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Elizabeth Lessner’s Appetite for New Restaurants

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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Columbus Alive wrote Appetite for New Restaurants

by Brittany Kress

October 4th, 2007

As a young bartender new to Columbus in the late ’90s, Elizabeth Lessner wasn’t impressed with the city’s restaurant and bar offerings. So in 2001, she opened one of her own, Betty’s Fine Food and Spirits.

Then she opened another. And another. And she’s currently brainstorming for a fourth.

The now Columbus-loving Lessner shares ownership of Betty’s and Surly Girl Saloon in the Short North and Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails, which opened Downtown this summer. Her string of success is rooted in years of waitressing; she calls herself a “lifer.”

“I’m actually working on a restaurant concept now with Carmen Owens from Surly Girl. At any given time, I’ve got projects in the works. I think the Columbus market is excited to have new restaurants and new places, and as long as there’s an appetite for new restaurants, then I’ll keep trying to feed them.”

“We’re looking into the new Jeffery Place. We’re very, very excited by the work that Joe Recchie is doing over there. It’s a green building, it’s introducing things like Zipcars, the mayor just tied it into the bike trails, and I’m really a believer in what’s going on over there. So I’d like to open a restaurant over there and I’m still working on the concept.”

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18 Responses to Elizabeth Lessner’s Appetite for New Restaurants

  1. Manatee October 4, 2007 6:21 pm at 6:21 pm

    My reply is… whoot. I will go drop some coins.

  2. ilovethiscity
    ilovethiscity October 4, 2007 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm

    Yep, sure to be a winner!

  3. milodesc October 5, 2007 5:24 pm at 5:24 pm

    how ’bout some german village/ brew dist. love?

  4. Walker Evans
    Walker October 5, 2007 5:25 pm at 5:25 pm

    Amen to that! 8)

  5. ilovethiscity
    ilovethiscity October 5, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm

    with the condos going in at the Salvation Army… more has to come. How is Claudaughs (sp.?) and the former Lotus (After Five I guess)?

  6. Columbusite October 7, 2007 2:36 pm at 2:36 pm

    I was at Tip Top at 11PM on a Friday night and it was packed. Just goes to show that if you give people a reason to go downtown, they will. We need more nearby for late night dining, bars, cafes, etc. It looks weird with just Tip Top and Due Amici, they’re like an island of activity that needs to spread. Oh, and how could I forget The Shelf.

  7. Walker Evans
    Walker January 11, 2008 9:40 pm at 9:40 pm

    Business First wrote Restaurateur discussing ‘green’ eatery at Jeffrey Place development

    by Doug Buchanan

    Friday, January 11, 2008

    Restaurateur Elizabeth Lessner is in talks with Jeffrey Place developer National Community Builders Inc. about opening a restaurant at the Columbus housing and commercial development. Details are sketchy, but Lessner and business partner Carmen Owens have an idea for what they’d like to do.

    “We want something super-local, super-organic,” Lessner said. “We’d like to have a roof-top garden and hanging planters around the restaurant.”

    The garden and planters would not be for decoration but for ingredients, with herbs and vegetables to be produced and consumed at the restaurant. Lessner said she’s been working with community gardeners on the concept and thinks it could be a nice match for Jeffrey Place, which is incorporating solar panels and rainwater collection systems, among other green features, into the development.

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  8. Columbusite January 11, 2008 9:56 pm at 9:56 pm

    This’ll be a neat place to check out…when I’m 40.

  9. dru
    dru January 12, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm

    Columbusite wrote This’ll be a neat place to check out…when I’m 40.

    you must only be 2 years old then!

  10. Manatee January 12, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm

    dru wrote
    Columbusite wrote This’ll be a neat place to check out…when I’m 40.

    you must only be 2 years old then!

    Huh?

  11. Lauren Wilson
    osulew January 12, 2008 1:05 pm at 1:05 pm

    Manatee wrote
    dru wrote
    Columbusite wrote This’ll be a neat place to check out…when I’m 40.

    you must only be 2 years old then!

    Huh?

    …implying I assume that this project is progressing so slowly that it will take decades before this is all finished…

  12. dru
    dru January 12, 2008 1:07 pm at 1:07 pm

    osulew wrote
    Manatee wrote
    dru wrote
    Columbusite wrote This’ll be a neat place to check out…when I’m 40.

    you must only be 2 years old then!

    Huh?

    …implying I assume that this project is progressing so slowly that it will take decades before this is all finished…

    bingo!

  13. Lauren Wilson
    osulew January 12, 2008 1:17 pm at 1:17 pm

    dru wrote
    osulew wrote
    Manatee wrote
    dru wrote
    Columbusite wrote This’ll be a neat place to check out…when I’m 40.

    you must only be 2 years old then!

    Huh?

    …implying I assume that this project is progressing so slowly that it will take decades before this is all finished…

    bingo!

    Yay! What do I win? :D

  14. Drew January 12, 2008 2:04 pm at 2:04 pm

    osulew wrote Yay! What do I win? :D

    $10 gift certificate to the new Lessner restaurant in Jeffry Place.*

    *gift certificate value will not be adjusted for inflation.

  15. f!5hl39
    f!5hl39 January 12, 2008 6:09 pm at 6:09 pm

    another downtown would be nice too. I also concur the GV/BD would be nice. SN just isn’t in need of anymore restaurants at this time.

  16. Lauren Wilson
    osulew January 12, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm

    Drew wrote
    osulew wrote Yay! What do I win? :D

    $10 gift certificate to the new Lessner restaurant in Jeffry Place.*

    *gift certificate value will not be adjusted for inflation. Sweet. I can use it with my Golden Buckeye card that I should have by that time and get a sweet deal! :wink:

  17. Walker Evans
    Walker January 12, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm

    f!5hl39 wrote another downtown would be nice too. I also concur the GV/BD would be nice. SN just isn’t in need of anymore restaurants at this time.

    I could use a new Lessner Joint in the KLD. 8)

  18. gramarye
    gramarye January 13, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am

    Haha … if she keeps this up, she’ll be Columbus’ next Cameron Mitchell before too much longer, though her restaurants are cut off a different block than CM’s. (I don’t think I’d see her opening a steakhouse … or CM opening anything like Surly Girl.)

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