Juniper has risen to the occasion.

Offering views of downtown Columbus, the Short North and nearby neighborhoods, it is the crowning touch to the Smith Bros. Hardware Co. building, 580 N. Fourth St.

Occupying the seventh-story rooftop of the building, which still has its iconic water tower, the restaurant and event space is a testimony to a new capital-city scene, a toast to the city's urban revival.

"We built a building on top of a building," owner Steve Rayo said. "That hadn't been done in Columbus, not to the extent we did it. We changed the skyline."

In a sense, it resembles a deluxe greenhouse, an avant-garde A-frame of glass and metal, with retractable walls and ceiling panels, with glass walls occupying the entire west side of the interior, separating the dining room and open patio.

In winter, when white flakes fall from the clouds, visiting Juniper is like being in a snow globe, Rayo said. Of course, his snow globe has a heated floor.

The 12,000-square-foot interior is spare, using a few flourishes -- both classic and modern -- such as mosaic tiles, gold print, a railroad-tie footrest at the bar and Eero Saarinen-designed tables paired with clear "ghost" chairs.

"Every little aspect brings together the old and the new," Rayo said.

But the food-and-beverage dynamic was not an afterthought, he said.

As the name might suggest, gin is the specialty at Juniper, which offers 46 varieties, including Nolet's Reserve. Among the whiskey choices are two styles of Pappy Van Winkle -- aged 10 and 12 years.

Rayo's son, Scott, runs the culinary program for Juniper and two related event spots, Venue and Loft, which are on the Smith Bros. property but in their own digs to the east of the building.

Executive chef Andie Henry leads the culinary team at Juniper.

The menu, which is built on shareable plates, has a distinct Caribbean influence, with conch fritters, jerk shrimp and chicken roulade stuffed with plantains.

Much of the menu is vegetarian, with several vegan options, and priced in $9 to $12.

"It's a very fun menu," Rayo said. "It's not weird or scary."

Last week, Juniper began rolling out entree-sized portions, Rayo said.

Juniper is open from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. On Fridays, it is open from 5 p.m. to midnight unless it is reserved for special events. Such announcements are made on its website,

For more information, call 614-464-3333.


Something's brewing in the historic Henderson House in northwest Columbus.

Nikki Gallo and Joe Casey plan to open a microbrewery called Somewhere in Particular by summer.

Gallo and Casey will add 2,500 square feet to the building, 5055 Dierker Road.

The new venture will include a tasting room with a limited menu.

Pat Sullivan, a gypsy brewer whose brand is known as Nowhere in Particular, will be the permanent brewmaster at Somewhere in Particular and also a partner in the business. The operation has two other silent partners, Casey said.

The microbrewery will start off with four main beers -- IPA, pale ale, pilsner and a gose.

Nikki Gallo is married to Nick Gallo, who with his brother, Tommy, owns two Gallo's Tap Rooms and Gallo's Kitchen and Bar.

Casey is manager of the Tap Room on Bethel Road.


A Johnson's Real Ice Cream shop will open this spring at 160 W. Main St. in New Albany.

It will be the company's third location. The flagship shop is in Bexley and another opened last year in Dublin.


Chick-fil-A is open in Grandview Yard.

The 4,791-square-foot restaurant, owned by franchisee Seth Flores, is at 807 W. Third Ave.


Columbus restaurants DeNovo on the Park, 150 S. High St., and Rustic Barrel Sport and Tap, 8665 Sancus Blvd., have closed.