Owner of popular Short North restaurant, champion of local business, passes away

Jack McLaughlin

A prominent figure in the Short North dining and cultural scene has died.

John Allen, who had served as the owner of Short North Tavern since 1980, passed away on July 4.

More than just a restaurant owner, Allen was also considered a champion of local business. After his death, many took to social media to share Allen’s impact in the Short North and Columbus as a whole.

John Allen, Photo via Short North Tavern

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“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of John Allen’s passing. John was a respected and beloved member of our community and business owner,” Deb Roberts of the Short North Alliance posted on her Facebook. “His dedication to making the Short North Tavern and the Short North Arts District a place for everyone to enjoy is truly admirable. He will be deeply missed.”

Additionally, the Short North toy store Big Fun recalled Allen’s impact not only on the store itself, but Short North culture.

“He was responsible for many of the district’s improvements–more streetlights , more trees, repaired sidewalks, etc.

John saw the potential in the area. He helped get businesses on the Cap, over the highway (effectively camouflaging that it is a highway bridge).

He was a business mentor to many folks, including me.

He was a good mentor, a good friend, & the best landlord in the district. I’m grateful our paths crossed,” Big Fun posted. You can read Big Fun’s entire statement on Allen’s death, which also touched on his contributions to the Doo Dah Parade, on the store’s Facebook page.

A public remembrance of Allen will be held at the Gazebo in Goodale Park on July 14 at 3:30 p.m.

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