We’ve lived in Columbus since 2002, and it’s been exciting to see the growth of dining downtown. The scene still has a long ways to go, for sure – the balance of dining options is still tipped toward weekday-only breakfast and lunch options, but slowly we’re seeing more creative eats and the development of smaller districts: Gay Street, North Fourth and Main, South High Street.
What’s going to turn the neighborhood around is restaurateurs and other business owners taking a chance on the area. It becomes a chicken/egg scenario: diners need restaurants to visit, but restaurants need diners willing to come downtown.
In my mind, one big step for the city was Veritas – often rated as one of the region’s top restaurants – willing to move from Delaware to downtown Columbus. We had a positively delightful experience there five years back (read about it here), but it’s time to make note about the new digs.
Veritas has made its new home in the old Citizens bank building at the southwest corner of Gay and High Streets. The upper levels are apartments, but street level is dedicated to the restaurant and bar. Entrances are off Gay and High; the eatery features old formica floors, collections of smaller tables scattered throughout.
You can also see the glass-walled kitchen from outside. If you want to witness chef and owner Josh Dalton and his crew at work, you get a full view of their workings and all their gadgets.
We’ve visited Veritas’ new location for drinks and small plates at the bar, the full chef’s tasting menu, and drinks at The Citizens Trust upstairs.
It’s important to note that their menus rotate frequently. At times they’ve only featured tasting menus, while at other times they offer small plates, too. Keep an eye on their website for the latest offerings, but be prepared to trust the kitchen with their creations.
Our first visit downtown had us sitting at the restaurant counter enjoying a couple cocktails. At that time the menu included two of their greatest hits: the mushroom toast and this, the bacon risotto, which gets the nod for probably one of the best bites I’ve had in Columbus.
The chef’s tasting menu doesn’t list individual items online, of course, because the offerings rotate every evening. Beth and I celebrated the tasting menu this spring for our 40th birthdays. I’m not even going to list everything we had, but each course was calculated and composed, thoughtfully constructed into both familiar and surprising flavors. We enjoyed a couple cocktails with dinner, but you can also select wine pairings to go with the meal.
(Bonus: our server at the time was Luke Pierce. He and his wife Annie are in the process of opening their own cocktail and wine bar, Law Bird, in German Village.)
The courses keep coming, building through savory notes and finishing with sweet surprises.
Make sure you build a little time to explore the restaurant space. Walls are lined with old photographs, plus bank notes and other documents from the building’s previous life.
The first time we visited Veritas, to sit at the bar and enjoy small plates, we learned about their upstairs bar. It was brand new at the time, and our bartender suggested we go upstairs for a drink.
I remember climbing the narrow staircase and discovering The Citizens Trust in the old bank lobby, complete with vaulted ceilings and short, partitioned walls. I don’t mean to sell my city short, but I was frankly surprised we had something like this in Columbus.
It was a delightful discovery, to see an old building downtown put to new use, to see the bank vault behind the bar lined with spirits, to see the experienced crew behind the bar crafting unique cocktails.
We’ve been back many times since, sometimes sitting at the bar, sometimes grabbing one of the impossibly large circular tables to sit with friends.
Much like Veritas, The Citizens Trust invites you to trust the culinary team, to rely on their suggestions and seasonal menus to help you discover something you like.
We’ve been incredibly pleased with our experiences at both, and are happy to see them play a role in the continued growth of downtown.