While the casual moviegoer may not notice, the Drexel Theatre has gone through some pretty major changes over the past two years. The theatre was converted from a for profit business into a nonprofit venture, and the Columbus Association of Performing Arts (CAPA) has taken over the management of the venue. Shortly afterward, the Drexel Radio Cafe was closed for renovations with little sign that it would be reopening anytime soon.
The fate of the old Radio Cafe could changed very soon if a new diner concept from the team behind Katzinger’s Delicatessen in German Village moves forward.
“I had no plans to open another restaurant,” said Katziner’s owner Diane Warren. “But my love for Bexley and the Drexel along with my sense that we can do a really terrific diner in that location just overcame me to the point I couldn’t talk myself out of it.”
The new restaurant would be known as The Big Deal Diner, which Warren describes as very family-friendly and community oriented. The concept would differ from Katzinger’s but would retain the same attention to quality and service. The diner would also have a smaller menu with a focus on local products.
“I’ve lived in Bexley much of my life and I love the community, said Warren. “For several years I’ve been waiting for Bexley to commercialize Main Street with lots of cool little shops and restaurants and in the last couple of years it began moving in that direction.”
Plans for the new restaurant are falling into place with support from The Friends of the Drexel, Bexley city leadership and many others within the community.
“We are delighted that Diane has stepped forward with an exciting plan, which anticipates the use of the old Radio Cafe’ and the space next door to the Radio once occupied by a flower shop,” said Richard Stoff, Chairman of the Board of The Friends of the Drexel.
But Warren said that the new plan is not fully moving forward just yet, and that there are still more details to be worked out.
“If it doesn’t happen, and it may not, I have no plans to try any place else,” said Warren. “I am connected to this a way that goes beyond a business venture.”
If The Big Deal Diner moves forward, it is expected to be opened by the end of 2012.