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Fantastic Fours: Barrel on High getting divey rebrand

614now

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If Thr3es didn’t fill the void in your heart left when Toos was demolished, maybe Fours will be the ticket. After almost five years of owning and operating Barrel on High in the Short North, Scott Ellsworth will be rebranding the bar as a “divier” version of the whiskey, bourbon, and spirits hangout.

Ellsworth and his team will knock out walls, add another bar, and host live entertainment at the 1120 N. High St. establishment and reopening as Fours On High.

“We had been looking on campus for a space for Fours, because campus is our safe place,” said Ellsworth. “We started noticing how many students were coming down to Paulie Gees, Food Hall, Standard, Bristol, Bodega, Oddfellows and other spots in our now bustling neighborhood, where we once felt like we were on an island by ourselves. We were spending all this time looking for a place on High St. and here it was slapping me in the face.”

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The staff will remain the same, including chef Chris East who will “come up with another killer menu,” promises Ellsworth.

“We are all excited to be staying in the Short North and having our busses bring college kids to a part of town some may not have been yet,” said Ellsworth. “Looking forward to you loving Fours On High!”

Barrel’s last day will be June 15 with renovations beginning June 16. The hope is to reopen as Fours by the middle to end of July.

Scroll down for a Q&A with Ellsworth by TJ Neer from our sister publication 1870 Magazine.

First and foremost: Is there any end to the numbered bars that you can think of? What if we get to Ten’s on High? Would you stop at 69’s? I hope you’d stop at 69, that’d be a reallynice number to stop on.

SE: I obviously hope the numbers keep going on long after I’m dead and gone and my grand kids are opening 69’s. But I’d have also been just as happy if I had just Toos til the day I died and they ran that. Obviously that wasn’t in the cards so I had to adjust. On the positive side I’ve gotten to hire so many more awesome people because our brand is growing. Some haven’t lasted as long as others, but every single person in my staff, past and present always hold a spot in my heart and are always welcome home, because that’s what our brand is about…Family! 

Seriously though, we’ve seen a ton of success in the past from Too’s and now we’re seeing Three’s as one of campus’ most loved places. Do you anticipate the same level of love and loyalty with Fours?

I absolutely think so and that’s why we decided to redo Barrel to more of our brand that has done us so well in the past 12 years on high street. You have to believe in it to be successful. People love us because we’re real. My bars don’t have employee manuals, training books or shit like that. You’re hired based on your authenticity. We don’t want to turn you into a robot. We want you for being you and I think we all can see it’s working. People like to overthink shit and I’m glad they do. If a white trash kid from Parma can become successful by simply using basic common sense, anyone can do it. You just have to believe in yourself that much more than the person next to you.

What kind of environment can patrons expect at Four’s? Will it be virtually the same as Barrel? Will it be more like Three’s? Having just won 1870’s best campus bar for 2019, we know you know how to make a bar environment pop, we just want to know what to expect when we pull up to Four’s for the first time.

We’ve slowly been changing barrel over time and now we decided to finally rip the bandaid off and go all in. Our goal is to make it like what we know, Toos and Thr3es. You’ll definitely feel our brand when you roll in. You’ll even see jon white playing there some nights, which will in turn add some new faces to Thr3es love music thing. The thing I’m most proud of is my partners that I’m bringing along with me. My chef (Chris East) that I’ve had since day one at Barrel. My two Toos door guys (Andrew Savage and Sam McNaughten) turned bartenders will also be partners, along with my partners at Thr3es, Jon white and Aaron Thompson. I take pride in loyalty and I’m not afraid to share the experience of ownership with those that have been by my side. I’m sure 5s, 6s and 7s will be filled will staff who don’t even realize they’ll be owners one day. Empowering kids to see more in themselves than they ever saw and giving them confidence to do non traditional shit is worth more than any number in my bank account. 

I recently turned 21, so this is actually the most important question: What date can I expect Four’s to open up? (Also will there be Tidal Waves at Four’s?)

We’re closing barrel on June 15th and we’ll be in there on the 16th ripping shit apart. We’re hoping to have the major stuff done within a month and be back open taking your money by mid July. 

We’ve noticed, especially over the past few years, that lots of students are venturing further into the Short North to go to bars (Food Hall, Standard Hall) as opposed to sticking close to campus. Do you think Four’s is trying to capitalize on the growing number of students venturing to the Short North, or is it aimed at a different audience entirely (maybe YoPros instead of engineering students?).

