The owners of Fusian have turned their restaurant near Grandview Heights into a test kitchen, where invention could lead to attention.
The 2,300-square-foot restaurant, part of a 10-unit chain now based in Columbus, is at 855 W. Fifth Ave., just west of Olentangy River Road.
The owners took a look around the neighborhood and liked what they saw: lots of young professionals, close proximity to the Ohio State University and an abundance of adventurous diners nearby, co-founder Zach Weprin said.
One more thing was appealing: Columbus is known as Test City, USA, where food entrepreneurs for years have tried out their culinary creations on the city's diverse palates.
"This is where we want to innovate and create new menu items and flavors and ultimately get critical feedback," said Weprin, who founded Fusian with his brother, Josh Weprin, and Stephan Harman.
The latest menu includes four bowls (priced $10.50 to $12), all new and available only at the West Fifth Avenue eatery. Zach Weprin said staff at other locations must be trained to make the new items, but no timeline has been set.
One of the bowls, the Highland, offers oven-roasted chicken, first brined for 24 hours and then rubbed with spices, that is paired with vegetables and tossed in a sesame-soy dressing.
"Millennials do like to eat out of bowls," said Zach Weprin, a millennial himself at age 31.
Fusian's foundation is four signature maki rolls ($7.50 to $8.50) and other Japanese-influences sides. Customers also can build their own bowls and rolls.
The flavors are developed by chef Nick Rivet, who trained at Northwest Michigan College's Great Lakes Culinary Institute in Traverse City, Michigan. He said he was working in banquets and fine dining at a resort when he got the call to join Fusian.
"If you told me 6 1/2 years ago I would be rolling sushi, I would have laughed at you," Rivet said.
Fusian, which got its start in Cincinnati, will expand to Toledo in March. A third Dayton store is slated to open by the end of April. Next year, the company plans to open two restaurants in Cleveland.
Hours for the West Fifth Avenue location are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. For more information, call 614-670-4323.
Buckeye Bourbon House, built in the style of big-city bars of yore, has opened at 36 E. Gay St. in downtown Columbus.
The setting offers a marble floor, tufted-leather seats and sofas, lots of wood, shuffleboard tables, padded bar stools and a 28-foot-tall back bar.
"We kind of refer to it as swanky mid-century," manager Brian Maxwell said. "Everything's pretty much about comfort."
The bar is on the ground floor of the Residence Inn by Marriott; both are operated by Concord Hospitality Enterprises Co.
Bourbon is a key attraction, with more than 40 brands from which to choose. The bar also has bourbon-barrel-aged cocktails, bourbon craft cocktails and bourbon beer.
Aside from bourbon, the beverage menu includes craft beer, wine and 23 handcrafted cocktails, which include two nonalcoholic "mocktails."
The menu features a small selection of food, including a deconstructed vegetarian muffuletta sandwich, a panini-style pulled-pork sandwich served on a maple-bacon doughnut, fresh oysters and bacon-wrapped barbecue meatballs.
Everything is priced at $10 or less.
Hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and noon to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Si Senor, 72 E. Lynn St. in Columbus, has inked a deal to open a location this summer at 200 Civic Center Drive along the Scioto Mile. The new, 2,000-square-foot downtown Columbus spot is expected to serve as both a restaurant and catering facility.
A third location recently opened in the old French Loaf space at 1456 W. Fifth Ave. near Grandview Heights.
The South American-inspired restaurant, whose East Lynn Street location will remain open, is known for its Latin-influenced sandwiches, soups, desserts and natural-juice drinks -- all made from scratch.
Si Senor got its start seven years ago on Long Street and moved to Lynn Street in 2013.
Lomonico's has closed in the Shoppes at Stonecreek in Pickerington. The Lomonico's downtown Columbus eatery, at 340 E. Gay St., remains open.