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Erik Till to Open White Rabbit Restaurant in The Brewery District

Walker Evans Walker Evans Erik Till to Open White Rabbit Restaurant in The Brewery District
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Are you ready to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes?

This November, Erik Till wants to lead you on a culinary journey into the underbelly of The Brewery District with his latest restaurant creation: White Rabbit. He’s converting the former Tommy Keegan’s bar space at 456 South Front Street (across the pedestrian walkway from Double Happiness) into a new gastropub that he hopes will be embraced like his other Columbus project, The Commonwealth Sandwich Bar.

“Commonwealth served as test market to see if my ideas were relevant and if they’d play well in Columbus,” says Till. “It has gone well, but the small amount of space I have to work with there is a big issue there. In New York that 10-seat format is incredibly common, but people here in Columbus are only just now starting to get behind it.”

White Rabbit will mark a return for Till to 100-seat dining. He describes the menu as Modern Midwestern New-American with a focus on familiar flavors, local ingredients and french technique. He anticipates a small six-to-eight item menu that will change six to eight times per year.

“I hesitate to call this fine-dining because I hate that term,” he says. “I want this to be a place that feels like a bar but happens to have amazing non-pretentious food.”

Located a few steps below sidewalk level, the restaurant space is somewhat cellar-like by nature. The redesign of White Rabbit will accent existing architectural elements such as an arched brick ceiling and iron columns with new gooseneck sconce lighting, plush diamond-pillow banquets and new woodwork that will soften the cavernous vibe of the existing stonework.

“We’ve been throwing around the term ‘Industrial Revolution’ when talking about the decor,” explains Till. “We’re taking a lot of cues from that, and a lot of cues from classic New York French Steakhouses. Sexy and comfortable.”

While the Brewery District has been a bit quiet over the past decade, White Rabbit marks the latest business to return to the re-emerging neighborhood, following Shadowbox Live, World of Beer, Via Vecchia and others.

“I see a lot of potential here,” says Till. “I think the folks running these newer businesses are here for the long haul. And there’s a lot of people wishing there was more variety on this side of Downtown.”

White Rabbit is aiming for a November 2012 opening, pending licensing, approvals and ongoing buildout.

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19 Responses to Erik Till to Open White Rabbit Restaurant in The Brewery District

  1. MichaelC
    MichaelC August 29, 2012 9:38 am at 9:38 am

    This is salivation-inducing news. Congratulations, Mr. Till! And can’t wait to eat and drink at this place a lot.

  2. Timeone August 29, 2012 9:43 am at 9:43 am

    love the name!

  3. de-verteuil.1 August 29, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am

    Can’t wait to experience this place. And it is right across from my office. Hope to spend some happy hours here!

  4. mbeaumont August 29, 2012 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm

    It’s such a great space, I would love to see something really exciting go in there. Looking forward to seeing a sample menu. Best of luck, Erik!

    And one piece of advice, if I may. Anyone who has taken a chance on doing something different or more artisan in this town (Fresh Street, Jeni’s, Till, Harvest/Curio, Mouton, Pistacia Vera, Tasi) has met with great success. Don’t worry about catering to a “midwest” crowd. Just go for it, be bold and people in this city will be more than receptive.

    I think Commonwealth is a great example of that too, so I think you’d agree! Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  5. Jimmy Mak
    Jimmy Mak August 29, 2012 7:52 pm at 7:52 pm

    Very excited to have Erik in the neighborhood. Also excited for another lunch option!

  6. davidhunegnaw
    davidhunegnaw August 30, 2012 7:02 am at 7:02 am

    Love the name. Love the space. Look forward to your opening. Congrats Erik!

  7. surber17 August 30, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am

    Because of this article, I took a group from work to Commonwealth yesterday. Good eats

  8. Walker Evans
    Walker August 30, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am

    I’m really excited to see the Brewery District not only continuing to come back alive, but to come back in a way that is not just what it was before (a place for college students to get drunk). There’s still a lot of booze to be drank between Via Vecchia, World of Beer, Shadowbox, White Rabbit, Double Happiness, T. Murray’s, etc… but in a much more responsible and respectable environment.

  9. mrpoppinzs August 30, 2012 2:00 pm at 2:00 pm

    Yeah, I hear it was basically the Arena District (without an arena). I wouldn’t mind if the AD diversified a little also.

  10. scott413 September 4, 2012 9:51 pm at 9:51 pm

    As a GV resident very close to the Brewery District I find this quite exciting. Welcome to the neighborhood! …and like Mike said, fear not the Midwestern palate. We can handle it!

  11. KarmenD September 5, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am

    Awesome News!!! So excited I moved back to this neighborhood!!

  12. johnwashere
    johnwashere February 4, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm

    Any updates on this???

  13. Walker Evans
    Walker February 4, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm

    I ran into Erik maybe 3 weeks ago and he said they’ve hit multiple delays, but didn’t have many other details. Will provide an update when I hear more.

  14. Walker Evans
    Walker February 7, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm

    I spoke to Erik today and he said they’re now shooting for an April opening for White Rabbit.

  15. johnwashere
    johnwashere May 15, 2013 4:44 pm at 4:44 pm

    Any new updates? I’ve been waiting for this restaurant for awhile now… :)

  16. hungrywoolf June 5, 2013 3:38 pm at 3:38 pm

    Looks like they are hosting an event on July 20th so I guess they’ll be open by then

    http://www.columbusunderground.com/forums/topic/1st-annual-columbus-bike-the-breweries-tour-on-july-20-2013?replies=2#post-505280

  17. roy
    roy January 8, 2014 7:12 am at 7:12 am

    Any feedback on this new place, favorite menu items? Urban Spoon didn’t have anything.

  18. Walker Evans
    Walker January 8, 2014 8:55 am at 8:55 am

    I think it quietly died a few months ago.

    From here: http://www.columbusunderground.com/commonwealth-sandwich-bar-closes

    “The White Rabbit facebook page has been removed and no other updates have been made available at this time.”

  19. Geno99 January 8, 2014 9:01 am at 9:01 am

    It’s a tough starting a business.

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