I don’t think, I know we’re capitalizing on it. We’ve been looking over the past year for a bar to put Fours on campus and we realized that we already have one just a few blocks south of it. We just need to rehab it inside and rename it so it’s easier to cross promote with thr3es. We noticed how much the Thr3es bus was venturing to Barrels hood, so this is a no brainer. As far as customers, we play that just like Toos and Thr3es, we don’t give a shit who you are, you’re welcome with open arms into our bars. We have some loyal regulars at Barrel and I don’t see us losing them. Our brand is less about aesthetics and more about the staff, owners and musicians in it that make everyone feel like family when they come through the door. Yes tidal waves will be at Fours, but we’ll also keep Barrels beloved shot wheel. We did a lot of great things at Barrel and we’re very proud of that fact. We just decided Fours made the most sense, plus it’s literally on high and fourth. 

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Food & Drink

Game of Cones: New ice cream contender coming to Short North

Mike Thomas

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It seems a new challenger is emerging in the race to claim the Columbus ice cream crown.

CRMD, a new ice cream spot opening soon at 1190 N. High St. in the Short North, is being teased for a “summer 2019” launch on the company’s website.

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The same site shows the brand’s flavor offerings, which will include matcha, Viet coffee, and cereal + milk. Upon opening, CRMD will also be slinging puffles – a spherical egg-based waffle cone popular in Hong Kong and Macau.

For more information and a full list of flavors, visit www.getcrmd.com.

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Biz + Dev

Update: Cajun food fans disappointed by Ned’s Bayou development

Mike Thomas

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UPDATE: While concrete information regarding the mysterious Ned’s Bayou is still unavailable, signs seem to indicate that the retail space will serve as a popup store for Twenty One Pilots merchandise when the duo comes to town for a double-header at Nationwide Arena on June 29 & 30.

Exhibit A: searching “Ned’s Bayou” on the Ohio Secretary of State’s online database shows an address on Worthington Galena Rd. for the business’ registered owner. The members of Twenty One Pilots are themselves former Worthington residents.

While this in and of itself says little, the group’s de facto mascot (seen here in the music video for the song “Chlorine”) happens to be named Ned.

Mere coincidence? I guess we’ll find out by the end of the month. For now, it seems fans of cajun food might have to look elsewhere to get their fix!

***

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A brand new awning sporting the words “Ned’s Bayou” has appeared over the former Blick’s Art Supplies location at 612 N High St in the Short North.

While initial searches have turned up little information about this forthcoming business, we can only assume that this will one day be the sight of a Louisiana-inspired restaurant of some sort.

Then again, the word “Bayou” carries other connotations. Maybe this will be the Short North’s first-ever spot for gator rasslin’. Only time will tell!

614NOW will keep an eye peeled for more info on this business as it becomes available.

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Food & Drink

614NOW Fried Chicken Trail: Uncle Nick’s Greek Fried Chicken

Mike Thomas

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First came the 614NOW Donut Trail. Then, there was the Mac & Cheese Trail. Now, 614NOW is on the hunt for the best fried chicken this city has to offer. Welcome to the 614NOW Fried Chicken Trail!

Uncle Nick’s Greek Fried Chicken

1333 Northwest Blvd

This unpretentious Grandview-area joint is serving up the same fried chicken that made its first location in Warren Ohio a hit since its opening in 1956.

It’s no surprise that the central Ohio Nick’s location is slinging classic fried chicken worthy of its old-school pedigree. Nick’s Greek is exactly what many people long for when they think “fried chicken” – pressure-fried bird that is crispy on the outside and delectably juicy inside.

Be warned – this chicken is so good, you will be locked in that hopeless balancing act of trying to take bites without burning the inside of your mouth.

The crust on Uncle Nick’s chicken is so crispy, it seems like it would never go soft even if you left it in a closed container for an hour. This also means that the juices inside the meat have nowhere to hide, and are perfectly preserved within.

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Fried chicken places are notoriously tight with their secret recipes, but if I had to guess, I’d say that much this chicken’s seasoning comes care of a generous brining. As a result, the meat is salty and mild, allowing the natural flavors of the chicken to shine. Notably, a motto hanging on the wall of the place states, “If the Colonel had our recipe, he’d be a general.” I find no fault in this statement.

Was there just grease on the lens, or was this chicken actually glowing?

Uncle Nick’s is the kind of spot you’ll want to take a friend who has never experienced “real deal” fried chicken. While I preferred the dark meat (owner/operator Andrew Cleary was kind enough to hook me up with a half-bird’s worth of pieces) all of it was head-and-shoulders above any fast-food chains in terms of texture and flavor.

Ratings:
Aroma:🍗🍗🍗🍗 (4/5 drumsticks)
Flavor: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)
Seasoning: 🍗🍗🍗🍗 (4/5)
Crispiness: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)
Overall Experience: 🍗🍗🍗🍗🍗 (5/5)

Uncle Nick’s Fried Chicken scores a hearty 23/25 on our rating scale. Get out there and see for yourself why this spot is a favorite catering option for the Ohio State Buckeyes Football squad!

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