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Haiku Closing After 18 Years in The Short North

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Haiku Closing After 18 Years in The Short North
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Farewell to Haiku. Eighteen years you helped Short North. More than earned a break.

Haiku, a near-20 year establishment of the Short North, is closing indefinitely on December 10. Owner Paul Liu and his daughter Josephine, who also works there, said the timing is just right. After abandoning plans to redevelop the site’s parking lot, Liu accepted a proposal to transform the entire space into a 10-story hotel and office building.

“For me, I dishwashed for my family when I was 13, and I opened my first restaurant the summer before I started my college,” Liu said. “I don’t know. I think it may be a good time for me to take a break.”

The Lius aren’t sure how long that break will be or if Haiku will reopen at all. For now their focus is on finishing out their last six weeks on a high note for their employees and for the community. From now until close, Haiku will donate 10 percent of their profits to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Josephine Liu said it’s a kind of thank you for the relationship the restaurant and the community was able to form over Haiku’s years in the ever-changing Short North.

“My dad really saw the potential for the Short North,” she said. “He knew that this area would be growing and it would be big, and he took a chance on this area.”

Liu partially credits himself with the feeling of community that’s grown into the neighborhood over the last 18 years. His focus on togetherness within the restaurant, whether with his staff or with his customers, is now a commonality between the area’s other businesses. He’s proud of the part Haiku played in making the neighborhood more “safe, fun to get drunk in, fun to be yourself in. That was the kind of community we wanted.”

As if recognizing the niche filled by such a unique establishment — featuring food, poetry and art — landlords from the neighborhood, as well as from Granville and Grandview, have already approached Liu for future restaurant ventures. Any plans for Haiku 2.0 are distant and uncertain, but Josephine Liu said there have been conversations about her starting the next generation’s Haiku, or something like it.

“That’s why reopening is something in the back of our minds, you know, because I’m wanting to do that, maybe,” she said. “But right now I think we’re just gonna take a break, because I want to take care of him, and I want to make sure whatever ventures he wants to do, I want to support him in too.”

For more information, visit www.haikucolumbus.com.

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