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Gallerie Bar & Bistro Brings French Dining to Downtown Columbus

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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It’s only been open for three weeks, but the Gallerie Bar & Bistro at the new Downtown Hilton Hotel can already claim something that few other local restaurant can: it has served the President of the United States.

“Obama stayed here last week and I got to cook him breakfast, which was very cool,” says Gallerie Executive Chef Bill Glover. “He got in really late at night around 2am and requested chips and salsa. For breakfast he ordered three eggs over medium and turkey sausage.”

Regular citizens have been enjoying the menu at Gallerie over the past three weeks as well. Both overnight guests and locals have visited the hotel’s multiple dining spaces, which includes the main restaurant in the atrium, the bar overlooking High Street, a private dining room that seats 50, and a grand ballroom that can hold up to 2000 guests at once.

“I’m recognizing a lot of local faces at the restaurant, which is great,” said Glover, who is also owner of Sage American Bistro in the Old North Columbus neighborhood. “We came into this knowing that Gallerie has two strikes against it with local diners, as we don’t have street access, and we’re located inside a hotel. So we have to break down those concerns and stereotypes that some people have.”

For those who have yet to venture into Gallerie, it’s located on the second floor atop a grand spiral staircase leading up from the main lobby. The atrium of the hotel is open to all twelve floors providing a unique open-air feel at the 160-seat restaurant, which is artfully designed with a recurring trellis grid pattern throughout.

The Gallerie Bar is located adjacent to the restaurant with a more casual, yet refined decor. Dark woods, subway tiles and classic cafe-style bentwood chairs compliment a space designed to enjoy a glycol-chilled beer or a late night small plate while overlooking the view down to High Street.

Glover has crafted a French Bistro menu at Gallerie that includes Escargot, Bone Marrow, Steak Tartar, Rabbit Pappardelle and Fresh Oysters, just to name a few items. There’s also an extensive wine list, charcuterie and cheese boards, and desserts all made in-house.

“I approached the menu much in the same vein as Sage,” said Glover. “I met with around 30 local farmers first, and developed the menu from there. We have all of our farmers and purveyors proudly printed on the back of our menu.”

Customer favorites so far include the Blackberry Scallop dish that was borrowed from Sage. Foie Gras is also popular on the menu, served as an appetizer with scallops or as a dessert with crème brûlée french toast and house-made marshmallow. Glover is also proud of the made-from-scratch baguette, because he says that it is uncommon for hotels to make their own breads.

The process of setting up an industrial-sized kitchen to service the new restaurant, banquet halls, conference rooms and room service dining has cost him a lot of long 90-hour weeks lately, but Glover is pleased with the results thus far.

“I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the dining scene in this city,” he said. “I see Gallerie as my own south bookend and Sage as my north bookend, and we’ve got a lot of good people doing cool things in between.”

Click here for a full photo tour of the Hilton Downtown Columbus hotel.

More information can be found online at www.hilton.com.

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