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Setting the “Standard”

What do a brisk beer garden, an open-concept kitchen and an abandoned music hall have in common? Not much at a glance, but they are all part of the innovative expansion of Corso Ventures—marked most recently with the opening of Standard Hall, the third concept from the folks behind The Pint House and Forno Kitchen [...]
J.R. McMillan



What do a brisk beer garden, an open-concept kitchen and an abandoned music hall have in common? Not much at a glance, but they are all part of the innovative expansion of Corso Ventures—marked most recently with the opening of Standard Hall, the third concept from the folks behind The Pint House and Forno Kitchen + Bar. Opening three distinct locations in as many years in the Short North, a neighborhood with no shortage of fine ideas that fade away, is a tall order. Those that stick strike the right balance between dinner destination and neighborhood haunt. “I personally live just a couple blocks away in Italian Village, and have been walking or biking down East Third avenue for about eight years, every single day, to either hang out or go to work,” explained Reed Woogerd, director of operations.

“Almost every time I’ve come down East Third avenue, I’ve turned left. Now that we’ve begun this development process, it feels great to turn right, to be going somewhere new and exciting for this part of the neighborhood.” The Short North nostalgic already know the location well. For a decade, Little Brother’s filled the live music void left by Stache’s. The loss of both still brings a bitter tear to the faithful. A shorter stint as Liquid Café and Lounge fit the neighborhood well as an upscale lesbian nightclub. But this too soon passed.  The space has been empty of all but regrets ever since. But Woogerd doesn’t stir easily when it comes to expectations, or a cursed location. “When we opened up Pint House in 2013, we received a lot of criticism—people who thought we were just night club guys who would bring the wrong crowd to the neighborhood,” he confessed.

“When we were opening Forno, skeptics claimed the building was cursed. In reality, it had only been a restaurant one other time. This is a tough business, not all restaurants are successful; not all small businesses stay open forever.” It’s a little eerie to see a former music hall and nightclub during daylight hours. But it also reveals the details of the space that otherwise go unnoticed—the new, industrial metalwork contrasting the rich, red hues of the original exposed brick, or the preserved central skylight that beams down on the lush, living herb wall behind the bar. The worn and weathered wooden floorboards give the whole joint an instant credibility, as though Standard Hall has always been there.

“I see our venues as much more than an average restaurant or bar. We like to build places that provide both residents and visitors to the Short North a great experience of what this neighborhood has to offer,” he said. “Opening Standard Hall—in a building that has so much history and is dear to the hearts of longtime residents of the Short North—we wanted to make sure we did it justice. We’ve learned people take the redevelopment and growth of the Short North seriously. And as residents of the neighborhood, we are sensitive to what the people here actually want and need.”

“The beauty of the restaurant business is that it revolves around the basic human need for social interaction, the catalyst of which is something that we can all agree on that we love—food and drinks,” he explained. “So, if we don’t try to reinvent the wheel, and if we stay immersed in our community and continue to grow with the team of restaurant professionals we’ve been building, then we get concepts that feel genuine and original without taking the general public out of their comfort zone.”

Expansion isn’t exclusively an external process. Ideally it really does starts from the ground up. Woogerd recalled his own rise within the organization, and how it was actually a former restaurant employer who suggested he and Chris Corso, the company’s founder, would be a great fit.

That pay-it-forward philosophy hasn’t been forgotten, nor have the staff who are opening Standard Hall. The general manager, Kyle Westerburg, and assistant manager, Nate Taylor, both started as bartenders at Forno. In fact, the management teams at all three locations are a collection of former servers and support staff. The kitchen side is likewise deep with promotions from within. The company’s executive chefs include a former line cook and a pantry cook. Standard Hall’s own executive chef, Daniel Kamel, started as a sous chef at Forno.

This commitment to cultivating and promoting excellence creates a customer experience typically found only at restaurants and bars that have had enough time for the staff to settle in. Standard Hall has that from the day they open the doors.

“When you look at our menu, you will recognize a lot of things. We have offerings that you are used to seeing at other restaurants and bars,” he noted. “We have a mojito on our cocktail menu, a lot of places do. But we are growing our mint on a living wall behind the bar and plucking it fresh for each cocktail. We are serving our Philly cheesesteak on an Amoroso roll that we ship from Philadelphia. The idea here really is to set the standard.”

