Whew! 2023 was another BUSY year in Columbus restaurants. I have to use literal spreadsheets to keep track of everything that’s opening. It’s hard to whittle things down, but here are highlights of 30+ restaurants that opened in Columbus.
You can also check out 20 Re-Openings, Expansions, and Moves in 2023 and 18 Restaurant Openings We’re Anticipating in 2024!
Aaron Clouse’s Pastry Program at Parable Cafe
As if Parable Coffee couldn’t get any better, this spring chef Aaron Clouse created a pastry program that ranks as one of the city’s best. Read Pastry Chef Aaron Clouse Gives You New Reasons to Visit Parable Coffee.
South End Cafe
The Community Development for All People opened this cafe and coffee shop in the neighborhood, offering a new spot for studying or meeting, enjoying coffee and pastries. Check out South End Cafe Opens on Parsons Avenue.
Chef Avishar Barua Opens Agni
One of the most notable restaurant openings of 2023 was chef Avishar Barua’s Agni, taking over the former Ambrose & Eve space on South High Street. He brought his signature creativity to a multi-course tasting menu. Read more: Chef Avishar Barua Opens His Much-Anticipated Live Fire Restaurant Agni.
CoLo Butcher & Deli
Coastal Local Seafood, which operated at North Market Bridge Park, underwent a name change to CoLo, and this year they took over seafood and butcher duties at the downtown market. Toward the end of the year they even added a sandwich counter serving burgers and fries.
Jackie O’s Brewery
The big brewing news this year was the opening of Jackie O’s full taproom downtown. They had been selling bottles from the former Elevator Brewing site, but this year they completed a massive renovation into a two-story taproom. Check Out Jackie O’s Massive New Downtown Taproom and Patios.
Lupita’s Mexican Cuisine & Bar
After Geordie’s Restaurant closed a couple years ago, Lupita’s brought excellent Mexican cuisine to the long-time Merion Village storefront.
One of the largest additions downtown was The Kee in the Warehouse District. The owners renovated a massive former public health records building into an All-in-One Stop for Food, Drinks, Coffee, Art, Games, and Events.
Winn Winn Cafe
The Winn Winn Cafe opened in June, offering coffee, cookies, sandwiches, and other meals to-go in the Fifth By Northwest neighborhood.
Central Ohio’s food hall offerings keep growing, and in early April the Bubbly Hall joined New Albany with vendors like Just Chicken, Hoyo’s Kitchen, and Seoul Food on the Go. Read more at Bubbly Hall Food Hall Opens in New Albany.
Masa Mexican Grill
Speaking of market halls, the East Market rotated a few vendors this year, including the addition of Masa Mexican Grill with hand-made tortillas, fresh salsas, tacos, and more.
Stories on High
After the stunning debut of Fyr on the ground floor of the new Hilton Tower, the hotel opened its 28th-story eatery Stories on High. It offers excellent food and drink paired with unmatched views. Read about Cocktails, Sushi, and Small Plates at Columbus’ Highest Rooftop Bar.
Cameron Mitchell’s Cento and Valentina’s
It’s been another big year for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants! After opening the Northern Italian-inspired Valentina’s a Bridge Park in the spring, the restaurateur opened his 100th restaurant, appropriately named Cento, in the former G. Michael’s space in German Village.
Columbus Brewing Company Beer Hall
After Sidewipe Brewing wrapped up its successful nine-year run, Thunderwing Brewing quickly took over its taproom, continuing the winning streak of great beer and events in an off-the-beaten-path location.
Qamaria Yemeni Coffee Co.
This Hilliard coffee shop is the first of a few central Ohio locations opening in the coming years. They prepare robust Yemeni coffees in a variety of traditional drinks, paired with house-made pastries. Learn more at Qamaria Yemeni Coffee in Hilliard: One of the City’s Most Interesting Coffee Shops.
Waves Bar & Kitchen
Waves opened this year in King-Lincoln Bronzeville as a new neighborhood hangout with great drinks, pizzas, sandwiches, bar snacks, and weekend brunch.
It’s been a winning year for the Wario’s team. They announced a second location AND opened a sister concept called Goood Friends inside Jackie O’s, pairing house beers with giant, Midwest-inspired sandwiches. From this summer: The Wario’s Team Opens Goood Friends This Week and Oh Man, It’s Goood.
YF Chinese Cuisine
We’ll always welcome more Chinese food in Columbus! In late spring YF Chinese Cuisine started offering Sichuan dishes in the strip next to Los Guachos.
One of the most significant developments in downtown Columbus this year is the opening of The Junto, an “independent lifestyle” hotel in the new Scioto Peninsula next to COSI. The comfortable and centrally located hotel features a collection of eateries, from the lobby bar Trade Room, to the first floor Little West Tavern, the house coffee shop Maudine’s, and the eighth-floor bar and restaurant Brass Eye. Read about it all in The 6 Things To Do at the New Junto Hotel.
North High Westerville
Even though North High Brewing closed its original taproom this year, it’s continuing its expansion elsewhere. This year they debuted a new taproom and restaurant in Westerville.
