If you wanted to stay on top of this year’s bar and restaurant openings, that would mean trying nearly eight new spots every month. Central Ohio is enjoying an ever-growing dining scene, running the gamut of tastes and experiences.
So, let’s begin with a (somewhat) alphabetical culinary journey to explore the areas of Central Ohio that racked up the most restaurant openings in 2022. (And certainly let us know what we might have missed in the comments below!)
Pickerington-based Combustion Brewery headed inside the loop for its second location, replacing Lineage Brewing. Destination Donuts made its much anticipated return with a standalone storefront. Two more sweet standalones made their debuts, with the addition of Tudie’s Cookies & Sweets and The Buckeye Lady. Clintonville is once again home to a cat cafe, as Kitty Bubble opened on the far north side of the neighborhood.
Two dining mainstays in Clintonville moved to new locations. Tee Jaye’s left its home of 30 years, heading south on High Street for a restaurant with a smaller footprint and a liquor license. Meanwhile, after 70 years, Gatto’s Pizza traded High for Indianola gaining a parking lot and dine-in seating.
While it’s got wheels, new coffee truck The Galaxy Coffee is frequently set up in front of Virtue Salon.
The big three – burgers, tacos and pizza – were all added to the Downtown dining scene. Alley Burger took over for Belly Burger in Lynn Alley. House Taco set up shop in the Statehouse. Long-standing family pizzeria Cafe Napolitana moved around the corner and rebranded to Aracri on Gay.
There’s coffee by day – pop-up Parable found a permanent home (in a spot that had a previous life as a coffee shop), while Way Down Yonder Beignets & Coffee brought some sweet treats and New Orleans style. And beer by night – Louisville-based Goodwood Brewing arrived in the Arena District.
Speaking of evening hours, Downtown’s nightlife scene saw a pair of new additions – The Cave Bar & Lounge (nestled under Sidebar and serving an abbreviated menu from its upstairs neighbor) and Noir Lounge.
The Downtown Hilton took the crown as the largest hotel in Ohio, and with it came some new dining options. Wood-fired cuisine is on the menu at FYR, joining appropriately-named lobby bar Spark. (Stay tuned for rooftop bar and restaurant Stories on High in 2023.) Also in hotel dining options, Bar Cicchetti took up residence in the Westin.
Columbus restaurant vets that came together during the pandemic opened workforce development focused Cafe Overlook on the 16th floor of the Franklin County Courthouse. (Cafe Overlook also took home the Emerging Social Enterprise of the Year Award from CU’s sister-site The Metropreneur.)
J’s Sweet Treats traded the South Side for Downtown, opening its second location inside the Convention Center. Oodles closed up shop, making way for Pita Grill.
Downtown proved to be a tough climate with two newcomers that closed after less than a year in business. Southern eatery LaSalle’s Kitchen & Bar closed after roughly 10 months, while sober bar The Dry Mill lasted for seven.
Finally, North Market gained and lost a new vendor in a six-month span with Saddleberk.
Bridge Park continued to add new dining options, racking up four new additions (plus some new North Market vendors). Kona Craft Kitchen + Bar brought an all-day addition, from coffee and pastries in the morning to drinks and dinner in the evening. Rise Brands forayed into food with Weenie Wonder, attached to Pins and 16-Bit. (Look out for the second location at Easton in ’23.) Song Lan recently opened in the former home of Hen Quarter offering a sizable sushi menu. Squeaking in the ’22 openings is Roosevelt Room, the drinks-only, Teddy Roosevelt-themed bar that will make its debut December 30.
North Market Bridge Park welcomed a taste of Cuba and a taste of the Hawaiian islands from two new vendors. Adding to the culinary scene were Pablo’s Havana Cafe and Hai Poké.
Across the bridge, bar-goers can disappear for awhile in Old Dublin’s Hoffa-themed Missing Jimmy’s.
There were a few Dublin-adjacent additions as well. Central Ohio welcomed a new chain thanks to Dave’s Hot Chicken. Robots will serve you ramen (and more) at Hiro Ramen and home-based bakery Mjomii made the leap to brick-and-mortar with its first shop.
Malls – Easton & Polaris
Easton added some locally-based eateries to its diverse dining options. Afra Grill opened its second location, while taco truck Dos Hermanos found a home for its first dine-in restaurant. Meanwhile, Another Broken Egg finally made its way to Columbus bringing a breakfast and brunch option to the shopping center.
Polaris staked claim on the first Columbus-area location of Austin-based Torchy’s Tacos. Shake Shack continued its march across the city, opening its third location near Polaris. (Number four is on deck in Dublin.) Also in the realm of thirds, Fukuryu Ramen now sports three restaurants across Central Ohio thanks to a Polaris addition. Finally, it was a short-lived run for Ashtyn’s Seafood House.
Old North & University District
An old school building found new life and some new dining destinations. Wolf’s Ridge expanded with a new concept, opening Understory Commons (food-focused) and Lounge (cocktail-focused) at Open Air. Breakfast/brunch/lunch eatery Emmett’s joined them, opening its second location.
Too’s walked so Fives could run, offering a new watering hole for OSU students.