Asked if three concepts was the goal, or just the beginning, Woogerd remained open to possibilities.

“I guess you could say that our growth is synonymous with the growth of Columbus. When the right opportunities arise, and when we feel our team is ready, we will continue to grow,” he replied. “I think the thing that we are already doing, that can’t be recreated, is that we live in the community and have been invested in the community for a long time. Generally you don’t see out-of-town developers coming in until some local guys have had some success. We want to continue to show that Columbus is a viable market.”

Columbus has often taken its inspiration from elsewhere, with a steady influx of transplants and immigrants fueling the food and drink scene. But now, it’s starting to come into its own—a metropolitan and cosmopolitan mix as diverse and distinct as any dining destination.

“I’d taken trips to Austin and Nashville and seen that relationship between space and the community,” he said. “We wanted that same feel, so someone walking down the street in the Short North could see and sense the energy inside and get drawn in. You’re attracted to it.”

“Columbus is a growing foodie town. People who live here love going out to restaurants, and people in the Short North will sometimes hit five or six different places on any given night,” he explained. “It’s up to us to provide a little different flavor for each concept. The challenge is providing an experience for people who travel to bigger cities like Chicago, New York, to go to restaurants. We want them to come to our venues and feel like they’re having that kind of experience.”

To experience Standard Hall, check them out at 1100 N High St., or at

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Food & Drink

National Brisket Day is Tomorrow!

Julian Foglietti



Photo by Brian Kaiser

With meat shortages starting to take their toll and National Brisket Day around the corner here's a roundup of some spots you can go to to get your brisket fix.

Legacy Smoke House

With their main location in Hilliard and a food truck moving throughout the city, Legacy Smoke House is a solid choice for brisket on National Brisket Day, just be sure to get there while supplies last. Enjoy!

Pecan Pennys

Just off Main Street, Pecan Pennys is ready to fulfill your brisket needs. If your looking to feed a family though be sure to get your orders in advance as they're requesting 24 hours notice on dinner bundles.

Ray-Ray's Hog Pit

With locations in Franklinton, Westerville, Clintonville and Powell Ray Ray's Hog Pit is open for business with brisket stocked at all locations. #NationalBrisketDay is the best day!

Hoggy’s Restaurant and Catering

Located on Bethel Road, Hoggy’s will be stocking brisket for both dine-in or carryout. Feel free to stop in or stop by!

The Pit

With a new location opened up on Parsons Ave. The Pit BBQ will be offering brisket for the National day. Celebrate with some tasty brisket!

City Barbeque

City Barbeque will be offering brisket for the National day! So get excited and get ready for some yummy BBQ brisket!

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{UPDATED} Indoor Dining: what’s NOT opening?




Los Gauchos

PINS Mechanical Co.

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Hey Pinheads. We're so excited to hear that our world is beginning to reopen! Many of you have reached out asking about our opening plans so we wanted to provide a brief update on Pins Mechanical Co. While we fully trust and support the decisions of our local leaders, it’s our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our team members and guests, while not sacrificing the experience that makes Pins, Pins! With that in mind, none of our locations will be opening in May. There are many unknowns with COVID-19 and we hope that taking this extra time will help our guests and teammates feel better about the measures we’ve put in place to keep all of us safe. For example, on top of our already stringent cleaning procedures, we’re installing UV technology at all locations (ensuring you always have clean balls to play with). We’re looking forward to welcoming back our kick-ass team to train and adjust to this new normal. Once our people feel comfortable + confident, we’ll know it’s time to get rollin’ again! Thank you for your incredible support, online sales, photo shares + kind words over the last two months. Even when you couldn’t show up, you showed up and we’ll never forget it! We’re hopeful that everyone will be safe and smart as we begin to reopen the doors to the small businesses that make our communities so special. See you soon, Pinheads!

