follow.
Jeff began jogging to be fit and stay in shape. Before he was finished; studying nutrition and training, competing in 5K’s, biking and improving his swimming technique, always raising the bar, he accomplished his goal to successfully compete on the Iron Man level in Mohican, Ohio.

He once mentioned, he was not always comfortable at conversing with guests and wanted to improve. He asked to bar-tend; one day per week. He identified an area of desired growth and put himself in a position to be challenged. Standing behind the bar, guests would converse with him, but that was not growing; he would be listening. His goal; to initiate conversation with two guests per night and then increase this number, because whatever Jeff took on – it was ALWAYS about raising the bar to challenge himself to the next level. What would he talk about to initiate conversation? He began reading the newspaper to know about weather, sports and the world. He had a plan! Jeff wrote down the names of the guests; what they liked to talk about and favorite drinks. After 2 months, that night became the busiest night at the bar and of course, Jeff became much more comfortable in socializing with guests!

With 12 bottles in a medal locker; I said to him, this is the beginning of our wine cellar. He looked at me like I was totally out of touch with reality. Our entire list had 40 wines and I was constantly tasting, researching, and buying wine and he was trying to figure out where to put it all. At first, I knew much more about wine and we both dreamed of building this world class wine cellar. Over the next nine years, Jeff totally took over what I had started and took it to the highest level in our industry, when we received the Wine Spectator Grand Award for outstanding restaurant wine cellars in 1991. To put this into perspective, each year, tens of thousands of wine lists are submitted worldwide. There were 91 restaurants total in the entire world that achieved this status in 1991, and we were only one of six new first time Grand Award winners to break into this elite circle. No one in Ohio has ever won this award!

Jeff was much more than accomplishing things on a check list of evolving goals. We often observe something in others that inspires us to achieve greater things and that is a good thing to do; but we often miss the greatest life lesson. We don’t always take the time to better understand or examine who they are. Because it is not what we have achieved that defines us or gives us lasting meaning; it is who we are that gives meaning to what we have achieved.

You will never meet anyone that is more unselfish or has more integrity than Jeff.

Jeff lived to serve others with a tremendous amount of humility.

To his wife and to his children, he attended to every detail of taking care of his family. To our dream of building a great restaurant with a world class wine cellar then finding a great Chef. To igniting a passion in others to pursue excellence. He really cared about making people better and challenging them on some level. Jeff just hated apathy, but would never put anyone down. He never maliciously gossiped about anyone and would simply say that someone was challenging! In all of the 37 years that we worked together, there were times he said things in a strong manner, but he never raised his voice. How many people do you know like that?

Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. This was the example of Christ,
It is the heart of the man that defines him. On the Sunday after Mother’s Day when he was first diagnosed, his immediate goal was to be ready to walk his daughter Aubrey down the aisle at her wedding the following Sunday.

In the same week that I shared many prayers and words of encouragement, Jeff also became a man of faith and he shared these words in a letter thanking the Refectory Staff for their monetary gift and is now his thank you to all of you.

And of course, once he learned that we were planning to raise funds to help him and his family through this horrific time, Jeff immediately asked that a portion be established to help others

“To the Refectory Staff,

When I found myself diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer, I began to focus on my relationship with God. I found myself afraid at night sometimes, unsettled with my future, my life, and my family’s welfare. I wanted to pray a prayer that would settle me and bring me a peace. I’ll be honest, I did not have a wealth of experience with prayer, but eventually put together this prayer I would like to share with you.

I have always been blessed with good health and a good life, so I first thanked God for all his blessings in that regard, focusing especially upon my daily experiences that I became more and more thankful for. I have and do feel so blessed and I felt the need to tell God how much I appreciated this.

I next wanted to ask God for strength for my family, because this certainly is/would be an ordeal for them. I asked God to encourage them, give them courage and the fortitude for this situation.

Finally, and this is something Pastor Brent helped me with, I wanted to ask God to heal me. I wasn’t sure here what to do, because I have sinned, broken commandments in my life and feel/felt imperfect. How could I ask God to spend time on me with so much pain and suffering in the world, with so many people more deserving?

Pastor Brent made me understand that through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ, God has taken our sins from us, absolving us of guilt, so we can ask for salvation. I understand that all prayers are not answered, or may be answered in ways we may not understand.

Many times I would fall asleep somewhere during my nightly prayer, drifting away from my ordeal.

My life has taken a strange twist. I want you to know my prayer, so that you may see that I have a contentment with my situation. I am so pleased by the individuals that have reached out to me on so many levels, with so much encouragement and prayer. I appreciate your special gift as I know how hard you work on a daily basis for your wages. I wish I could be there with you again, and understand, I loved my job on so many levels. I wish you good luck in the future, revel in all you contributed to our common goals. We all should understand how blessed we are and I want you to know, how thankful I am to have come to know you all.

