Bringing bite of Big Apple to Dublin

  • Ashland & Highland is one of the few independent restaurants near the Mall at Tuttle Crossing.
  • Fred Squillante | Dispatch photos
    Ashland & Highland took about six months to be renovated and drew its inspiration from fine bistros in New York City.
  • Fred Squillante | Dispatch
    Bartender Kyle Pangburn talks with customers from behind the bar at Ashland & Highland. The Dublin restaurant features handcrafted cocktails on the drink menu.
By

May 13, 2014

Ed Burke Carey took a roundabout way to becoming a restaurateur.

He has worked in real estate in Columbus since 1983, and his experience in the restaurant business until then consisted of being a tuxedo-clad waiter in an upscale French restaurant in Buffalo during his college years and being part-owner of a bar and grill in that same city.

Now, Carey can add owner of the New York-themed restaurant and bar Ashland & Highland to the list. It opened at 5637 Woerner-Temple Rd. in Dublin in the latter part of 2013 and is one of a few independent restaurants on the stretches of roads dotted with national-chain eateries surrounding the Mall at Tuttle Crossing.

He didn’t set out to become a restaurateur. He simply bought a shopping center, the Emerald Town Center, and it needed a restaurant.

“When we took over, the restaurant space was about half built. The previous landlord and the tenant got into a dispute, so they never took occupancy,” Carey said.

“I decided I’d have a go at the restaurant business, because we just had to have a restaurant in here. I thought, how hard could it be? But now I know the restaurant business is comparable to brain surgery.”

Luckily, his partner and general manager, Bryan White, is an industry veteran.

Ashland & Highland features a menu of sandwiches, seafood, steaks, salads and flatbreads, plus signature handcrafted cocktails. The food and decor are inspired by fine bistros in New York City and upstate New York. Carey also modeled Ashland & Highland on what he expects when he dines out.

“I want good quality food, I want prompt and friendly service and a fair price. We went with that as our driving force,” he said.

“We were looking for something different than what was already in Dublin,” Carey said. “I grew up in Buffalo and lived in New York City as a young man, and people are familiar with New York, so that became our theme.”

His daughter, interior designer Colleen Kirk, designed the space to feature bold tones of black and burgundy and plenty of banquette seating. It took about six months to renovate and complete the space, which is about 4,100 square feet. They refinished the decor and brought the existing kitchen and HVAC systems to code. Ashland & Highland seats 120 inside and 40 on the patio.

Besides Carey being his own landlord, there have been many advantages to the location. There are only a small number of other local restaurants nearby, it’s within walking distance of several residential neighborhoods and a brisk lunch crowd comes from the large office buildings in the area.

Now that Ashland & Highland is up and running, Carey has a newfound respect for restaurateurs.

“You have to be a genius like Cameron Mitchell to really be successful in this business. It’s so demanding,” he said. “But it’s fun.”

Off the menu

• Katzinger’s Little Delicatessen is open at the North Market, 59 Spruce St. The deli is a smaller version of the German Village Katzinger’s and will serve a scaled-down menu of its popular sandwiches, sides and brownies. The deli is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

• La Scala, 4199 W. Dublin-Granville Rd. in Dublin, has launched a Sunday brunch buffet. The buffet lasts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and costs $16 per person.

• Easy Street Cafe, 5 S. Liberty St. in Powell, closed on Sunday afternoon. Owners Louie and Michael Pappas plan to remodel the space and reopen it as a new restaurant concept called Kraft House No. 5, with a menu focusing on fresh, from-scratch food, craft beer and handcrafted cocktails. The renovation is expected to take about three weeks, but no official opening date has been set.

Obit file

Otani’s Japanese restaurant, 5900 Roche Dr., has closed. Owner Rick Honda said on the restaurant’s Facebook page that the landlord asked them to vacate the space because of late rent payments. Honda said they had planned to relocate, but no plans are in place, and they are “considering their options.” Last fall, Otani fans rallied around the restaurant when Honda posted a notice online that it would close immediately unless they could raise $25,000. Fans flocked to the restaurant, and it remained open. The contents of Otani will be auctioned off at 1 p.m. Sunday. Contact auctioneer Paul Delphia at 614-267-5100 for more information.

Dispatch restaurant columnist Denise Trowbridge can be reached at onrestaurants@dispatch.com.