Ugly Tuna Saloona Makes a Comeback as Ugly Tuna 2
It’s a new day for Ugly Tuna Saloona, which after 14 years in business closed last May. Owner John Votino said then that they’d be relocating, but had yet to lock down a new spot. He’s since secured a location for Ugly Tuna 2, at 195 Chittenden Ave., with a planned opening just in time for Senior Crawl on April 30.
“I’ve been spending the last year really walking up and down High Street, from Chumley’s down to Threes, just getting to know a lot of the owners,” says Votino. “I came across this site just about a month ago, and I’m bringing Tuna back for the 15th annual Senior Crawl.”
Ugly Tuna 2 has taken over the space left behind by Two Bucks, which quietly closed last month after just opening last March. Votino is dedicating the next week or so to construction, and aims to have the bar open by April 25. Inside, the decor will pay homage to the original location and play with the Ugly Tuna 2 name. It’s got the capacity for up to 150 senior crawlers.
For Votino, leaving the campus area was never really a consideration. With four children who’ve graduated from the Ohio State University, and already having established a connection with the clientele, he says he feels a special connection to the neighborhood.
“Back in the day, Gordon Gee was very visible on campus. He used to come down to our Senior Crawl and he said one thing, he says, ‘All the students need a place to unwind,’ and I’ll never forget that,” Votino says. “I like campus, I think it’s a place for students to unwind.”
Votino’s other venues include Adobe Gila’s Mexican Cantina and NASTY’s Sports Bar & Grill in Hilliard. He’ll borrow from the NASTY’s menu to bring burgers, wings, pizzas and other finger foods to Ugly Tuna 2.
Ugly Tuna Saloona was one of several longstanding campus businesses to shutter or relocate in the last couple years, including Used Kids Records, Chumley’s, Too’s Spirits Under High and Bernie’s. Too’s owner Scott Ellsworth, who after the closure of Too’s opened Threes Above High in the old Scarlet & Grey Cafe space, said it’s a great thing that a campus business owner has made a comeback.
“We’re all aware campus is turning into a corporate run shopping mall, so anytime we can get a small business back on campus, I think it’s a great thing,” says Ellsworth. “I have a good relationship with John and I think he will do great things in that location.”
To keep updated on their construction progress, follow Ugly Tuna’s Facebook page.