Over 60 New Restaurants Opened in Columbus in 2014
At the end of every calendar year, we compile a list of all of the restaurants that opened (as well as those that closed). It’s a CU tradition that dates back to 2009, and while some lists have been pretty robust (we counted 50 new restaurants in 2011), 2014 takes the crown with the most recorded openings to date. While we attempt to be as thorough as possible, we typically omit things like fast food and larger chains. So what you’re left with is a list of restaurants that are mostly local, unique and average-to-high quality in terms of their menus and concepts. We hope that you enjoy this list as much as you enjoyed dining and any of these new entries to the local dining scene this year.
New Ohio Imports:
Similar to last year, 2014 was noteworthy for the number of Ohio-based restaurant expansions that landed in Columbus courtesy of our sibling cities all around the state. Toledo’s Bar 145 opened in the Fifth by Northwest area back in January. Cincinnati-based Tom+Chee opened three restaurants in the Columbus region this year. Cleveland’s B Spot Burgers launched in the Gahanna area in July. Cincinnati’s LaRosa’s Pizza opened in Dublin in November. A Cleveland restaurateur brought Condado to the Short North, also in November. Cleveland-based Melt opened its second local restaurant at the Easton Gateway in December. And this past weekend Nada expanded to the Arena District, originally from Cincinnati.
Local Restaurant Expansions:
The out-of-town expansion didn’t stop local restaurants from growing with new locations all around town. The second Harvest location opened in Clintonville in March. Locally-based BiBiBop grew rapidly this year with new stores in Upper Arlington, Polaris and Easton. El Arepazo opened a third location in the Brewery District in August. Da Levee also opened up a new location in August, this time in Gahanna. The folks behind Bernard’s in the Short North opened Oxley’s at the South Campus Gateway back in July. SuperChef’s added a Gahanna location earlier this year. German Village landmark Katzinger’s opened their new Little Deli inside the North Market in May. And last but not least, the Thurman Cafe opened a new branch up in Delaware back in February.
Columbus Food League Updates:
2014 was a pivotal year for the Columbus Food League, which closed restaurants for the first time ever while continuing to open others. New ones on the roster included The Torpedo Room, which opened inside the Gateway Film Center in January, Dirty Frank’s Westgate, which launched back in February, and The Chintz Room, which soft opened in November and hosted grand opening events in December.
The Year of The Fried Chicken:
If there’s any one single dish that can define Columbus dining in 2014, it might just be fried chicken. Hot Chicken Takeover had somewhat of a double-opening, first in Olde Towne East in March, and then again in December inside the North Market. Outside the North Market, Double Comfort opened with a fried-chicken-centric menu in July. Bodega even closed and reopened with a focus on fried chicken back in May.
The Uprising of Italian Village:
Not only is Italian Village one of the city’s hottest markets for residential development, it’s also a hotspot for new restaurant businesses. Jailhouse Rock opened inside the Little Rock Bar in June. The Market launched the next month on Summit. The long-awaited Cray Eatery & Drinkery opened in the Wonderbread building in August.The Fox in the Snow Cafe got their doors opened in October. And while technically right outside the boundary of Italian Village (but on the same side of High Street), Black Point Seafood opened up on the cap, also in October.
More New Additions Downtown:
Downtown Columbus has seen many new restaurants open in recent years with growing demand from new residents and visitors to the area. Rishi Sushi opened up on North Third back in March. Bareburger also opened in March inside the old Yankee Trader building. OH Pizza Brew replaced Element Pizza in May. Pizza Rustica opened at Broad and High in the former Cafe Daniella spot. The Carvery opened their doors on Gay street in August. Around the corner on Lynn Alley, Oliver’s opened their doors this summer. The Freshbox Cafe opened at Broad and Third in May. And the old Arena Grand Theatre reopened at the beginning of the year as Studio Movie Grill, which is one part restaurant, one part movie theater.
Cool New Stuff in The Burbs:
Downtown wasn’t the only area to see new restaurant action in 2014. Several suburbs saw the addition of hip, upscale and inventive new places to eat. Taco Hass opened in January on Sawmill Road near Dublin. Upper Arlington landed Hudson 29 on Lane Avenue back in March. Kraft House No. 5 opened up this summer in Powell. Mezcal Cantina & Grill opened on Hard Road near Dublin in August. Another new Cameron Mitchell concept called The Barn launched in Gahanna this fall. The Zoe Cafe opened up in Bexley just before Christmas. And last but not least, Worthington gained The Whitney House, also in December.
Cool New Stuff in Unexpected Places:
Some restaurants open where foot traffic is high. Others strike out on their own to become dining destinations. A perfect example of that would be Strongwater, which launched their restaurant service in January in the heart of East Franklinton. Westies Gastropub was another January opening, located in a quiet section of the Brewery District in a building formerly occupied by a tombstone-making company. Ethyl & Tank opened up in February in the heart of the University District. Both Tatoheads and Alchemy launched on Parsons Avenue this year. Dan the Baker opened Toast Bar in October in a small back-street where is baking operation is located off Route 33 south of Grandview. New hot dog shop DareDevil Dogs popped open in November in between OSU and The Short North. And last but not least, Acre: Farm-to-Table To-Go launched in a former KFC in Olde North Columbus.
None of these restaurants fit too specifically into other categories, but they’re certainly noteworthy openings that deserve to be mentioned. The Clubhouse opened in January on Greenlawn Avenue. Panera opened its South High location in the old Clarmont space in February. Nearby, The Front Street Bar & Grill opened in The Brewery District, also in February. La Tavola re-launched in a new iteration in Grandview Heights in March. The Skyward Grille opened its doors on Riverside Drive in April. Brick opened up on South Front Street in April. Jobu Ramen opened on Grandview Avenue back in May. The Angry Bear Kitchen also opened in May, in the old Sage American Bistro location. The fourth zpizza franchise launched on Grandview Avenue this fall. Indianapolis-based Yat’s Cajun Creole opened on Grandview Avenue in August. The first Kona Grill in Ohio opened at Easton in November. The now-locally-based Sbarro launched two Pizza Cucinova test restaurants in Columbus this year. Rusty Bucket opened a Hilliard location this fall.
What did we miss?
We attempt to be as thorough as possible, but realize that we’re likely to overlook at least a few of the great new restaurants to be added to the dining scene this year. If there’s something you notice that’s omitted, add it in the comments below!
Here’s to happy eating in 2015!