Westerville’s 8 State Bistro is delinquent on utility payments to the city and has been closed for a month with no word from its owner.
The management of the restaurant, which opened in February 2016, was informed by the city of Westerville in late April that its water and electricity would be shut off because of multiple unpaid bills.
According to Christa Dickey, the city’s spokeswoman, Westerville representatives contacted owner Kevin Campbell multiple times in order to work something out, but reportedly could not come to a resolution and were forced to turn off the utilities at 8 N. State St.
“They (utility officials) worked with (Campbell) for a long time to try to make every effort to get them to a position that he would be able to make a payment plan,” Dickey said.
Campbell did not return calls requesting comment for this story.
Westerville “does not go into a lot of detail” about how long 8 State was delinquent or other factors in the decision, but Dickey confirmed that the electric and water service was turned off and the city had still not received payment or finalized a payment plan agreement with Campbell by the end of May.
Campbell announced plans for the restaurant in August 2014, and said he planned to open by the end of the year. He eventually moved his target date back to January 2015.
Things for Campbell and 8 State were on hold for several months but gained momentum in May 2015 after the loss of an executive chef and the hiring of a new one.
At the time, Campbell claimed he “had to raise a little more capital to get the project done,” which contributed to delays.
But the restaurant hit snags in construction, pursuit of city permits and other areas, and did not open until early 2016.
“If I had a dime every time someone asked me when we were opening, I’d be in a position to open two more restaurants,” he said at the time.
Dickey said she and city staff did not want to comment on the situation of 8 State, which multiple city leaders expected to be a major boost to nightlife in Uptown Westerville. In 2016, Jason Bechtold, the city’s economic development director, called the location “an anchor in a major block of Uptown.”
The social media pages of 8 State have been silent since April 27, when a Facebook post said the restaurant was “temporarily closed” but claimed “we look forward to serving you again in the near future.”