Table Talk

New brewpub flaunts sophisticated menu

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Central Ohio's latest brewpub will pull its first taps this weekend.

Wolf's Ridge Brewing, founded by father-and-son team Alan and Bob Szuter, is located at 215 N. Fourth St., in downtown Columbus.

Doors will open at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27 and 28, and for brunch only Sunday, Sept. 29.

Alan Szuter, an avid home-brewer, is the sage behind the suds. Wolf's Ridge has a 15-barrel system capable of producing 1,000 barrels a year, he said.

But the Szuters are starting out slow, offering two beers -- an India pale ale, or IPA, and a red ale upon the restaurant's opening. An Oktoberfest style brew will be released at the end of October.

The remaining taps -- there are a dozen overall -- will be dedicated to local and regional beers, as well as microbrews from throughout the country.

The plan is to hire a brew master in a couple months and take advantage of the brewing capacity. Alan Szuter, a former consultant for IBM, said he sought advice from microbrewers across the United States.

"Their advice was plan for growth and be ready for growth," he said. "And we took that to heart."

Wolf's Ridge also has a full liquor license.

Executive chef Seth Lassak, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, said he created a menu that will incorporate beer in both prominent and subtle ways.

"We didn't want to go too beer-heavy on every dish, but we're trying to fit it in as much as possible," Lassak said. "I put it in wherever I felt the beer could stand out the most."

That includes the IPA-steamed mussels with chorizo, stout-braised baby back ribs and a charcuterie plate with an IPA-infused whole grain mustard.

But, Lassak stressed, the menu does not offer common tavern grub.

Sure there's a burger, but it's a blend of lamb and beef, served on a brioche bun and crowned with 6-year-old cheddar.

Customers can find pork shoulder braised in mole sauce, duck confit tacos, cherry-stuffed quail served atop rosemary-fontina polenta cake and corn-dusted Lake Erie walleye.

There are separate lunch and vegetarian menus, and all desserts are made on premises.

Most small plates, soups and sandwiches are in the $10 to $15 range. Entrees are priced between $15 and $29.

"We didn't want to be just a brewpub," Bob Szuter said. "We wanted to have a nice restaurant with good beer."

The search for a permanent location started in 2011, when Bob Szuter was living in Chicago, working as a financial analyst for a pharmaceutical company.

He said he was on the Internet, looking for spots in the downtown area, when he came across the 6,300-square-foot space, originally built in 1919 as a dealership for Commerce Trucks.

"We looked at a number of spaces and it fit for a number of reasons," Bob Szuter said. "One, we really liked the character of it."

Demolition started last December and construction began in April.

Wolf's Ridge is named after the region east of the Scioto River across from Franklinton, which was a hunting preserve before Columbus was founded and chosen as the state capital, he said.

The narrow space boasts a wooden floor, white-painted brick, a wall of windows at the entrance, exposition kitchen and a glass-walled section displaying the pristine stainless-steel brewing equipment.

Some of the wood ripped up during construction process was repurposed in other areas of the restaurant.

"We wanted to keep the character of the building as much we could, but I wanted to minimize the distractions and keep it as simple as possible," he said.

The Szuters built long communal tables from reclaimed hickory from eastern Ohio. Maple chairs were built by Ohio Amish.

"That kind of goes with everything we're doing," Bob Szuter said. "We're focusing on the individual craft."

Following the grand opening hours, Wolf's Ridge will be open seven days a week for lunch, six nights a week for dinner and closed Monday night. For more information, call 614-429-3936.

 

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