Columbus restaurant owner closing two storefronts, warns of “closure tsunami” coming for downtown eateries

Jack McLaughlin

Columbus Restaurateur Tom Dailey announced that he and business partner Sung Jin will close two locations of Zoup! on or before Jan. 27, and Dailey also believes more than a few downtown restaurants will likely end up shuttered in the near future.

Daily, who is a franchisee of multiple Zoup! locations in the Columbus area, announced that that chain’s storefronts at 41 S. High St. on Capitol Square and 4971 Tuttle Crossing Blvd. near the Mall at Tuttle Crossing, will both close by Jan. 27 at the latest.

“Zoup Capitol Square has been greatly affected by the expansion of work-from-home and hybrid employment practices and three years of pandemic-related impact,” Daley said in a statement about the closures.

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He added the Tuttle Crossing location of Zoup! Has been impacted by similar challenges, in addition to an ongoing shortage of consumer traffic. He said that both businesses were also affected by years of staffing, supplier and inventory issues stemming from COVID-19.

Dailey doesn’t believe the woes will end anytime soon for Downtown Columbus restaurants. 

In a reaction to the Tim Horton’s closing on the corner of Broad Street and High Street Downtown, Dailey warned that a “closure tsunami” could be coming soon for Downtown restaurants. 

“Costs and labor are skyrocketing, empty buildings, lack of customers and business catering, unable to staff. We survived three years of  COVID (barely) but can’t survive this..downtown restaurant closures are just getting started,” he said in a statement

Downtown has recenly seen a flurry of closures, including The Dry Mill, LaSalle’s Kitchen & Bar, Lola’s Kitchen + Bar (although this was replaced by a new concept from the same owners), and Tim Horton’s. Not long before this, Nosh on High closed its doors as well. The Dry Mill and LaSalle’s Kitchen + Bar both lasted less than a full year.

Others downtown restaurant owners, like longtime Columbus pizzeria owner Palma Aracri, have doubled down on Downtown Columbus recently. Aracri, who recently closed his campus area location, but kept his downtown pizzeria, Araci on Gay, pounded the table for the area in an interview for (614) Magazine last year. He opened Aracri on Gay just over one year ago, and has operated a Downtown Columbus restaurant in some capacity for more than 30 years

While there have been closures, there is also an influx of new concepts on the way for Downtown. Popular spots like Bar Cichetti launched Downtown just last summer, and new downtown bar Fomo Lounge recently opened its doors as well. In addition, Esco Restaurant & Tapas, which was founded by rapper 2 Chainz, plus new home of Speck Italian Eatery and Jackie O’s massive new Fourth Street taproom are all slated to open in the next several months in Downtown Columbus.

Where do you think Downtown Columbus is heading?

Want to read more? Check out our print publication, (614) Magazine. Learn where you can find a free copy of our new January issue here!

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