Bar and Restaurant Planned for Long-Empty Buildings in Italian Village
A local contractor is moving forward with a bar and restaurant concept at a prominent corner in Italian Village. The first phase of the project involves the renovation of a 3,000 square foot garage at 200 East Fourth Ave. Once that building is complete, the plan is to expand the concept into the larger building next door, which fronts North Fourth Street.
“The buildings need a complete overhaul, they are essentially abandoned,” said Andrew Losinske, who lived down the street from the site for 15 years and is now eager to start work on the buildings after an approval process that stretched to nearly 16 months.
Losinske will focus on transforming the spaces while leaning on “a few friends that own and/or operate well-known restaurants in the Short North and Grandview” for advice in setting up the bar and restaurant.
Plans call for the smaller building on East Fourth Avenue to hold the main bar area, with communal seating and a pool table. The concrete walls will be softened with reclaimed wood and fabric, and a garden patio in the back will provide seating as well as a space to grow herbs and fruit for use in cocktails.
“The general feeling of this side will be dark and cozy… a true neighborhood gathering spot,” said Losinske. “Currently our strategy is to employ food-trucks every night unless we can settle in with a new chef before opening… we’re penciling in an opening date of Christmas Day.”
The original chef for the project backed out due to the lengthy approval process — needed variances were just approved by the Board of Zoning Adjustment in July after multiple appearances before the the Italian Village Commission.
The larger building will feature an open-view kitchen and plenty of windows that will open onto North Fourth Street. Losinske declined to give a timeline for that phase of the project, saying that “it will take time due to the tremendous amount of work necessary.”
The new concept will be joining a growing list of proposed projects on the northern edge of Italian Village. Across the street, the Lykens Companies wants to redevelop the Budd Dairy site and surrounding parcels, Joe Armeni has plans for an abandoned church at 485 East Fourth Avenue, and Arch City Development has proposed townhomes and a brewpub for the southwest corner of East Fifth Avenue and North Fourth Street.
Losinske also recently purchased another area building — 1146 North Fourth Street, which he said he is currently looking to lease out.
All photos by Brent Warren.