Indie rocker amped to open low-key tavern in Italian Village
Quinn Fallon has been a fixture of the local pub scene for more than 20 years, either as an indie rocker, bartender or bar owner.
As of last week, the singer and guitar slinger for Los Gravediggers opened Little Rock at 944 N. Fourth St. in Italian Village.
Little Rock occupies a 2,000-square-foot space in an emerging area of Italian Village.
Fallon said he started from scratch. The space, at the southeast corner of Fourth and Second Avenue, has been vacant for 17 years, serving most recently as a carryout and sandwich shop.
"It was an absolute nightmare," he said.
"This joint didn't have plumbing or electricity. The floors were buckled. It was way more work than I ever dreamed."
The open space now has a modern, industrial vibe, with exposed ventilation, a patterned tin ceiling and lots of natural illumination.
Joe Peppercorn, also a veteran of the local rock scene, is the bar manager. The place offers 30 beers on tap, a respectable wine list and contemporary cocktail program.
Despite its name, and the owner's musical origins, Little Rock is not a band bar, Fallon said.
However, there will be live entertainment throughout the week. Karaoke will be held every Tuesday starting July 9 and open-mic nights every Wednesday beginning July 10.
Colin Gawel of the local band Watershed will be a bartender and provide entertainment on Thursdays starting July 11. Acoustic sets will be held every Friday, starting July 12.
"I have a ridiculously great (sound system)," Fallon said.
Little Rock will open without food. Fallon has reserved a small kitchen space near the back to lease to the right vendor.
"I've got my pick of the litter," he said. "There will be a kitchen in there pretty soon. That will work itself out."
It isn't Fallon's first foray into the bar business.
He and the late Andy "Andyman" Davis, former radio personality for then-WWCD-FM (101.1), owned and operated Andyman's Treehouse from 1999 to 2008 in the Grandview Heights area.
Ron Arps, who created the celebrated bar top at Andyman's Treehouse, also built the guitar-neck bar top at Little Rock.
Fallon said he's delighted to own another place.
"I'm not qualified to do a lot of things except serve beer or write songs or serve beer to people who like songs," he said.
Little Rock is open Wednesday through Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday.
Mughal Darbar will replace Taj Mahal in the University District.
The transition marks the Malhotra family's return to 2321 N. High St., where it operated Delhi Darbar from 2000-05.
Jay Malhotra, who will run the business with sisters Aashitha and Tina, said the food will remain largely North Indian, but less spicy and lighter, as double-refined vegetable oil will be used instead of ghee, or clarified butter.
The family also intends to introduce dishes new to the Columbus area, he said.
The plan is to renovate the interior and patio and reopen on July 15. Most entrees will be in the $8 to $12 range.
Malhotra said the place will maintain a full-liquor license and, in keeping with current trends, update its cocktail program.
The late Jagdish L. Kumar founded the iconic Taj Mahal in 1984 at the corner of North High Street and Northwood Avenue.
He moved it to its current location, in a distinct black-and-white building with a long setback from High Street, less than a decade ago when he bought Delhi Darbar from the Malhotras, who are relatives.
One of the first Indian restaurants in Columbus, Taj Mahal started out with North Indian and Pakistani fare, the latter of which was eventually phased out.
Ajay Kumar, son of the founder, said it was a family decision to close the restaurant.
"We decided to move on," he said.
Ajay Kumar said he and his sister, Uma Chaudhary, grew up in the business. Mr. Kumar died seven years ago and the siblings have run the restaurant ever since. Ajay was a chef, bartender, server and manager while his sister did office work.
The restaurant has sentimental value, he said, but "it was time to go."