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Old North Arcade

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Dear friends, . As you are most likely aware, Governor DeWine has permitted the reopening of bars and restaurants for dine-in seating effective 5/21. We are very grateful that our leadership is now offering businesses the choice to do what they think is right. We offer no judgment for the bars and restaurants that are/have chosen to open. However, for our particular business, and for our staff, we still think it's too early. We are going to remain closed this week and next but do hope to open soon. Your understanding and patience is greatly appreciated and we cannot wait to see you all. It is important to us that we apply an extra layer of safety and precaution on top of the govermental recommendations. Tentatively, we are looking at the end of May to reopen in a very limited capacity but we're following local and national developments very closesly so will be quick to bail if things turn south. Your continued support has been quite humbling. Thank you. Stay healthy, support local, and be more than kind to one another. . Cautiously optimistic, . ONA Staff

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Watershed Kitchen + Bar

101 Beer kitchen

They are delaying opening dine-in service until May 26th.

Matt the Miller's Tavern

Stay tuned on social for patio and dine-in updates!

J. Gumbo's

J. Gumbo's will continue to stay open for online ordering for pick up and delivery - stay tuned for dine-in updates.

Mouton on High

The Whitney House

The Whitney House will be opening Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 11 am.

The Guild House

Stay tuned for opening dates!

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Stay safe everyone 💕

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Smoked On High

Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace

The Woodbury

The Woodbury will be opening its doors for dine-in service on June 1 2020.


Roosters are not opening dine-in until May 26th 2020.

The Eagle

The Eagle is temporarily closed - stay tuned on social for updates!

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In light of the government mandated closure of dine-in business for an indeterminable period of time, we’ve made the incredibly hard decision to temporarily close The Eagle Columbus. . Given the truly unprecedented and quickly evolving nature of this health crisis, we’ve been forced to make the best decisions we can, with the information we have. As the true scale of this crisis has been revealed, it’s become impossible to deny the impact this mandate will have on our business and team members. This decision was made as all of our decisions have been: with the health, happiness, well being and best interests of our guests and team members in mind. . The state of Thunderdome Restaurant Group is strong and we look forward to seeing and serving you all on the other side of this. Truth, courage, and be well.

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Lavash Cafe

Tiger + Lily

Tiger + Lily is sticking to carry out for the time being. Follow them on social for updates for dine-in!

Yats Grandview

Red Lobster

Red Lobster is continuing to stick to curbside pickup, delivery, or touchless pick-up.

Harvest Pizza

Bareburger Columbus

Bareburger is opening for dine-in on May 26th, 2020.


City Barbeque

Local Cantina - Creekside, Grandview, Dublin, Westerville, Hilliard Locations

Creekside Local Cantina is delaying opening indoor dining until May 26, 2020.

OH Pizza and Brew

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Don’t be that guy/gal who forces your favorite bar/restaurant to permanently close; here are the rules




Once the flood of COVID-related documentaries start to infiltrate our Netflix and Hulu feeds, one of the most debated topics will be which smoking gun the auteur chooses. NBA player Rudy Gobert recklessly rubbing his hands over every microphone during a press conference days before testing positive comes to mind first. The spring break bro who wouldn’t let the virus stop him from raging will make its rounds. Even the scene at Standard Hall made some people’s skin crawl.

The Ohio Investigative Unit will be doing its best to monitor situations at restaurants and bars in order to prevent any future anecdotes like the ones listed above. Local law enforcement agencies will be assisting the OIU to make sure that establishments are complying with the Dine Safe Ohio order. With the issues that were brought up following the opening of outside dining on May 15, the OIU has made specific stipulations for patrons to follow:

  • 6-foot social distancing between employees AND members of the public
  • patrons must be seated while eating and/or drinking 
  • no more than 10 people to a table
  • no billiards, video/arcade games, dancing, or card playing
  • patrons must follow specific guidelines put in place by restaurant/bar

For those who have no shame dancing by themselves in public, you’re golden. However, patrons can be written up for not following the OIU’s guidelines. 

Some people may be able to shoulder a citation, but bars and restaurants are the ones who have the most to lose here. In a press conference on May 18, Gov. Mike DeWine mentioned that OIU will issue citations that could result in the permanent loss of liquor licenses.

So once again the ball is in the consumer’s court: follow these very simple rules and avoid the risk of putting your favorite restaurants and bars out of business for good. In 2020, being spring break bro is the worst look.

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