Father-son duo fashion Downtown gastropub

Denise Trowbridge, For The Columbus Dispatch

October 1, 2013

A father and son are the driving force behind Columbus' latest gastropub and microbrewery, Wolf's Ridge Brewing.

The ambitious plan for a 6,300-square-foot restaurant paired with a microbrewery at 215 N. 4th St. is the work of Alan Szuter and his son, Bob Szuter.

"I've been a craft beer lover for a long time, and the more involved I became with the craft beer community, the more I wanted to be part of it," Alan Szuter said.

"That's when I started thinking of opening a microbrewery. After a lot of serious research, I knew we really needed to have a restaurant with it, and that is when Bob got involved. He has been part of the (service) industry and had always wanted his own restaurant."

And while the idea was energizing, the task of getting the business up and running has been a lot of work.

"As I look back at what we've done, if we had realized the magnitude of the effort we needed to make it happen, I don't think we would have done it," Alan Szuter said. "You could say willful ignorance helped us get started."

The two have finally reached the end of the long road to opening. Wolf's Ridge is open for lunch and dinner, with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

The brunch menu includes apple cider doughnuts and chocolate anglaise doughnuts with a shot of espresso; a breakfast sandwich of braised pork adobo, egg and sriracha aioli on a sesame seed brioche bun; sausage and sage gravy, with braised green beans, egg and puff pastry; French toast with stout syrup, bourbon-macerated berries and almonds; and eggs Benedict with pale ale hollandaise, poached egg, seared pork pate, English muffin and potato pancakes. Prices range from $4 to $19.

Lunch entrees include braised pork shoulder with polenta, pickled radish, onion and cilantro; corn-dusted walleye with romesco sauce, smoked sour cream and roasted fingerling potatoes; and stout-braised baby back ribs with stout barbecue sauce, fingerling pancakes and mixed carrots.

Small plate offerings for lunch and dinner include tortilla-dusted frog legs with enchilada sauce, pickled radish, onion and cilantro; IPA-steamed mussels with chorizo; and salads such as the endive with blue cheese, walnuts and cider vinaigrette. Prices range from $5 to $21.

The dinner menu includes pork chops with campanelle pasta; dry-aged duck breast with pink peppercorns, wild mushrooms, gruyere mashed potatoes and port syrup; and a grilled ribeye with foie gras butter and truffle-roasted fingerling potatoes. Sandwiches include an ahi tuna burger and a beef and lamb cheeseburger, both on brioche buns. Prices range from $7 to $29.

The restaurant has a full bar, wine and an extensive beer menu. That includes their own brews, such as India Pale Ale on tap, a red ale, a wheat, a porter and seasonal beers.

"We are focused on refining our recipes and making sure we produce high quality and consistent beers before we really ramp up production," Bob Szuter said.

As for the location, they knew they needed a large spot, and they wanted to be Downtown. "A lot of businesses and people are moving back, and we wanted to be part of it," Alan Szuter said.

The 4th Street location "had a good retail front to it, was built solidly and could support the dual purpose of (restaurant) and brewery," Alan Szuter said.

It had been used as office space and was filled with cubicles. The building was gutted, and eight dumpsters full of debris removed. Students from the Columbus College of Art and Design designed the space.

The brewery takes its name from a long-gone hunting preserve that used to exist on the land where the brewery now stands.

Despite the work, Alan Szuter doesn't regret the decision to open a father-son restaurant and brewery. "Sometimes you have to stop listening to the voice in the back of your head and just go for it," he said.

Off the Menu

• Until Oct. 27, Donatos will donate 25 cents from the sale of every large pizza sold at regular price to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at OSU's James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

• Mitchell's Fish Market is hosting a special four-course wine dinner at 7 p.m. on Oct. 16 and 17, pairing each course with a wine. The cost is $49.99 per person, and reservations are required. Go to www.mitchellsfishmarket.com for more information.

• Hubbard Grille, 793 N. High St., is offering a revolving menu of daily specials featuring locally grown and made food and drinks. Specials include fried chicken Tuesdays with Ohio fried chicken paired with cheddar grits and Brussels sprouts for $10; Sunday all night happy hour with half price on some small plates, beers and cocktails; and half-price select local products such as Ohio beers and Ohio-raised beef tenderloin medallions on Wednesdays.

Obit file

Friendly's, 2345 E. Dublin-Granville Rd., has closed. It is listed as closed on the company website.