The Scoop: LemonShark Poké & Makai Grill Debuts at Easton; The Main Bar to Close

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

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
LemonShark Poké & Makai Grill at Easton Town Center

Openings & Announcements

LemonShark Poké & Makai Grill’s first Ohio location debuts on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 3969 Merchants Row in Easton Town Center. The sibling concepts, LemonShark and Makai, are being combined under one roof to offer both fast-casual and full-service dining experiences, featuring sushi-grade fish (poke) and hibachi-style grilled meats. LemonShark originated in Southern California in 2016 and began franchising the following year. The fast-growing Hawaiian-inspired concept currently has 14 locations in five states. “We’re thrilled to introduce our passion to the Greater Columbus area and to join the Easton family,” said the location’s co-owner Sherry Whay in a press release. “As a local female business owner and OSU alumna, this community has provided me so many opportunities. It’s our goal, by means of this restaurant, to give back in a variety of ways.”

Jamie George has left his position as executive chef at Grandview’s Z Cucina to open his own restaurant with partners Jackie Williams and Eric Bearfield. Their new venture, ’Plas Food and Drink, will replace The Table at 21 E. Fifth Ave. in the Short North. The Table’s owners, Sangeeta Lakhani and Jen Marlatt, put the restaurant up for sale last year after the pandemic hit. George is a veteran Columbus chef whose past experience includes time at Trattoria Roma and Basi Italia. The new restaurant is expected to open this spring.

In case you missed our reporting this week, a Pan-Asian restaurant is opening soon in the former Happy Dragon space, located at 277 E. Livingston Ave. in German Village. Běndì Wok N Bar is the latest concept from George Tanchevski, the owner of Local Cantina, South Village Grille, Jonys Sushi and Mid City Garage. The menu will showcase a variety of dishes inspired by Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines. Meanwhile, the full bar will focus on creative, Polynesian-inspired cocktails. Běndì is targeting a March 5 opening.

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ much-anticipated (and long-delayed) Budd Dairy Food Hall will finally open on Tuesday, April 6, at 1086 N. Fourth St. in Italian Village. Originally expected to open in 2019, Budd Dairy ran into construction delays and then the COVID-19 outbreak hit. The 14,000-square-foot food hall will spread across two floors and feature three bars and a rooftop deck. “We look forward to welcoming guests soon, giving them a safe place to connect with others while enjoying tasty culinary creations from our talented group of chef partners,” said general manager Jeremy Hughes in an announcement Monday. Most of the food hall’s nine food vendors (aka “chef partners”) were selected through what CMR describes as a Shark Tank-style process. The full chef partner lineup includes: Alphabetical Comfort Kitchen, Boni: Filipino Street Food, Borgata, Cluck Norris, Cousins Maine Lobster, Modern Southern Table, Pokebap, Stauf’s and Tacos Rudos.

Charmy’s Persian Cuisine is now popping up weekly at Watershed Kitchen & Bar (1145 Chesapeake Ave., Unit D). Serving a menu of kebabs, shirazi salad and other Persian dishes, Charmy’s will be open for online ordering and carryout from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Watershed Distillery’s sister restaurant, which shut down last March, remains closed because of the pandemic’s uncertainty but is expected to reopen this year.

Closings

The Main Bar (16 W. Main St.), a longtime Downtown dive, is closing its doors for good on Feb. 28. According to Columbus Business First, the building is set to be demolished. The building dates back to 1890 and has long been endangered as new developments have popped up around it. According to Columbus Landmarks, the building is “the last surviving late 19th century commercial structure on West Main between South High and Wall Street.”