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Bites & Sips: Reopenings, New North Market Vendors, Virtual Eats & More

Susan Post Susan Post Bites & Sips: Reopenings, New North Market Vendors, Virtual Eats & MoreClockwise from top left: Willowbeez SoulVeg - Photos provided by Willowbeez; Taft's Brewpourium - Photo by Susan Post; Torchy's - Photo via torchys.com; High Bank Distillery Whiskey War collection - Photo provided by High Bank Distillery
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The restaurant world is roaring back to life. Restaurants and bars are reopening and North Market is welcoming new vendors, but if at-home eating is still your jam, there are new options there, too. This Bites & Sips has it all – whiskey, hot sauce, Mother’s Day and more. Read on to find out what’s happening in the world of drinking & dining in Central Ohio!

Reopenings Galore!

After many bars and restaurants chose to go on temporary hiatus during the pandemic, several Central Ohio spots are ready to open their doors, and patios, once again. In chronological reopening order…

Oddfellows Liquor Bar

Short North’s Oddfellows reopened its doors at 1038 N. High St. in late March. The bar is slinging drinks for temporary hours of Monday to Friday from 3 – 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 10 p.m.

For more information, visit oddfellowsliquorbar.com.

Strongwater Food & Spirits

April 1 was the big day for Strongwater! Indoor seating is by reservation only and online ordering for to-go eats is available. Happy hour runs from 4 – 7 p.m., with half off drafts, and $1 off wines by the glass and speciality cocktails. Strongwater opens at 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Find it all at 401 W. Town St.

For more information, visit restaurant.strongwatercolumbus.com.

The Crest

The Crest Clintonville, 2875 Indianola Ave., is back in action as of early April. Current hours are Wednesday to Friday 4 – 10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. for brunch and 4 – 11 p.m. for dinner and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. for brunch. The Crest on Parsons appears to remain closed, with requests for comment on the status of the space not yet returned.

For more information, visit thecrestgastropub.com.


April 15 brought Novak’s back to the bar scene. The Downtown bar is pouring late-night drinks daily…plus it’s happy hour until 8 p.m. Monday to Friday. Find it at 475 N. High St.

For more information, visit novakstavern.com.


Sipping on cocktails at MOUTON is once again an option. As of April 21 the cocktail bar is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5 – 11 p.m., Friday from 5 p.m. – midnight; Saturday from 4 p.m. – midnight and Sunday from 3 – 10 p.m. Drinks await at 954 N. High St.

For more information, visit mouton954.com.

Taft’s Brewpourium

Mark your calendars. Taft’s Brewpourium will once again start slinging New Haven-style pies and pouring beers as of April 28. Head to 440 W. Broad St. on the big day.

Taft’s will be open from 4 – 10 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, 12 – 10 p.m. Saturday and 12 – 8 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, visit taftsbeer.com.

New Vendors Set Opening Dates at North Market

The Pastry Factory is officially up and running at the North Market Downtown. April 17 was the big day for the Market’s newest vendor which serves up a plethora of sweet treats, from cupcakes, French pastries and cookies, to brownies, pies and cakes.

Vegan eatery Willowbeez SoulVeg will celebrate its North Market grand opening on April 27. From its new, permanent home, the vegan soul food eatery will serve a lineup of entrees, sammies and wraps, soups, salads and even a few brunch items.

With the new additions, the North Market Downtown, 59 Spruce St. is once again at max capacity.

For more information, visit northmarket.org.

North Market Bridge Park Extends Hours

Speaking of North Market….North Market Bridge Park is now open seven days a week. Moving out of limited preview stage and into full go, new hours are Sunday and Monday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Individual hours may vary by vendor.)

Thirteen of the previously announced 15 vendors are now open, with work still underway on Hoyo’s Sambusas & Juices and The Pit BBQ Grille. The market still has a few additional spaces with vendors yet to be announced.

For more information, visit northmarket.org.

Cluck Norris Goes Virtual

After scoring a spot at Budd Dairy Food Hall, Cluck Norris will expand its chicken empire via virtual restaurant. Cluck Norris will be available for delivery-only eats by operating out of Rusty Bucket kitchens in Clintonville, Easton, Hilliard and Westerville. Those four locations are just the beginning. The brand has its sights set on expanding into other existing markets where Rusty Bucket already operates.

