Restaurant openings, closings and more Central Ohio food and drink news

Closings

Cara Mangini’s produce-focused eatery, Little Eater, will not reopen in the North Market, citing the uncertainty of the pandemic. The news follows the closure of Little Eater’s stand-alone Clintonville restaurant last fall. In an announcement on social media yesterday, Mangini wrote, “Our physical location depends on high-volume traffic, conventions, corporate partnerships and events, as well as a robust catering program, none of which are possible during these unprecedented times.” After starting as a pop-up in Hills Market in 2012, Little Eater introduced its farm-to-table ethos to the North Market in February 2015. Mangini, who authored the award-winning cookbook “The Vegetable Butcher,” added the Clintonville Little Eater two years later. There is some good news for Little Eater fans. According to Mangini, “the next iteration” of the brand is already in the works.

Rooftop restaurant and event space Juniper abruptly closed last week, along with its parent company Dock580. The 12,000-square-foot restaurant atop the historic Smith Bros. Hardware Building opened in 2017, offering sweeping views of Downtown Columbus. The economic fallout of the pandemic was the root cause, according to a letter sent to couples who had planned to host weddings at one of Dock580′s three venues. Our weddings editor has more here.

Another Gay Street restaurant, Café Phenix Bistro, has succumbed to the pandemic. Owners Gary McConnell and Brittney Barnhart opened the European-style café in 2016. The news follows the recent closing of Plantain Café down the street.

Openings & Announcements

This week, the city of Columbus named Bake Me Happy co-founder Letha Pugh the 2020 Steven Shellabarger Illuminator Award recipient for her leadership in promoting LGBTQ+ rights. In 2001, Pugh founded Black, Out & Proud, a nonprofit organization that provides “advocacy, education and inspiration for and by the Black LGBTQ+ community.” Pugh, who was named a Columbus Monthly Tastemaker in 2017, was honored by city leaders on Monday during the virtual City Hall Pride Illumination.

Mid City Garage is now serving cocktails, wood-fired pizzas and sandwiches at 1179 Jaeger St. in Merion Village. Housed in a former auto repair shop, the bar and pizzeria is the latest concept from restaurateur George Tanchevski, who also owns Local Cantina, South Village Grille, Jonys Sushi and Old Skool.

A new fast-casual restaurant called Zaytoon Mediterranean Grill made its debut recently at 5450 Westpointe Plaza Dr. in Hilliard.

Locally founded restaurants Brio Tuscan Grille and Bravo Cucina Italiana have been thrown a lifeline by the owner of Planet Hollywood and Buca di Beppo. Orlando-based Earl Enterprises plans to rename the concepts Brio Italian Grille and Bravo Italian Kitchen, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. FoodFirst Global Restaurants, the parent company of Brio and Bravo, has sought a buyer for the restaurants since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April. It’s unclear whether Earl Enterprises will take over the Brio and Bravo locations in Central Ohio.

Restaurant Reopenings

The main dining room at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing (215 N. Fourth St.) will welcome dine-in customers again beginning today, with some coronavirus-conscious changes. The Downtown restaurant and brewery will serve dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are required, diners must wear masks when not seated, and the restaurant has placed 6-foot-by-6-foot partitions between tables. Wolf’s Ridge is also switching to a four-course, prix fixe menu. For now, the taproom will remain closed for dine-in, but carryout is still available.

Alqueria Farmhouse Kitchen resumed lunch and dinner service this week at 247 King Ave. The restaurant has been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant will also offer online ordering through its website, as well as curbside carryout.

Cameron Mitchell’s Lincoln Social Rooftop (711 N. High St.) reopened this week. Meanwhile, CMR’s Del Mar SoCal Kitchen, The Guild House and Martini Modern Italian will reopen their dining rooms on Tuesday, June 23.

Hen Quarter Dublin (6628 Riverside Dr.) reopened last week for lunch and dinner service with a new menu, plus updated hours and capacity requirements. The Bridge Park restaurant has also added curbside pickup and delivery options.

Hot chicken fans can get their fix at the North Market again. Hot Chicken Takeover (59 Spruce St.) has reopened with limited hours. Check its website for more information.

Bexley’s Giuseppe’s Ritrovo (2268 E. Main St.) is now serving dine-in customers.

After being closed since mid-March, Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace (248 S. Fourth St.) reopens today for carryout and delivery only.

Upper Arlington’s SOW Plated (1625 W. Lane Ave.) resumes dine-in service today with a new menu. Its temporary hours are noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Events

Willowbeez SoulVeg is hosting its annual Celebrating Fathers event from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 21, at MPACC Box Park (925 Mt. Vernon Ave.). Fathers and father figures are invited to enjoy free food from Willowbeez and Can’t Believe It’s Vegan. Masks and social distancing will be encouraged.

A worldwide bake sale called Bakers Against Racism is taking place this week. Launched by Washington D.C.-based chefs Rob Rubba, Willa Lou Pelini and Paola Velez, the effort invited bakeries around the country (and now the world) to join in the bake sale, with proceeds going to charities that support Black lives. A few local bakeries participating include Dough Mama, Ohio Pies and Pistacia Vera. Orders are being accepted now.

Information is critical. Read our latest reporting on the coronavirus response here.