Laid-back Clintonville tavern plans bold metamorphosis
The Crest Tavern, one of central Ohio's humblest of pubs, is getting a complete makeover.
Ali Alshahal, who recently purchased the Crest, closed the tavern Dec. 10 and plans to reopen it in mid-March with a full-service dining room and a wide assortment of craft beers on tap.
The name will not change at the tavern, located on the southeast corner of Indianola Avenue and Crestview Road in Clintonville.
Alshahal said he is opening up the interior of the 2,900-square-foot space to include a bigger bar and seating for 100.
An affordable menu will include an approachable assortment of popular from-scratch bar fare made with local ingredients, he said.
"It's going to be a lot different," Alshahal said.
The interior will feature wood from an Ohio barn built in the early 1800s.
Gary Smith, owner of Ohio Valley Reclaimed Wood in Bellville, which is providing the lumber, said the appearance and history of the material appeal to the consumer.
"It's the attention to detail," Smith said.
"And let's face it, it's antique and it comes from our heritage," he said. "And people like that. It's also the look. There's nothing like that out there today."
The exterior also will flaunt a new look, with a largely brick facade, additional windows and a 24-seat patio.
The double-door main entry, which will be trimmed in wood, will be shifted from the Crestview side to the Indianola side.
The Crest Tavern has been around in some form since the day Prohibition ended in 1933, Alshahal said.
He said he purchased the Crest from Christie Dupler, whose family had owned the place for more than 50 years.
Over the years, it had drifted into a quiet, unassuming -- if a bit rundown -- neighborhood joint known for its open music jams on Monday nights. That will continue, along with other forms of live entertainment, Alshahal said.
He said the place was in need of an upgrade to fit in with the surrounding community, which is underserved with casual bars serving high-quality food.
Alshahal said he is very familiar with the neighborhood.
His family owned the Weber Market, at the corner of Indianola and Weber Road, for a number of years, dating back to when it was a Lawson's convenience store. They sold it two years ago.
Orion Trifoni has sold Greek Corner on Lane Avenue so he can concentrate on the expansion of Panini Opa, his casual Greek and Italian restaurant.
Trifoni said he is looking at properties in Old Worthington and Historic Dublin.
The original Panini Opa opened just shy of a year in the old Rally's at 4799 Bethel Road.
Meanwhile, Moe's Southwest Grill will replace Greek Corner at 1305 W. Lane Ave.
Central Ohio's second Cinco is expected to open by the end of the month in Dublin.
Matt Radcliffe's fast-casual Mexican concept will take over 2,500 square feet of space at 331 W. Bridge St. in the Dublin Plaza.
The downtown Columbus Cinco opened five years ago. Radcliffe purchased it in 2010. His new store will feature hydroponically grown herbs.