Alpine Restaurant & Bar and El Lugar have filled a hole in the German Village dining scene created by the abrupt departure of one of the community's most cherished restaurants, Juergens German Bakery and Restaurant.

The German-Spanish duo have replaced Juergens, which closed in January after about 50 years in business at at 525 S. Fourth St. in Columbus.

Alpine and El Lugar both opened Oct. 30.

Alpine is the fine-dining side of the equation, serving a chef-driven menu of scratch-made German entrees, such as kasespatzle (house-made spaetzle with a variety of toppings), leberkase (a meatloaf topped with an over-easy egg), schweinshaxe (braised pork), rouladen and, of course, schnitzel.

"We wanted to show a different side of Germany," co-founder A.J. Ndreu said. "Not everything is Bavarian."

Starters, soups, salads, international dishes (risotto and linguine) and a cheese service are included.

Schweinebraten (roasted pork) will be the featured dish on the weekend buffet, available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, but will not be offered on the regular menu.

Ndreu owns the restaurants with cousin Enis Ndreu and friend Elidon Hizmo.

A.J. Ndreu, also a partner in Wurst und Bier in north Columbus' Crosswoods, said he hired two menu consultants -- Brian Edwards and Frankie Bernert -- to develop the bill of fare.

Executive chef Nick Paxton is in charge of the kitchen.

"I keep hitting on the fact that we're the most authentic German restaurant in the city right now," Paxton said.

Alpine even gets the seal of approval from Rosemarie Keidel, who owned Juergens.

"It's great," Keidel said. "It's elegant. It's high-class."

The 75-seat interior has been remodeled, featuring dark wood with exposed brick and concrete walls, plus new seating and tables.

El Lugar, which is translated as "the spot" in Spanish, is the laid-back component of the joint venture, taking over the lower floor of the bi-level dining space.

Among the choices at El Lugar are seafood items packed in cans from Espinaler, the Spanish producer of gourmet products. A.J. Ndreu said the items are served with toothpicks, toasted rounds of crostini, Salsa Espinaler and a homemade salsa.

El Lugar's menu includes homemade meals, plus serrano and Iberico hams, sold by the ounce.

Sweet Spanish vermouth and Spanish wines are included in the beverage lineup.

The 31-seat space is spare in design, offering a hand-penciled mural of a Spanish coastline.

A patio is in the works, with approval needed from the local architectural-review board and the city, A.J. Ndreu said.

Alpine hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (brunch only) Sundays. For more information, call 614-670-5852.

El Lugar hours are 3 to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 614-670-7195.

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Smohked Ohio BBQ & Bar has opened in the old West End Grill, 14 W. William St. in downtown Delaware.

Owner David DiStefano said the restaurant offers regional barbecue styles, from the Carolinas to Kansas City.

All meats are smoked and all barbecue sauces made in house, he said.

The menu of smoked-meat platters and classic barbecue sides is rounded out by appetizers, sandwiches, salads and homemade desserts.

DiStefano also owns the adjacent 12 West, a Midwestern-style Tex-Mex restaurant.

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Construction delays have pushed the opening of the Lox Bagel Shop in Columbus' Short North past Thanksgiving.

The hope is to open by the first of the year, owner Kevin Crowley said.

The bagel shop replaces Homefare in 1,600 square feet at 772 N. High St. (The storefront actually faces Warren Street.)

Crowley said the focus is on bagels, with all four staples made in house -- "everything," plain, sea salt and herb, and seeded -- plus a seasonal option. Bagels are somewhere between the styles of Montreal and New York, he said.

All fish and meats -- brisket, corned beef and pastrami -- will be cured and smoked on premises.

"Everything's made in house except for the cream cheese," Crowley said.

The menu also will include a small number of hearty salads, he said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary