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Restaurant Roundup: What’s new in the Columbus food and drink scene

Restaurant Roundup: What’s new in the Columbus food and drink scene

Jack McLaughlin

Jackie O’s opens in Columbus

Mystic Mama. Dark Apparition. Firefly Amber Ale: these are a few of my favorite things. And after years of patiently waiting, they’re all finally coming to Columbus.

Today marks the opening of the Athens-based brewery’s first Columbus location, as they recently took over the downtown space at 165 N. 4th St. that was formerly occupied by Elevator Brewing Co. 

Jackie O’s currently only plans to run curbside pickup services from the new location until COVID-19 spread decreases, but you can order online and pick up beer from the spot between 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. They will be closed Thanksgiving Day.

As a beer nerd of the highest order, I consider Jackie O’s to be one of the best breweries not only in the state of Ohio, but the country itself. Trust me on this one: if you’re a beer fan, you’re in luck.


Cabanas in Barcelona 

While this headline might sound conjure up the image of an oceanside chateau complete with a sunset view of the Balearic Sea, it’s actually a whole lot closer than that. And much more practical as well.

Two weeks ago, the long-standing German VIllage eatery Barcelona launched an interesting experiment in restaurant seating that will likely see many following in their footsteps: heated outdoor “cabana” seating. 

“This summer I knew we were going to be facing reduced capacity for a  while, so I knew I had to find a way to extend outdoor dining,” said Barcelona owner Scott Heimlich.

The heated and fully enclosed spaces are, according to Heimlich, actually miniature greenhouses complete with their own heaters. Once set up, the clear plastic edifices offer warmth and shelter from the elements with uninhibited visibility. They also solve an important problem facing Columbus restaurants today: how to potentially provide year-long outdoor seating.

With COVID-19 restrictions mounting, local businesses have relied on outdoor seating during the warmer months to provide a safer, yet still-comfortable dining environment. With winter cold right around the corner, the need for outside spaces that can keep diners warm and dry has skyrocketed.

“The response for them has been good too,” Heimlich said. “It gives customers a chance to be outside, but it protects them from the elements. We expect to use them all winter long. It won’t be tropical, but each cabanas has its own heater, and we find people are also generally dressed better for colder weather now, which helps.”

The cabanas are free to rent, but Barcelona requires a reservation to secure one.

Igloos in Dublin

Thankfully for Columbus-area diners, there are a handful of different–yet equally inventive– outdoor seating options to choose from if you’re wanting to remain outside but still protect yourself from cold and inclement weather.

Now at VASO–the 8th floor rooftop lounge atop the AC Marriott Hotel in Dublin–you can dine inside what the restaurant is referring to as “igloos”. 

The glass domes, also perched atop the Marriott roof, are each intricately made up out of a tessellation of triangular glass panes and featured color lighting throughout, allowing for a truly unique and indulgent dining experience.

Each igloo can seat up to eight diners, and don’t worry about getting cold, as the spaces are temperature-controlled and guests are provided with blankets.

And true to their design, safety and cleanliness are priorities; after each party uses an igloo, the VASO staff sanitizes with electrostatic disinfectant.

There is a two-hour minimum to book the igloo, which runs $300 for two hours Sunday-Thursday, and $500 for two hours on Friday and Saturday. All food and beverage that is ordered during your igloo dining experience will count towards this minimum, meaning that there is no separate rental charge. So, grab some friends and make a reservation for some truly delicious food in a truly unique environment.

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