Although Uptown 51 Kitchen + Bar held a soft opening in December to offer to-go orders, the outfit was awaiting a liquor license to really get going, according to co-owner Adam Yoho.
Now that they’ve received it, the restaurant officially opened about two weeks ago for dine-in service, said Yoho, who co-owns the space with Derrick Hodge. They’re planning a grand opening celebration mid-month.
Yoho said he’s enjoyed the intimacy the 51 E Gay St. space affords his guests—he said it almost feels like having guests in his home.
“It’s been nice to have that interaction with our guests,” Yoho said.
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The space was most recently Cafe Phoenix, and Yoho said that the eatery was dedicated to their lunch crowd. But since downtown during the pandemic doesn’t offer a great deal of lunch business, Yoho said they decided to move to a more flexible model and adjusted their menu to be more conducive to dinner.
“We’re really not tied to any specific cuisine,” he said.
The menu features veggie-centric dishes, as well as meat, poultry, charcuterie, and seafood. Yoho said the larger plates work well for sharing. Since officially opening for dine-in service, customers have been reaching out to make reservations, and the outfit has received a fair amount of walk-in business.
“When I see people in their seats dancing, it’s a pretty good sign they’re enjoying themselves,” he said.