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Columbus Saw More than 60 Restaurant Openings in 2017

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Columbus Saw More than 60 Restaurant Openings in 2017Photo by Walker Evans.
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If you’ve had a running list of “restaurants to try,” it’s likely to get even longer. 2017 was a year of openings for Columbus, with more than 66 restaurants, bars, cafes and lounges making their central Ohio debut or expanding into other locations throughout the year.

Downtown was, by far, the neighborhood with the most growth, welcoming nearly 20 new businesses on its own. Gay Street gained four restaurants, including Tiger + Lily, Pub Mahone, Pat & Gracie’s, and Poke Bros. Three other businesses, Coco Cat, Green Olive Company, and Momo Ghar, joined the North Market. Several new lunch spots came to the neighborhood as well, with Stack’d opening on Broad, Elia Athenian Grille opening on High, Sí Señor sneaking into the old Columbia Gas building on Civic Center Drive, Cravings Cafe coming to Front, and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop landing right by the North Market. Winans expanded Downtown, too, offering its signature items, coffee and chocolate, and adding wine, not available at their German Village location.

ClusterTruck opened its kitchen on East Long Street., offering an expansive menu that’s exclusively available by delivery.

The Market 65 spin-off, Veranico, found a home on Front Street, joining Dublin’s Pint Room offshoot, Half Pint, in the Arena District.

Juniper, the bar and event space atop the Smith Bros. Hardware Building, The Keep at LeVeque Tower and Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse added a touch of swankiness to Downtown.

The Short North followed Downtown in the growth of its dining scene, with eight restaurants opening their doors this year, including the Short North Deli, which recently closed.

Biscuit & Branch brought a little southern comfort to the area, first opening as a brunch-all-day concept. They’ve since rebranded as just Branch and added a raw bar and coastal entrees.

Monarch Cocktail Lounge, Tastings, Middle West Spirits’ Service Bar, and Two Truths all entered the Short North bar scene this year, offering an array of libations and light bites on their menus.

Hai Poké turned its popup permanent, opening its first brick and mortar at 647 N. High St. And, Simply Rolled began sharing space with Oats & Barley Market, serving their Thai rolled ice cream to the foot traffic of the Short North.

A little further north, the University District saw the reincarnation of Too’s Spirits Under High in Threes Above High, which moved the dive bar atmosphere to the old Scarlet & Grey Cafe. TRISM and Leo’s on the Alley both opened their doors at the Gateway, adding a little more to campus nightlife. The Eden Burger popup opened a physical location at the intersection of West Eighth and High Street.

Taking over the former Alana’s Food & Wine space, Sycamore co-owner Brad Balch opened Trillium, an upscale restaurant boasting a long wine list, fish, steaks, and live entertainment.

Clintonville saw the opening of Condado’s third location, second locations for Little Eater and Hot Chicken Takeover, as well as a new breakfast/lunch spot, BLunch.

West Egg Cocktail Supply is teaching mixology classes in the back of Cactus Consortium over in the Fifth by Northwest area. Watershed Kitchen & Bar opened there, too, on Chesapeake Avenue, as well as Acre on Northwest Boulevard and Si Señor on Fifth Avenue.

Dublin, Westerville, Upper Arlington and Worthington saw a multitude of openings as well, a year of growth for Columbus’ suburbs. Dublin’s Bridge Park drew in a number of tenants, including Fukuryu Ramen, Cap City Diner, VASO rooftop lounge, Kilwins and The Exchange. Duck Donuts also opened in Dublin, on Sawmill Road.

Westerville gained craft beer bar and retail store The Draft Room, a Northstar Cafe, Downtown-born Phatt Taco, and Ray Ray’s Hog Pit. Basil opened another location in Upper Arlington.

Light of Seven Matchsticks, a speakeasy under Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza, opened its doors in 2017, along with the diner and bar, Over the Counter, and Everest Cuisine, serving Nepali, Indian and Tibetan dishes.

The rest of the openings are scattered among the city’s various districts and villages. The Brewery District gained a bar, The Daily Growler, and a barbecue restaurant, Smoked on High.

Drinks and brunch joint Drunch and upscale Mexican restaurant Cosecha Cocina opened in Italian Village.

Native Cold Pressed opened a location in German Village, at 214 Thurman Ave. Up the street, South Village Grille started serving diners from the former Easy Street Cafe space. Bake Me Happy went retail with their new coffee shop, occupying the old T.Y. Fine Furniture spot on East Moler Street in Merion Village.

Olde Towne East welcomed southwestern-inspired Olde Oak, on Parsons Avenue. Stauf’s expanded to Franklinton, setting up at the Idea Foundry on West State Street. J Hot Fish made a comeback, opening on Cleveland Avenue in Linden. All-sour brewery and tap room Pretentious Barrel House opened near Milo-Grogan. And finally, Hot Chicken Takeover added a location in Easton.

Did we miss any? Let us know!

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