Chapman’s Owners Open Hiraeth in the Short North

September 13, 2023

Last month the owners of Chapman’s Eat Market and Ginger Rabbit Jazz Lounge – two very different eateries that have earned recognition in a short span of time – opened a third venture! Hiraeth (pronounced like “HEE-rithe”) draws its name from the Welsh term meaning a sense of longing for home or a sense of homecoming, even to a place you’ve never been before.

Pretty appropriate for a restaurant built around a custom, 10-foot Grills By Demant hearth.

Hiraeth is a two-story eatery in a new build at Lincoln Street and Pearl Alley in the Short North. It’s attached to a parking garage, across the street from the iconic Mona Lisa mural.

A quick note about Hiraeth’s four seating areas and how they work. The restaurant features a small street level presence, while the main dining room and kitchen are downstairs.

  • Upstairs bar seats: first come, first served (like Chapman’s bar)
  • Upstairs dining room: reservations required
  • Downstairs bar: off the main dining room, reservations required
  • Downstairs dining room: reservations required, features tables seating 2-6 and the chef’s counter

You’re given the option to choose when you make reservations, and prior to our visit we didn’t fully understand the layout of the restaurant. All that was available was downstairs bar seats, and as we were some of the first to arrive, we were seated in a far corner away from all the action. The bar felt a little dank and dark, and smelled a bit like a basement that had just been cleaned.

That said, the service at the bar was quick, friendly, and attentive, and as the space filled up it felt more convivial. The two bartenders offered helpful suggestions on drinks and dishes to try.

Hiraeth’s menu is grouped as Mezze/Small Plates, Stuff on a Stick, Large Plates, and Sides. We stuck mainly to the small plates, stuff on a stick, and sides for this outing. (Be aware, too, that Hiraeth is rotating their menu, so a couple things here have disappeared. Check out their latest menus here.)

First up was the naan and dips. It’s a nicely seasoned, crispy piece of naan served with a trio of rotating dips, like hummus, baba ganoush, spicy feta, smoked fish, etc. It was a great start. Chef and owner BJ Lieberman told me later he hopes to make this the standard bread service for Hiraeth.

Next up were a couple skewers. The glazed chicken was nicely seasoned and pleasantly charred.

We were also sent street corn (aka elote) on skewers, and this was marvelously done. Great seasoning, tender corn. (But I think this may have dropped off the menu.)

Then we worked through a parade of small plates and sides. Front and center was the longanisa, a house-made version of a Filipino sausage served over garlic fried rice, fermented tomato, and crab sauce. This was one of our favorite dishes of the meal, very flavorful and expertly grilled.

Throughout the meal we sampled a couple different cocktails. The house cocktail menu didn’t quite pique our interest, so we went with more of the classics, like an Aperol spritz

…or a rye Manhattan. Both done very well. The bar team certainly knows what they’re doing.

Next up was the stuffed eggplant. It’s halved, roasted, and loaded with feta, tomato, squash, and potato. It’s a simply gorgeous dish, so colorful and artfully assembled, although for our taste it was a little under-seasoned.

Same with the Carolina Gold garlic rice and the charred green beans with giardiniera (pictured with the group above). Both wonderfully put together but a little under-seasoned.

Our server recommended looking over the dessert menu, and we chose a rich, chocolatey semifreddo with blackberries.

Armed with more knowledge about the various rooms and levels, we know next time we’ll reserve seats at the chef’s table, or at least in the main downstairs dining room. I think that will make us feel a little more part of the action. And it’s always engaging to watch the kitchen at work, especially in a restaurant like this.

Next time, too, we’re curious to branch out to try some of the pastas or large cuts. Maybe we’ll find some more favorites there!

Hiraeth is currently open Wednesday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m.

Reservations for each month open up on the first day of the month prior. (i.e. November reservations open up on October 1.)

36 E. Lincoln St.
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 824-4516

IG: @hiraeth_614

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I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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