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Food & Drink

Booze beyond the belt: 3 better bars in the boonies

614now Staff



That’s right—beyond the expensive rents of those corporately-owned developments in highly saturated areas.

Beyond the outer belt exists a bevy of bars upping the ‘burb alcohol ante.

Mudflats Bar and Grill popped up in the sleepy little town of Galena in 2006. It’s named for the muddy flats that appear along the shores of Hoover Reservoir in the late summer when Columbus is watering its lawns as though green grass is a cash crop.

Mudflats has changed owners since Jane and Jeff White first opened it (now the operators of Clintonville’s BLunch), but the commitment to good food hasn’t changed.

Current owner Martin Hynes doesn’t like the word “gastropub” and sees Mudflats as a restaurant with great food and a thoughtful selection of beer with an emphasis on local products. The menu changes periodically, and fresh local ingredients are used when they are in season.

This provides people out in the sticks with an experience not unlike something they’d enjoy in the Short North, except the parking is easier and the outdoor seating actually feels outdoorsy.


Ashley, Ohio is a tiny little town off of Route 42 just outside of Delaware. You’d expect domestic beers, and fried bologna sandwiches to be the headliners at Rusted Nail Tavern.

Miles Drake opened the place back in 2016 because he thought the area was going to grow, and a pub with good food and drinks would be in demand. There’s a lot of thought in the simple menu.

Craft beers are carefully considered, and there’s a nice selection of bourbon available for those who enjoy that sort of thing.

Rusted Nail serves as a utility player of sorts, offering live music and plenty of flat screens for sports, but it all seems to fit into place. So far, business is good, and travelers are always welcome.

Plain City used to be home to one of those dive bars where people would all stop and stare when a stranger walked in. Last year, long-time Plain City resident Jason Shumway changed that when he bought the old dive and breathed some new life into the old village with Tavern 161.

The bar opens at 3pm each day, with the kitchen cranking out Southern style food courtesy of Sweet T’s by 4pm.

Live music is a big deal here and so is a fun, laid back atmosphere. People in Plain City wanted a nice local bar they could be proud of, and Jason Shumway brought it all together.

This is a bar you’d be happy to see on Fourth Street, but it’s on Route 161 outside of Dublin. You should be jealous.

These places aren’t just sitting on their hands waiting for people who live downtown to find them, they’re making bank right there in those allegedly unhip towns.

Just because people live in the boonies doesn’t mean they don’t have taste, and now we’re starting to see some bold restaurateurs build businesses around it.

By  / (614) June, 2018

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Food & Drink

We Sheet you not, Sheetz is coming to Columbus

Mike Thomas



Regional gas station chains seem to accumulate cult followings of loyal customers. While word of a new convenience store coming to town may not seem like a big deal at first, just ask your friends from Pennsylvania about Sheetz.

The popular chain of convenience stores and coffee shops headquartered in Altoona, Pennsylvania has announced an expansion into the Columbus market with this remarkable hype video posted to Facebook:

Sheetz locations offer fresh, made-to-order food options that set the chain apart from the usual gas station fare.

No open date for the Central Ohio location has been announced at this time. For more, visit

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Food & Drink

Raising the Steaks: Ruth’s Chris returns to Columbus with new Short North digs




With no shortage of local competitors welcoming carnivores, Ruth’s Chris Steak House has opened its doors in the Short North. After shuttering its Crosswoods location in 2016 due to “market changes,” the Florida-based steakhouse is back in the Bus.

The new restaurant promises a fine-dining experience tailored especially to the Columbus market and its location.

Photos: Rebecca Tien

“Knowing that we are across from the convention center, this is one of our bigger locations to allow room for a larger bar, private dining rooms and main dining room,” says Maria Policastro, general manager of Ruth’s Chris Columbus. “We kept the Short North Arts District culture in mind during every step of the design process as well, making sure we included elements that incorporated the downtown skyline and ever-present Ohio buckeye trees.”

Indeed, the entrance feels homey and features local art on display to bring some “Columbus” to the space. The building was once home to a hotel, and while undeniably formal, the dinner-only restaurant nevertheless offers a warm and welcoming feel. The waitstaff has its service down to an absolute science. Hand-polished wine glasses top each table and every element of the dining experience is expertly attended to.

Regardless of whether diners care to indulge in one of its more than 250 wines or a vintage-inspired craft cocktail, the main event here is the food. Its extra-thick-cut, wet-aged USDA prime steaks are broiled in a trademark 1800-degree oven and served sizzling on a 500-degree plate so every last bite stays warm.

“From our food to our service, Ruth’s Chris really stands out on its own,” said Policastro. “Ruth believed in treating her guests and employees as family, so that’s how we treat them too—by being warm and welcoming and paying attention to every little detail.”

Ruth Fertel mortgaged her home in 1965 and purchased Chris’s Steak House, a 60-seat restaurant located in New Orleans. After a fire forced her to move locations and rename the restaurant, she settled on Ruth’s Chris Steak House, hence the somewhat strange moniker.

Fertel, who died in 2002 at 75, would likely be shocked to see the size of the private dining rooms in the Columbus restaurant that bears her name. “Our private dining rooms are some of the largest at any Ruth’s Chris,” says Policastro. “When designing our private dining rooms, it was important to us that we made enough space to accommodate our customers in this busy area, along with larger parties who choose to dine with us after visiting the Convention Center or coming from the Ohio State University nearby.”

The private dining rooms each have their own unique Columbus vibe, with names like the Goodale, Victorian and Buckeye Rooms. Which is fitting because, “we’re around the corner from Columbus’ historic Goodale Park, we’re part of the Victorian Village, and we are in the heart of Buckeye nation,” Policastro said. Ruth’s Chris Steak House Columbus is already seeing its private rooms booking up for upcoming events and holidays. “We cannot wait to host these special moments for those who live in and visit the Short North Arts District.”

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse is located at 511 N High Street. Learn more at

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Food & Drink

Easton’s “dramatic” rooftop bar and restaurant opens this week

614now Staff



Heads up, Easton, a snazzy new concept is opening this week. Restoration Hardware, or RH, will open The Gallery at Easton Town Center and RH Rooftop Restaurant & Park and Wine & Barista Bar on Thursday, December 12, at 11am.

According to a release, The Gallery "represents the brand’s quest to revolutionize physical retailing," with "immersive experience features artistic installations of luxury home furnishings in a gallery setting."

The three-story, 55,000-square-foot space will serve as "one of the most comprehensive collections of luxury home furnishings in the world."

The "dramatic" Rooftop Restaurant will offer "a year-round, skylit garden escape offering a timeless, ingredient-driven menu beneath a soaring atrium with retractable glass walls, and sparkling crystal chandeliers.

The restaurant will open onto a landscaped park with outdoor lounge spaces and trellised London plane trees.

Situated just off the grand stair, the Wine & Barista Bar will serve craft espresso, fresh-baked pastries, and artisanal wines to enjoy in the Rooftop Park.

This development will act as the anchor for Easton's new $500 million expansion.

RH Columbus, The Gallery at Easton Town Center is located at 4120 Worth Ave., Columbus. For more information, visit

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