Food News: Willowbeez SoulVeg opens at North Market

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

Erin Edwards
Chef Carnell Willoughby

Openings & Announcements 

Carnell Willoughby’s vegan pop-up, Willowbeez SoulVeg, held its grand opening this week at the North Market (59 Spruce St.). The vegan soul food eatery fills the northwest corner space vacated by Pistacia Vera. Willowbeez serves several entrees, such as No’Fish Fry and So’Lasagna, as well as soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches and a handful of brunch items. Willowbeez has been in business as a pop-up and catering company since 2012, but this is its first permanent space. 

High Bank Distillery Co. (1051 Goodale Blvd.) bagged several awards recently at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The big news: The Grandview distillery’s 4-year Whiskey War Barrel Proof took home double gold and was named the Best Blended Whiskey in America. The distillery also took home the following awards: gold for Whiskey War Double Oaked and Whiskey War Barrel Select⁠; silver for Whiskey War⁠; bronze for Whiskey War Midnight Cask⁠. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is the second oldest of its kind in the world and features more than 2,500 participants across America. 

Land-Grant Brewing has announced a new, multi-year partnership with Columbus Crew SC, marking its sixth season as an official partner of the MLS club. The agreement also means that Land-Grant will have a standalone bar at the new Crew Stadium, which is set to open in July in the Arena District. 

Eight months after opening, the sandwich shop Punk Pigs (2515 Summit St.) is overhauling its menu, expanding its hours and announcing a new weekend pop-up for summertime. The new menu, set to debut Tuesday, May 4, will feature more barbecue offerings such as a smoked meatloaf sandwich with bourbon apple butter. It will also offer a curated list of beers, wine and mead. Also in May, the North Campus sandwich shop will expand its hours, adding lunchtime and late-night dining. Punk Pigs' hours will be noon to midnight Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. In addition, a new pop-up called Dynamite’s Dang Quesadilla will temporarily take over the Summit Street kitchen beginning May 14 and will serve from noon to 5 p.m., every weekend throughout the summer. 

Reopenings 

Rye River Social (955 W. Fifth Ave.), a relative newcomer on the dining scene, is reopening Wednesday, May 5, after deciding to close in December out of COVID-19 safety concerns. During opening week, the restaurant/cocktail bar will be open for dinner 4-10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and for brunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.