Yellow Springs Brewery Taproom & Kitchen
Jackie O’s wasn’t the only Ohio brewery to step into the Columbus market this year! Yellow Springs Brewing took over the former Crest space on Indianola and gave it a makeover. Read more in Yellow Springs Brewery Taproom & Kitchen Brings Beer and Pub Fare to Clintonville.
Chuan Jiang Hao Zi
Many of us have morned the loss of Fortune Chinese Restaurant, but late this year we got the news (thanks to Andy and Bethia from Columbus Food Adventures) that the owners and chef are back with a new eatery close to their original location on Olentangy River Road!
After years of construction, Littleton’s Market debuted at the end of November in the former Huffman’s Market space. They expanded, built a skylight, added a front pavilion, and created a full restaurant/coffee shop/bar. Check Out Littleton’s Market, Opening in Upper Arlington!
Columbus has enjoyed some great Filipino restaurants, and fortunately we’ve gotten more this year, including Manila Hibachi in Whitehall!
Just in time for Holiday Hop, the folks from Pelino’s Pasta opened a sister restaurant in the former Piece of Cake storefront. Read how Piazza Pelino Brings Fresh Focaccia and Gelato to Short North.
We already know that Columbus has some top-notch ramen joints, and this year Asuka Ramen joined the ranks in Dublin.
Adelaide’s Gin Joint
The long-dormant Alana’s/Trillium Haven space in Old North came to life in October with a beautiful new cocktail bar and music venue! Check out how Adelaide’s Gin Joint Brings Cocktails, Small Plates, and Jazz to Old North.
The narrow space at 15 E. Winter Street in Delaware has long been the proving ground for Josh Dalton’s concepts like Veritas and Speck. After the successful run of Cove, A Seafood Joint, he debuted an upscale dive bar called Rosebud’s.
One of the other most anticipated openings this year was Hiraeth, a two-level, live-fire concept from the owners of Chapman’s Eat Market and Ginger Rabbit. Read more: Chapman’s Owners Open Hiraeth in the Short North.
High Street Kitchens
The pandemic accelerated the growth of ghost kitchens around the country. Columbus has a couple in play, and this year High Street Kitchens debuted in the former Clintonville Outfitters space.
Image courtesy @cobracolumbus
Late in the year a team of former Watershed Kitchen & Bar alums opened their own late night bar and restaurant called Cobra. It offers cocktails and Asian-inspired dishes until 2 a.m.
Star Kitchen Cafe
In under-the-radar openings, the Star Kitchen Cafe joined South High Street with a solid menu of sandwiches, chicken tenders, salads, and seasonal offerings.
Fox in the Snow Dublin
Our beloved Fox in the Snow expanded again this year, converting the former Dublin post office into an outpost for coffee, egg sandwiches, and pastries. Check out Fox in the Snow Opens its Fourth Location in Historic Dublin.
We’ll always welcome more Korean fried chicken to Columbus, and this year the chain bb.q Chicken opened a second local location on Bethel Road.
A long-empty storefront in Italian Village came to life this year when the owner of Mr. Hummus Grill renovated it. Read how Habibi Grill Brings Lebanese Cooking to the Heart of Italian Village.
Ohana Island Grill
We’ve seen the addition of a couple Hawaiian restaurants in Columbus this year, including Ohana Island Grill on West Dublin Granville Road.
Biscuits By Daddy-O
Gluten-free biscuit lovers, rejoice! This year this GF outpost went from an online business to a storefront. Read how Biscuits By Daddy-O Brings Gluten Free Goodness to King-Lincoln!
North High Street next to campus has welcomed a few eateries this year, like a new Smashburger, a second Dave’s Hot Chicken, and Cocky’s Bagels, Bringing Cleveland’s Finest Bagels to Columbus for the First Time!
KPOT Korean BBQ & Hot Pot
This national chain debuted the first of a few central Ohio locations this year. First time visiting? Check out Your Guide to the New KPOT Korean BBQ & Hot Pot.
Creme de la Creme
A delightful new coffee shop and bakery opened up late in the summer on the west side. Read about all the European-Style Pastries and Coffee at Creme de la Creme Bakery & Cafe.
More Fun Openings, Pop-Ups, and News
It’s hard to include everything that happened this year, but here are some other notable pop-ups, trucks, chains, and other unique additions:
- The employees of The Lox Bagel Shop have been given opportunities to test new concepts through a series of evening pop-ups, including the Sabo Sauce taco nights (pictured above) to The Funky Duck’s burger nights.
- Accomplished baker Kate Djupe debuted, of all things, a cake vending machine! Head to Seventh Son Brewing to find giant slices of cake from Heya Cake.
- Ohio’s longest-running ice cream maker debuted Toft’s Grand Scoop, a shop on West Fifth Avenue in Grandview.
- In anticipation of its second location, Nocterra Brewing opened its own food truck, Trail Magic Kitchen. It complements the Ray Ray’s truck already on site at their Powell brewery.
- At long last, the North Carolina-chain Bojangles opened a Columbus location on the west side.
- The folks from Honey Cup Coffee Co. opened a secondary spot, Dada Matcha Bar, inside 700 Bryden in Old Towne East.
- In November Clintonville’s Pattycake Bakery celebrated its 20th anniversary!
- Parable Coffee introduced an evening cocktail bar called Parable After Dark.
- And finally, the South Side Buckeye Donuts opened a stall in the North Market.