Taste Hospitality creating synergy in Short North
Taste Hospitality Group didn't have to look too far for its next venture.
In fact, it was right next door.
The local enterprise specializing in restaurants and banquet facilities snatched up Wine on High in the Short North, which is adjacent to Hubbard Grille, also part of Taste's portfolio.
"One of my biggest reasons for doing this was the private event side," said Sheila Trautner, president and owner of the company.
The 1,500-square-foot Wine on High, 789 N. High St., is a retail wine and beer outlet with a modest second floor that seats roughly 30 people.
The venue has a relatively diminutive kitchen from which an abbreviated menu of small plates is served.
Trautner said the plan at the moment is to keep the name and same basic design, but add a few cosmetic touches.
"The fundamentals of the shop will not change," she said.
Wine on High, previously owned by Josh Shapiro, is known for its wine-tastings -- flight selections change frequently -- and special events.
Trautner said she has seen firsthand the demand for private space in the Short North, particularly for the upcoming holiday season.
Hubbard Grille, for example, has its own private-dining accommodations -- a second-story space that can seat 45 for dinner or hold receptions for 70 or so.
"There were a lot of synergies that made sense," Trautner said.
But the basic mission of the store won't change.
"I think the Short North will continue to need a retail wine and beer outlet," she said.
Wine on High, which originally started out as Vino 100, is now the fifth property owned by Taste Hospitality.
The group was unofficially formed in 2008, when Mezzo in Gahanna's Creekside was opened. Since then, the group established another Mezzo in Dublin and closed the original, which is now Ciao Vino.
Taste Hospitality, officially named such in 2010, also owns the Venue at Corazon, Creekside Conference & Event Center and Hubbard Grille, a contemporary American restaurant.
Trautner said the company has made it a point to diversify.
"We have never been the types to take something and streamline it," she said. "You make life a little more difficult but it makes it more fun and challenging."
The organization also has hired Josh Cook as its new executive chef. He has added several new items to the Hubbard Grille menu, including tuna and watermelon ceviche, chorizo and shrimp bruschetta, Cajun-spiced mahi mahi and sacchetti stuffed with black mission figs and gorgonzola.
Melt Bar and Grilled officially will open Nov. 1. The Cleveland-based restaurant, known for its gourmet grilled cheese and other sloppily elegant sandwiches, plus a large craft-beer selection, will open a store at 830 N. High St. in the Short North.
It will be the fifth location overall for the restaurant, whose store in Lakewood has been visited by the likes of Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and Adam Richman of Man v. Food fame.
Central Ohio's third Yogi's is taking over the former Brewsky's site at 4510 Kenny Road in Northwest Columbus.
Transformation of the 6,000-square-foot space is expected to be complete around the first of the year, said Eric Goodman, who owns the other two Yogi's and Novak's in the Short North with Greg Tishkoff and Katie Frankl.
Goodman and Tishkoff separately own the Filling Station, another bar, on Smoky Row Road.