Restaurant openings, closings and more local food and drink news

Openings and Announcements

The quaint brick building that housed the original Harvest Pizzeria has a new tenant. Two new restaurateurs plan to open a Mediterranean bistro called Bistrolino this fall at 495 S. Fourth St., replacing the popular pizzeria that closed in April. 

Co-owner Samer Chedid has an education in engineering and an MBA, but fond memories of the outdoor cafés in his family’s native Lebanon have inspired the Ohio State alum to make a career leap into restaurant ownership. 

“What we’re trying to do is a little bistro, very similar to a Mediterranean café like back home in Lebanon,” says Chedid, who was born in Philadelphia but grew up in Nigeria and Lebanon as a child. “I just always wanted to bring that to Ohio, and German Village—the architecture of the old, beautiful building structures—reminded me of back home in a way. I just thought it would be a perfect spot,” he says. 

Chedid’s business partner is Francesco Todisco, a sous chef at Giuseppe’s Ritrovo who grew up in Southern Italy and spent time working in restaurants in New York. He and Chedid met while working at Aladdin’s Eatery. “He’s the restaurant mind in it,” Chedid says. 

Bistrolino will feature authentic Italian and Lebanese fare as well as dishes that fuse the two, Chedid says, adding that he wants to steer away from more “commercial” Lebanese dishes like falafel and kebabs.

Although the menu is not yet set, Chedid says the pair has tossed around ideas like zucchini Parmesan, lasagna, crepes and manakish, a savory Lebanese flatbread commonly topped with ingredients like za'atar, cheese and lamb.

Bistrolino will serve lunch and dinner, with an emphasis on Italian and Lebanese wine and beer. Pending city approval and inspections, the pair hope to open Bistrolino by the end of November.

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The Akron-based burger chain Swensons Drive-In opened a third Central Ohio location on Monday at 4810 Cemetery Road in Hilliard.

Forbidden Root, the Chicago-based brewery and restaurant coming soon to Easton Town Center, has hired longtime local chef Paul Yow (formerly of Barcelona, Hae Paul’s and Biscuit & Branch) to be its executive chef. Known for its botanical brews, Forbidden Root has also received high marks for its elevated brewpub fare at the flagship location in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.

Other News

Downtown’s “alleygeddon” strikes again. Chris Kowalski, the owner of Jack’s Downtown Diner for more than 15 years, has placed the old-school diner on sale, telling the Dispatch that the negative impact from years of construction in Lynn and Pearl alleys, combined with staffing issues and rising costs, led to his decision.

Starting in March 2016, several businesses that called the alleys home—including Jack’s (52 E. Lynn St.), Arepazo, Si Senor Peruvian Sandwiches & More, Ringside Café and Oliver’s Burgers & Bourbon—endured two years of an “alley beautification” project that was only supposed to take months. That was followed by an onslaught of scaffolding and construction headaches related to the Rhodes State Office Tower modernization project, which started two years ago and is expected to finish in 2021.

Last fall, the Latin American restaurant Arepazo left its longtime space in Pearl Alley. (It has since been replaced by Barroluco.) At the time, Kowalski didn’t mince words when describing the toll that the back-to-back alley construction projects had already taken on his restaurant: “It’s been brutal,” he told the Dispatch.

Events

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing and Land-Grant Brewing Co. celebrate a pair of anniversary celebrations on Saturday, Sept. 28. The Short North Trolley Co. will provide complimentary transportation between the two breweries. Read more about the celebrations in our Weekend Picks.

The Columbus Coffee Festival returns to the Ohio Village (800 E. 17th Ave.) for the fourth year Sept. 28-29. The event offers attendees the chance to sample coffees from more than 20 coffee shops and roasters, partake in food truck fare and join activities like “Coffee + Yoga”. Visit columbuscoffeefest.com for more information.

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