It's a first for Jon Ly and, apparently, Columbus, too.
Ly, a newly minted restaurateur, has opened Saigon Bar & Food, a hybrid Vietnamese restaurant, lounge and entertainment venue on the West Side.
The long, narrow storefront, formerly occupied by Bookies Roadhouse, is deceptively large, seating 100 people at 4182 W. Broad St., just east of Interstate 270.
Vietnamese cuisine is well-rooted in the Columbus dining scene but largely clustered on the North Side.
"There really isn't anything on the West Side, so a lot of people have to go to the North Side," Ly said. "We're kind of new to the market."
Ly, a hairdresser based in Mansfield, said it's his first foray into the restaurant business.
Not only is Saigon Bar & Food new to the area, but some of its dishes also are uncommon in central Ohio. And some options are unquestionably bar bites -- Vietnamese style, Ly said.
A couple of examples: sauteed spicy chicken gizzards, fried wings accented with fish sauce and fried chicken feet.
The menu is expansive, with several styles of beef pho. Saigon also offers traditional rice, noodle, beef, pork and seafood dishes, Vietnamese hot pot and a few Chinese and Thai choices.
Most entrees are $9 to $16.
Saigon Bar & Food could be the only Vietnamese restaurant in town with a disco ball; it's positioned in front of a stage where karaoke and live music are performed.
Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays and Mondays, and it is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
For more information, call 614-670-5300.
Spicy Hop is bringing the heat to Bethel Road, while its neighbor, Verge Club, will offer a late-night spot for cocktails and karaoke.
The two uses are part of the former Aoi Sushi Bar, 878 Bethel Road.
A mid-November opening is planned for both.
Spicy Hop will specialize in 12 to 15 true Szechuan dishes, which tend to be among the hotter plates in Chinese cooking, partner Colin Cheng said.
Customers will choose their ingredients at the quick-casual restaurant, Cheng said.
Most items will be about $12, he said.
The plan is to open for breakfast and early dinner. After that, on the east side of the space, Verge Club will offer drinks, karaoke and dancing after dark, partner J.R. Yong said.
Asher Royal Bakery and Deli is expected to open in a month or so at 2765 Northland Plaza Drive on Columbus' North Side.
Owned by well-rounded chef Rebecca Anaquah, the mostly carryout store will offer both sweet and savory homemade baked goods, deli meats and sandwiches, prepared meals and classic deli sides -- many with healthy ingredients. In addition, Anaquah will serve fresh juice drinks, smoothies, tea and coffee.
Central Ohio's fifth Greek Express is expected to open in January on Columbus' Northeast Side.
The 2,000-square-foot restaurant is under construction at 5451 N. Hamilton Road, said Ferdinand Cela, the founder and managing partner of the small chain of local restaurants.
The new store will seat 76 inside and 20 on the patio. The restaurants are known for quick-casual, scratch-made Greek fare that's moderately priced.
Update for fans of Bono Pizza: The pizzeria's co-owner promises it will return someday, but he won't put a date on it.
It has been eight months since the Neapolitan-style pizzeria closed at 1412 Presidential Parkway in the Heritage apartments.
Jake Wilch and his wife, Ruth Howard-Wilch -- both owners of Bono since 2013 -- are leading the front and back of the house at Legacy Smokehouse on Columbus' South Side.
Their Bono food truck hit the road last winter when the restaurant closed, but the vehicle's condition kept getting worse, so it had to be sidelined, Jake Wilch said. He said he's fixing it and staking out a spot on King Avenue with a long-term goal of returning to a storefront.