History of Columbus Restaurant Spaces: 10 facts you didn’t know
While only a handful of Columbus restaurants are still going strong after decades in business, many others are housed in buildings with long and storied pasts. Here are a few stories you may not have heard about some of your favorite restaurants!
263 E. Whittier St., Columbus, OH 43206
The space that is now Barcelona was originally two different addresses—over the years it housed a popular tavern called Deibel’s (which used that incredible oak bar that still serves as the restaurant’s focal point) as well as a local pharmacy.
811 Highland St., Columbus, OH 43215
The intimate building that houses Basi was built as a carriage house before being converted to a grocery and then a carry-out. Photos of the grocery dating to 1947 show a second floor with a sloped roof, but by 1978 the second floor and sloped roof were gone. Before current owners John Dornback and Trish Gentile purchased it, 811 Highland housed a pizza shop called Pisa Pete’s.
Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls
21190 OH-374, Logan, OH 43138
In the Hocking Hills, the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls’ restaurant Kindred Spirits is situated in two original log cabins dating to the 1840s. The dining rooms and tavern are much roomier than you might imagine, and the chef cooks in full view in an open kitchen—a rarity!
169 E. Beck St., Columbus, OH 43206
We’ve known the stately building at 169 E. Beck as Lindey’s since 1981, but the space went through many incarnations before then. Since it was built in 1884, the building has housed a grocery, two saloons and, in the 1950s, the King’s Rose Garden, a rough-and-tumble neighborhood bar.
819 Mohawk St., Columbus, OH 43206
The tavern that originally operated out of 819 Mohawk officially opened its doors after the end of Prohibition in 1933. But legend has it that Elk’s Tavern operated as a speakeasy for years during Prohibition—which may have explained why it was immediately successful as a legitimate business.
19 N. Pearl St., Columbus, OH 43215
While the original building burned down, the Ringside Cafe has been a popular downtown Columbus hangout since 1897! The bar was a longtime hot spot for politicians from both sides of the aisle. Visitors will notice a pair of stained glass windows depicting a donkey and an elephant. The story goes that a lit candle would be placed behind one of those windows to signify whether the Republicans or Democrats were meeting there that evening.
123 N. Broad St., Lancaster, OH 43130
Shaw’s is currently undergoing renovations to add a bakery, the latest evolution in the building’s long history. The space at 123 N. Broad was built in 1941 as the Hotel Lancaster. Hotel owner Harry Shaw also owned Shaw’s steakhouse two blocks south. In 1989, the originals Shaw’s location was closed and the restaurant merged with the hotel and was rebranded as Shaw’s Restaurant & Inn. Shaw’s Inn officially closed on Nov. 12, 2016, but Shaw’s Restaurant remains and is set to reopen this summer!
The Top Steakhouse
2891 E. Main St., Columbus, OH 43209
The Top opened in 1955 as a supper club from restaurateurs Lee Henry and Bill Sapp, who also owned the legendary Kahiki. In its early years The Top developed a reputation as a place where men would bring their wives (through the front door) as well as their mistresses (through a secret side door!).
649 High St., Worthington, OH
While it’s a restaurant and event space these days, the Worthington Inn space did operate as an inn for years, beginning in 1852 as a traveler’s inn on one of Columbus’ most traveled thoroughfares (what we know now as Dublin-Granville Road!). Its characteristic Victorian façade was added in 1901 after a fire damaged the original structure’s roof and second floor.
1368 Grandview Ave., Columbus, OH 43202
Says owner Rick Ziliak, “Our building was originally built just after World War II to be the post office for the area, then became Byerly’s Aquarium Supplies.” In 2009, a fire spread through a dozen businesses between W. Fifth and W. Third Avenues in Grandview—Z Cucina’s building was the only one to survive.
Dine Originals Columbus celebrates, supports and promotes the culinary diversity that locally owned and operated member restaurants contribute to the identity and culture of our city. The nonprofit group is committed to strengthening the local economy and enriching the community through education and charitable partnerships.
A limited quantity of Dine Originals restaurant gift certificates are sold at 30 percent off face value each quarter. They can be purchased here.
For more information, visit www.dineoriginalscolumbus.com