The massive 15th & High development welcomed its first restaurants. Columbus got its first Roots Natural Kitchen and second build-your-own Barrio Tacos.
Further south in the District, sushi, hibachi and yogurt found an outlet in Yoshi.
Short North got a sports bar as Parlay Sporting Club + Kitchen opened up on The Cap. Asian meets Mediterranean influence and sweeping skyline views are the hallmark of the long-awaited rooftop bar and restaurant Mandrake. From rooftops to basements, Ginger Rabbit brought a jazz lounge to a basement nook on Buttles.
Destinations dedicated to dining trends arrived in the neighborhood. Extreme, over-the-top milkshakes can be found at The Yard Milkshake Bar. And Columbus got its first taste of Korean-style hot dogs at Myungrang Hot Dog.
Downtown’s Rio Fresh expanded with a second location. While Short North is chicken joint OX-B’s lucky number five. (It was six for a minute, but OX-B’s has since wrapped things up at its spot in Hebron.)
Half Baked Brew found itself a permanent home, and you never know what you might find to drink there. The neighborhood welcomed what would be the first of two Agave & Rye locations, serving up over-the-top tacos.
Just outside of Short North, Italian Village got caffeinated with a pair of coffee shop/bar combos. Westerville’s Java Central moved in with Zaftig, while developer Thrive Companies expanded into a new arena opening Bada Bean Bada Booze.
Inner Loop Neighborhoods
From north to south and east to west, neighborhoods in nearly every corner of Columbus saw some eating activity.
Let’s begin in the Brewery District, where Marvin’s made a mind-summer debut.
Cheers to pizza and beer! In Franklinton, the Mikey’s Late Night Slice truck found a permanent home at Land-Grant.
Agave & Rye tapped Grandview for the second location for its epic tacos, taking over Spagio’s former digs. Up the street (while technically Fifth by Northwest), Hot Chicken Takeover opened its sixth spot. Mr. Hummus Grill & Pizza expanded to its second location, which saw the addition of pizza on the menu. Over on First Avenue, Boston Stoker is keeping things caffeinated.
Sweet things are happening in the King-Lincoln District where Three Bites Bakery set up shop – it’s first brick-and-mortar.
Southern fare and bourbon/whiskey are on the menu at Linworth’s Subourbon (from the owners of Alqueria). There’s also a new spot for loaded hot dogs, specifically Junkyard Dogs. While not *technically* a bar, Aardvark Wine & Beer is ready to guide you to the right bottle of wine, adding to a growing stretch of Dublin Granville Road.
One of your favorite new bars opened in Merion Village with the addition of Rumours.
The long-awaited Ohio Brewing Company added to Central Ohio’s craft brewery scene with its massive Milo-Grogan restaurant and brewery.
There’s another permanent home for Mikey’s Late Night Slice, this time in Olde Towne East, replacing the pizza void left by Yellow Brick Pizza’s move to East Market.
Speaking of Yellow Brick Pizza, it was one of the first vendors to open inside the Trolley District’s East Market. The much-anticipated project is home to many culinary adventures, including initial opening vendors (in addition to YB) The Butcher & Grocer, American Nut Company, Creole 2 Geaux, Koso, Winston’s Coffee & Waffles and Taste of Greece & Moroccan Street Food, as well as Just Chicken and NOLA DAQ Shack which joined the party later in the year.
Chef Hiro made things permanent with its fusion menu and anime theme in a building that has a long restaurant history on the South Side. A&R Creative Group swapped the second location of The Crest for breakfast and lunch spot The Mercury Diner. Gluten-free bakery Bake Me Happy traded Merion Village for the South Side with a move to Whittier and Parsons.
Asheville-based Tupelo Honey brought a taste of the South to Upper Arlington.
Columbus got its first Wahlburgers inside the Casino on the West Side.
Worthington staked claim on two of the Best New Restaurants of 2022. Chef Avishar Barua branched out on his own, opening Bengali-American daytime cafe Joya’s (named after his mom). Just up the street, Worthington Tavern made its debut offering a classic neighborhood bar and restaurant. The neighborhood also gained a Mexican restaurant in the form of Chapala Mexican.
The Central Ohio suburbs saw their fair share of new dining additions, bringing new chains to the market and expansions of local brands, as well as brand new concepts.
Grandview’s High Bank Distillery headed to Gahanna for its second location. Marlow’s Cheesesteaks brought an authentic taste of Philly to the neighborhood in the former home of Arepazo. And Central Ohio got its first taste of the Peach Cobbler Factory, offering abundant options of the namesake dessert.
NYC-based Hummus & Pita Co. tapped Hilliard for its first Ohio location, offering a Mediterranean spin on build-your-own. A food truck found a permanent home and Center Street Market got its burger slinger as Hot Mess joined the lineup. The biergarten experience arrived in Old Hilliard with the addition of Hillgarten.
Pizza Cottage continued its expansion, opening location number nine in Grove City. As did Aladdin’s, opening its fifth area location in New Albany. Hot Chicken Takeover also hit its fifth (at the time), in Powell/Lewis Center.
As for one and onlys, Can’t Believe it’s Vegan opened up shop in Westerville, while Cove, A Seafood Joint made its Delaware debut in a space that has a long history of restaurant success.