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Wolf’s Ridge Brewing reopens indoor dining

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing reopens indoor dining

Nicholas Youngblood

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing will open its brewpub to indoor dining this Thursday, Oct. 15, for the first time since June. Thursday will also mark the rollout of its fall menu, offering cozy seasonal meals just in time for the changing leaves and cooler weather.

“It’s one of those things that we’ve missed,” said Bob Szuter, co-founder of Wolf’s Ridge. “We’ve consistently been ranked among the top restaurants in the city, and we want to bring some of that excitement back.”

The impressively involved fall menu features some old favorites as well as new dishes, including a duck breast with maple leaf, sour cherry gastrique, parsnip and cashew puree, fava beans, cashews, pea tendrils, and foie gras mousse. Yes, that is all one dish. Endive salads, pork bellies, halibuts, and pumpkin tarts get a similar treatment.

“We’re seven years old now, kind of going back through some of the greatest hits, if you will, and then also just focusing on some new energy, and looking forward to something that we can control right now, which is creating a really fun and exciting dining experience,” Szuter said.

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Despite such a decadent menu, Szuter said reopening at all was a tough decision to make. Wolf’s Ridge briefly opened indoor dining in June, but closed shortly thereafter due to staff concerns about safety. Since then, a statewide mask mandate, stabilizing COVID-19 infection rates in Franklin County, and greater awareness of health precautions have made Szuter more comfortable inviting guests back to the pub.

Wolf’s Ridge was able to open patio space for up to 88 guests in September, thanks to a temporary outdoor dining program from the city government, but the ordinance expires at the end of the month, and weather will soon make patio dining unviable anyway. After adjusting for safe dining under COVID-19 regulations, Szuter said the brewpub should be able to fit about 54 diners inside.

Although the outdoor dining program was helpful, Szuter said the business has been struggling and government response has been lackluster. The restaurant was 75% of the business prior to the pandemic, and increased beer sales through home delivery and wholesale only go so far.

“I think that people need to know how bad it is,” said Szuter. “I do want to stress the importance that a lot of small and independent restaurants are hurting.”

Szuter said the best thing Columbus residents can do (aside from ordering a meal at Wolf’s Ridge) is continue to support local businesses and vote for legislators who will support the community.

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing will be open for indoor dining beginning Oct. 15. Hours are Thursday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., as well as 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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