For more information, follow Cluck Norris on Facebook.

Torchy’s Tacos Appears in Columbus

Also in the virtual dining realm, Austin-based Torchy’s Tacos has selected Columbus for its first digital kitchen and first location in Ohio. Torchy’s will offer a menu of tacos (over a dozen to choose from), its signature green chili queso, chips, salsa, guacamole and more, available for pickup and delivery-only via DoorDash and the restaurant’s website.

Operating out of the Columbus Food Hall at 1282 Essex Ave., Torchy’s is open from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with Sunday hours coming soon.

For more information, visit torchystacos.com.

GENJIGO Now Open Downtown

Fast-casual hibachi concept GENJIGO has opened its doors Downtown at 77 E. Gay St. It’s a build-your-own affair with protein options including chicken, shrimp, steak or tofu, topped with veggies and sauce all on a bed of rice.

It’s the eatery’s first restaurant inside of 270, with additional locations in Reynoldsburg, Pickerington, Gahanna, Lewis Center, Grove City and Westerville. The Blacklick location has recently closed.

GENJIGO Downtown is open from 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

For more information, visit genjigo.com.

Ujjo Launching Hot Sauce for Coffee

File this one under pandemic finds you didn’t know you needed: hot sauce for coffee. Local entrepreneur Lauren D’Souza is launching the world’s first hot sauce designed specifically for coffee. Ujjo will come in two flavors – Light Roast and Dark Roast – and become the perfect coffee complement with its natural sweetener blend, spices and mix of chili heat. (Read: NO vinegar.) A Kickstarter campaign is underway for the product’s first commercial run, with availability expected by fall 2020.

For more information, visit ujjo.com.

High Bank Distillery Introduces 4-Year Whiskey War

High Bank Distillery’s Whiskey War spirits are getting a little older. Touting “same price, same blend, better product,” Whiskey War spirits will now be aged four years instead of two and a half.

“From the beginning, High Bank Distillery has always stuck with an uncompromised approach for producing our spirits,” says Master Distiller Adam Hines. “We always focus on elevating our products and strive to continually make them better and better. With the new release of our 4-Year products (Whiskey War Batch #16, Whiskey War Midnight Cask #14 & Whiskey War Barrel Proof Batch #12), you can taste how the additional aging can improve the quality of a whiskey.”

The four-year whiskeys are now available for purchase at the distillery, 1051 Goodale Blvd., and will hit liquor stores later this month.

For more information, visit highbankco.com.

A Cameron Mitchell Mother’s Day

Cameron Mitchell has many an option to keep the moms from cooking this Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 9).

Cameron Mitchell Premier Events is offering Mother’s Day in a Box. Revelers can select a Brunch Box ($225) or Family Meal ($325), each serving six. Make it a boozy brunch (or meal) with Bloody Mary, Mimosa or Peach Bellini beverage kits. Don’t forget the flowers! Floral arrangements and bouquets are also available.

Pre-orders must be in by Tuesday, May 4 at 5 p.m. Pick up will be on Saturday, May 8 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Cameron Mitchell Premier Events, 7619 Huntington Park Dr.

Find menus and ordering instructions for Mother’s Day boxes here.

Ready to dine-in on Mother’s Day? Find Mother’s Day hours and special menus for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants at cameronmitchell.com/mothers-day.

Closings Catch-Up

A few restaurants have quietly departed the dining scene over the last few months.

Hot dog joint Links-N-Lemonade closed up shop in Clintonville at 128 Graceland Blvd. No official statement on the closure was made, but signage has been removed and the location is reported closed on both Yelp and Google.

Early March brought the closure of Hai Poke Downtown, but its replacement has already been announced. Fifth by Northwest’s OSHIO will expand, opening in the space at 194 S. High St. under the name OSHIO Station and serve up a menu of sushi and bento.

Also Downtown, The Main Bar, 16 W. Main St., closed its doors in late February. A proposal to demolish the building will go before the Downtown Commission on April 27. A letter attached to the application outlines structural issues with the 120 plus year-old building.

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