Over the Counter is billed as a modern-American diner, where the menu is designed to appeal to as many customers as possible.

The recently opened restaurant, which literally straddles the boundary between Worthington and Columbus, takes over 2,800 square feet that long ago was a Nicklaus Drugs store.

David Creighton, a partner in the operation at 5596 N. High St., said the ownership team has been building the space from scratch for more than a year.

The eatery has a long, shiny counter with a cracked-glass pattern -- one of several 1950s design elements in the restaurant.

It seats 80, with another 32 on the patio.

Although the menu might appear simple at first, it is largely built from scratch, from homemade sauces and dressings to house-cured dill pickles.

Chef Bridgette Celio said one example is the pulled-pork sandwich, which has a foundation of cola-braised pork topped with hand-battered onion rings and coleslaw on the side.

The classic BLT gets an updated touch, with cayenne-accented candied bacon, lettuce, tomato and roasted red pepper aioli on wheat.

The burger gets a slather of the MAD -- which stands for "modern-American diner" -- sauce, a riff on remoulade. Ways to fortify a burger include adding cheese, a fried egg, bacon or an extra patty.

The Charlie dog uses a quarter-pound all-beef hot dog stuffed with cheddar, wrapped in bacon and deep-fried. The menu also offers a dog ladled with sloppy-joe sauce, cheese, onion and sweet relish.

Dry-rubbed wings are baked and flash fried for a crispy texture but moist interior, Celio said.

Vegetarians have more than a few options, including the black bean burger, grilled PB&J, mac and cheese and fresh salads.

"It's food you eat all the time," Celio said.

The restaurant in the Sharon Square Shopping Center started to build a buzz in the area. Creighton said passersby often queried when it was opening.

It was a question not easily answered.

Creighton and his team of investors bought the entire 5,600-square-foot space and split it into two, with the northern half becoming Collage Salons. The restaurant, meanwhile, had several setbacks, from construction to permitting, he said. Part of the reason is the kitchen is entirely in Columbus.

Over the Counter still has some final touches to add, said managing partner Molly Rice, who also runs Collage Salons.

Saturday and Sunday brunch hours are expected to be added soon. Lunches also will be added before too long, along with specials at both lunch and dinner.

Over the Counter has a full bar, with a few craft beers on tap and specialty cocktails in the offing.

"We're starting simple, but the sky's the limit," Rice said. "We're doing it right."

Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 4 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 614-846-1107.


Central Ohio's latest taqueria, iTacos, has opened in an old Wendy's storefront at 4362 Karl Road in Columbus.

Owner Carlos Gonzalez said the budget-priced menu offers several varieties of tacos ($2.49 each) served on homemade tortillas, along with burritos, tortas, quesadillas, salad bowls and other casual fare.

Gonzalez said iTacos seats 60 but also has a drive-thru, a remnant of the building's days as a burger joint.

The restaurant also offers grilled fruit -- pears, apples, plantains and such -- to be served as a dessert or topping a dish, he said.