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Double Comfort Closes This Weekend to Head in Different Direction

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Double Comfort Closes This Weekend to Head in Different DirectionPhoto by Mollie Lyman.
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When Double Comfort opened in 2014 — before the idea of “sanctuary” spaces entered people’s consciousness — the restaurant was a simple conduit, exchanging comfort food for money, and channeling their profits to local organizations. While their identity has been equal parts restaurant and social enterprise, that will be changing on Sunday, March 26, when they close the doors at their brick-and-mortar location and head in a new direction.

After being asked to pay 150 percent of the current rent, Double Comfort owner Mary Lyski decided it was time to move on. While she’s not ruling out another physical store, Double Comfort will be a kind of permeating presence in other Columbus restaurants in the meantime. She’s already confirmed partnerships with several local spots (names not disclosed), where her fried chicken recipe will be adopted and sold with the Double Comfort name. Any profits from the sales of her menu item will be sent off to a local food pantry.

“We were kind of the head of the octopus at first, and now we’re all the tentacles and arms,” Lyski said.

With some oversight, their partners will learn the right way to make their fried chicken, ensuring that people get the same experience as if they were at the physical restaurant. In this way, by extending their mission into many places throughout the city, Lyski hopes Double Comfort can end up donating even more than the nearly 92,000 meals they’ve given to local pantries since their opening.

Double Comfort’s impact on the community extends beyond the dinner table. Before becoming Ohio’s first sanctuary restaurant in February, inviting “people of all races, genders, gender identities, gender expressions, nationalities and religions to the table,” they employed restored citizens, homeless individuals and people with disabilities.

“We’re doing what we were already doing legally, what you should do. You should welcome everyone,” said Lyski. “It’s been really great here to watch people grow, to train them and give them a sense of self worth and a paycheck.”

Although they received some hate mail for it, Double Comfort ended up becoming a facilitator for tough conversations throughout President Donald Trump’s first weeks in office. And, shortly after they announced their sanctuary status, another local business, Brothers Drake, followed.

Guests at Double Comfort’s partner restaurants will see the restaurant’s logo next to the menu item, and Lyski plans on having signs displaying their purpose as well. While their website will most likely disappear, Double Comfort fans can follow them on social media to learn where they’ll be.

Double Comfort’s partner restaurants will be announced this summer.

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