God Bless each of you,
Your friend, Jeff”

It took 37 years for Jeff and I to actually say to each other that we loved each other. If there is someone in your life that you need to value and appreciate or forgive, don’t wait until it is too late.

It took this terrible physical affliction for Jeff to open his heart to the Lord and receive His grace, mercy, love, and peace by faith. Who but God, would open a man’s heart once he has been told he has cancer; that God loves him.
What a testament to the power of God to transform a life!
Don’t wait for some catastrophe or think maybe another time.

I see in my mind’s eye, right now, Jeff at this unbelievable feast in heaven with the finest wine that has been saved for last. The Lord can transform each of us from ordinary water into a fine wine.

Jeff set such a magnificent example for us; of a life well lived in his journey to faith and each one of us has been enriched and blessed in some way by the privilege and pleasure of knowing Jeff.

Jeff has been an irreplaceable part of The Refectory for 37 years and his legacy will live on in the lives of the many that he touched.

We are deeply grateful for your kindness and support and really appreciate your continued thoughts, generosity and prayers for his family.

And so finally, I ask that you raise a glass to toast Jeff.
With much gratitude, Kamal


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The Refectory stands out at the 2016 Taste of Dine Originals

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The Refectory Restaurant and Bar was one of over forty locally owned, fine dining restaurants at the 2016 Taste of Dine Originals on May 12.  Along with six others, Christina Mancuso, a writer of, named The Refectory as one of the standouts.

After arriving at the Franklin Park Conservatory, we were provided with disposable wine glasses, plates and utensils to sample an unlimited amount of foods and drinks. The samples paired well with live music by The Salty Caramels, one of (614) Magazine’s “Best Local Band.”

For the all the guests, Chef prepared a crowd-favorite dish, Scallop Pomponette, which consists of a delicate scallop mousse with spinach and cream and eggs sauce.

We paid only $100 to experience this amazing event of unlimited samplings of food, wine and beer while supporting the missions of Dine Originals Columbus and The Buckeye Ranch. The proceeds of the event go towards the charities of Dine Originals Columbus, which promotes diversity in culinary, and The Buckeye Ranch, which helps with care for those who deal with mental, emotional, behavioral and familial issues.

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Our very own Brian DeMatteo…

Posted in: Blog, News
Our very own Brian DeMatteo…

Ohio farmers hosted a chefs’ competition at the recent Taste of Elegance Reception. The results were, as you can imagine, quite tasty…our very own Brian DeMatteo participated in this event, and won 2nd place! Congratulations Brian!

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Drawing Circles… The Refectory Journey

Posted in: Blog

What do you think of when someone says fine dining?
How do you define a fine dining restaurant?
40year-refectory-iconIs it fairly uniform from one city to another or is it defined differently in Columbus and New York? Is it defined differently from one generation to another as an example, to the High School prom date or the CEO taking out an important client? Is it always about the price or is it the time it takes to dine. Does it always mean dressing up and being the focal point of the entire evening activity?

Some say fine dining is dead or dying. Others say it has changed and if so how?
These are many questions to think about and I believe really worth discussing.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts and experiences and let us know!

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The French Paradox

Posted in: Blog
The French Paradox

Let them eat cake

– or Crème Brulee and drink Pouilly Fuisse, Mouton Rothschild, Chateauneuf du Pape and enjoy life without checking the bathroom scales each morning! The French Paradox is making news still – and our own Chef Richard Blondin is frequently quoted for his views on the subject! (The Columbus Dispatch, “Why the French Aren’t Fat, Healthful habits keep population lean despite rich cuisine”. Published: Sunday, January 23, 2005) Richard Blondin trained under famed Chef Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France. As Chef Blondin explains, the French savour their food – they are passionate about their food. The French count flavours, not calories.

According to established lore and several new books (the latest is French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mirielle Guiliano,) the ultimate diet craze is to take a lesson from the French.

Chef Richard prepares his menus in the tradition of Lyon – with passion, with time and with the freshest ingredients available. As do the local restauranteurs in Lyon, Richard works with local purveyors to procure farm raised ostrich and elk, and fresh berries and tomatoes from orchards in Ohio.

The French value quality over quantity.

The French dine on one meal at a time, not snacking their way through the afternoon or evening.

I have discovered that there is romance in food when romance has disappeared from everywhere else.
– Ernest Hemingway

Ah, but the French have always had a romance with food!
Food is to be savored – meals enjoyed and never rushed.

We invite you to linger over your dinner at The Refectory and Dine Well.

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