Reformed ‘bar food’ joins craft-beer cornucopia at Pint Room
With the market for craft beer clearly established in central Ohio and beyond, Derek Rapkin and Keith Moreland have turned their attention to another part of the business: food.
At the Pint Room in Dublin, Rapkin and Moreland want people to enjoy more than the wide selection of brews.
"We're just trying to take regular bar food and step it up a level," Rapkin said.
The Pint Room opened earlier this week in the former Wine Loft space, 4415 W. Dublin-Granville Road in the Shoppes at RiverRidge.
Rapkin and Moreland have recast the 4,500-square-foot storefront by adding a 35-seat bar, brightening up the interior with lighter colors and installing a wooden floor.
Burgers are the centerpiece of the menu. They feature a 50-50 blend of prime chuck and kobe beef served on a brioche roll.
Each has a signature touch, including one topped with steamed lobster, asparagus and hollandaise.
Another offers peanut butter, bacon, Monterey jack, strawberry preserves and fresh strawberry slices.
"There's a lot of flexibility with a burger," Rapkin said.
Fresh-cut "bistro" fries get a topping of barbecue-braised short ribs, Ohio cheddar, sour cream and a roasted-vegetable relish.
"Food has become so important to the bar business," Rapkin said.
The menu is rounded out with salads, sandwiches and appetizers. Most items are in the $8 to $15 range.
Rapkin and Moreland have hired Ryan Romito, a classically trained chef who has a fine-dining background.
"I really feel as far as the menu goes, were making great food done properly, done with a chef's twist on it," Romito said. "You're just going to get the 'wow' factor."
Yet, the pint side of the equation can't be overstated, Rapkin said.
The place features 101 taps -- one reserved for root beer -- of mostly American craft brews and another 30 by the can.
Another highlight: 40 of the selections are made in Ohio. Popular American macrobrews also are available.
In addition, there's a small assortment of wines and a full complement of liquor.
Servers and bartenders are given advanced training in the nuances of the beer selection, Rapkin said.
"Growlers," the beer containers people can fill up and take home, are offered in 750 milliliters and 32 and 64 ounces.
The shopping center, just east of Riverside Drive, has struggled with high vacancy rates since it opened five years ago.
Rapkin said he likes the Pint Room's location -- with high visibility along the busy Dublin-Granville corridor -- and has faith in the center. He said he is aware of at least three new leases being signed.
Greater Columbus has seen a wild proliferation of craft-brew purveyors.
Just recently, a second World of Beer opened in Easton; the Winking Lizard announced its third central Ohio location; and 101 Beer Kitchen opened in Dublin.
Rapkin said he doesn't see the trend subsiding.
"I think people get sick of light beer," he said. "When you taste a quality beer, it takes just one to change your tastes."
The Pint Room is open daily for lunch and dinner. For more information, call 614-889-6558.