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The Scoop: Momo Ghar Expands to Dublin; The Pit Adds a Third Location

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

Erin Edwards
eedwards@columbusmonthly.com
Phuntso Lama (right) and her husband, Pramod, photographed at Momo Ghar in the North Market. The couple are opening a full-scale restaurant in Dublin.

Openings & Announcements

Momo Ghar’s first full-scale restaurant debuts on Thursday at 2800 Festival Lane in Dublin. Phuntso Lama’s new Tibetan/Nepalese eatery will offer her famous dumplings as well as a bunch of new Tibetan dishes that the chef/co-owner has long wanted to introduce to Central Ohio. The Dublin restaurant will be open for dinner this Thursday and Friday from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Its regular hours will be 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Read more about Lama’s plans for the restaurant here.

The owners of The Pit BBQ Grille—former Buckeyes Bryant Browning, Chimdi Chekwa, Mike Johnson and D’Andre Martin—are set to open their third barbecue spot in Central Ohio, with a fourth on the way. The Pit will make its Clintonville debut on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 4219 N. High St. The Cleveland-style barbecue restaurant got its start in 2016 with a storefront in North Linden, followed by another restaurant on Parsons Avenue four years later. A fourth location is expected to open soon at North Market Bridge Park in Dublin.

The new vegetarian eatery Falafel Kitchen opened this week at North Market Bridge Park (6750 Longshore St.). The new North Market stall is a sister concept—or daughter concept, perhaps—of Mazah Mediterranean Eatery. Falafel Kitchen’s owner, Katy Ailabouni, is the daughter of Mazah chef-owner Maggie Ailabouni. The new Dublin North Market now has 10 merchants up and running, with at least five more coming soon. In addition, the market is now hosting a happy hour every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m., when certain vendors offer food and drink specials.

Law Bird’s Luke Pierce and Annie Williams Pierce, along with chef and business partner Tyler Minnis, have launched a crowdfunding campaign as they prepare to open Boxwood Biscuit Co.’s first brick-and-mortar location at 19 W. Russell St. in the Short North. Go here to read more about this new fried chicken-and-biscuits spot. Look for Boxwood to open in early spring. 

Agape Mediterranean is now open daily at 405 Polaris Parkway, offering a fast-casual menu of healthful pitas, salads and bowls.

Closings

While Momo Ghar celebrates the opening of its new Dublin restaurant, its original location inside Saraga International Grocery has closed for good. After Momo Ghar first opened inside the market in 2016 as a small counter eatery with a handful of seats, Phuntso Lama’s scratch-made Tibetan/Nepalese-style dumplings (aka momos) quickly built a cult following and garnered attention from Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” (She was named a Columbus Monthly Tastemaker in 2018.) Lama says the pandemic hit the Morse Road location hard, and that the eatery has been shuttered since November. “It was just struggling to keep afloat,” she said via text. In addition to the new Dublin location, Momo Ghar remains open at the historic North Market in the Short North.

Godiva Chocolatier announced Sunday that it is closing or selling all 128 of its boutique stores and cafes in North America by the end of March, citing changing consumer habits related to the pandemic. Central Ohio has two Godiva storefronts at Easton (4044 The Strand West) and at the Tanger Outlets in Sunbury (400 South Wilson Rd.). Godiva will continue to sell its luxury chocolates online and at retail stores in Europe, the Middle East and China.

News

The food-delivery platform DoorDash announced yesterday that it would provide $150,000 in local grants as part of its expanded COVID-19 relief grant program to help Columbus restaurants. Local restaurants may apply to receive a $5,000 grant to be used to offset costs associated with the ongoing pandemic. “DoorDash’s relief for restaurants struggling during the COVID-19 crisis is a huge step in helping keep our restaurant industry afloat,” said Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther in a press release. Third-party delivery services such as DoorDash, UberEats and Grubhub have come under fire amid the pandemic for charging restaurants commission fees as high as 30 percent of what the restaurant bills the customer. Several cities across the U.S. have taken steps to cap these fees, including the city of Columbus, which in November passed an ordinance aimed at limiting food-delivery commissions at 15 percent. However, the city’s cap only applies to contracts between restaurants and food-delivery companies that were finalized after the city’s ordinance took effect.

The Pit BBQ Grille in North Linden