Over 50 Restaurants Opened in Columbus in 2016December 30, 2016 8:30 am Lauren Sega
Part of what makes Columbus a fun place to go out for dinner and a drink is that there always seems to be a new spot to check out. Throughout the year, Columbus Underground keeps track of the gradual influx of businesses, whether they’re new ventures or replicas of established concepts. At the end of each year, as the Earth concludes another revolution around the Sun, we like to publish a reminder of the ideas that found form and the successful concepts that were able to expand. In 2016, Columbus saw the birth or growth of over 50 restaurant/bars, bar/restaurants, kitchens, bakeries, cafes and taverns:
Downtown became home to a number of new eateries. Hadley’s Bar and Kitchen landed on S. Fourth Street. this spring, part of a two-building renovation also containing a Mikey’s Late Night Slice. Over on Vine, the owners of Park Street Cantina took over the old Diesel Nightclub and transformed it into the Granero Lounge. In September, 16-Bit Bar+Arcade owner Troy Allen opened Pins Mechanical Company, a deviation from arcade games to the old school world of duckpin bowling, pinball, foosball, and ping pong.
Local businesses expanded to the neighborhood as well, with Condado opening a second location in Highpoint at the Columbus Commons and Cafe Brioso launching its new coffee bar and roastery on E. Long Street.
Not-so-local businesses also pegged Downtown Columbus for their new stores, including Cleveland-born Platform Beer Company’s second brewing facility on N. Sixth Street and Athens-based burrito joint Big Mamma’s on Park Street.
The North Market added Two Brothers Butcher Shoppe, replacing the relocated Bluescreek Farm Meats. And after a two month remodel, Pearl Alley’s Latin American grill El Arepazo reopened with new kitchen equipment, seating and offerings.
A little further north, in the Short North to be exact, bars are multiplying. Warehouse-style venue Standard Hall and Seattle-native restaurant and brewery RAM found homes on High Street. Donatos launched a first-of-its-kind Black Brick Bar; Tai Tiki Polynesian grill became Julep; and the old Surly Girl Saloon space is now a speakeasy cocktail bar-themed Parlor Room.
Oats and Barley Market hit the Short North, replacing Breathe Fitness and catering to the need for a centrally located grocery store with some ready-made food for sale. Brooklyn-based pizzeria Paulie Gee’s moved into the neighborhood as well, its first Columbus store.
Cat people and board game nerds found places for their passions this year at Eat Purr Love Cat Cafe and the Tabletop Game Cafe. Whit’s Frozen Custard opened a Clintonville location in September, the chain’s 34th incarnation. And Pocket Produce officially launched in June at 3496 N. High St. in Clintonville.
Columbus’ various “districts” claimed some new additions this year. Restaurant and pub Valter’s at the Maennerchor and Rockmill Tavern & Brewery are now operating in the Brewery District. Another arcade-bar combo, Brewcadia, and deli-slash-catering-company Sandman Gourmet Quick Service claimed real estate in the Arena District. And the University District’s Gateway brought in a Jimmy John’s, Raising Cane’s and Pizza Rev.
Filipino restaurant Bonifacio (from the owners of Red Velvet Cafe), meatball-centric Palle and another Big Mamma’s entered the Fifth by Northwest neighborhood. Challah Food Truck found a permanent home there as well, offering its Jewish cuisine for guests at Woodland’s Tavern.
Grandview Theater became Grandview Theater & Drafthouse with the help of Studio 35 Cinema and Drafthouse in Clintonville. It accompanied several other changes for the area, including the inception of So-Cal inspired Balboa and The Avenue Steak Tavern. Business partners Tony Tanner and local butcher Tim Struble filled the void left by Rife Market’s closure in 2014, opening The Butcher & Grocer on W. First Avenue.
Bexley had the honor of welcoming the city’s first local bookstore in 12 years in the form of Gramercy Books. They moved in with the second location of local bakery Kittie’s Cakes in December. Locally owned juice store Native Cold Pressed added its own second location in Bexley along with Crimson Cup’s new Innovation Lab just south of the area. Giant Eagle also introduced its first two-story grocery store in Bexley — a Market District Express on E. Main Street.
Fast-casual concepts Pokebap and Curry Up debuted on Sawmill Road in the last half of the year. Along with sashimi bowls and fast-casual Indian cuisine, the Dublin area grew in pizzerias, landing the third location for Harvest Pizzeria.
Topping off this list, a smattering of miscellaneous restaurants appeared this year: Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen, a Marengo original, opened in Italian Village. The shuttered Pizza Mart in Northland was reborn as Leone’s Pizza. In Westerville, North Carolina favorite Duck Donuts opened their first Central Ohio location, and 101 Beer Kitchen opened their third. Mrs. Turbo’s Cookies, a 1950s diner-themed bakery, came to Gahanna. Panera opened a location at the new Nationwide Children’s Hospital building at the intersection of Livingston and Parsons. Denny’s made a Columbus comeback just north of campus. Land-Grant Brewing is now serving transients at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH). And lastly, Chipotle’s new burger concept Tasty Made premiered in Lancaster.
READ MORE: The Top 25 Restaurants in Columbus
READ MORE: The Top 10 Best New Bars of 2016