The Blue Danube is expected to reopen under new ownership, possibly as early as fall.

But that's about all that's certain at this point.

Other details are hazy, such as whether the name would remain, said Steve Margetis, whose extended family bought the iconic restaurant in the 1940s.

The family sold the Blue Danube two decades ago but still owns the building in which the restaurant is located.

"I would love to open up before football season," Margetis said. "It would be amazing if I could, but I don't think I can."

Margetis said he and his cousin, Jimmy Sicaras, plan to sink an estimated $1 million into a renovation of the building at 2439 N. High St. in Columbus' University District.

A new operator for the restaurant has been identified but Margetis wouldn't disclose the name because a lease hasn't been signed. The new operator would own the restaurant and the Margetis family will continue to be the landlord.

In May, Bob Swaim, who had owned the restaurant since the mid-1990s, announced plans to close the Blue Danube after he couldn't work out a lease agreement.

At one point he had said it would operate until Father's Day, then he said he would operate only during brunch hours on the weekends. As of June 3, the place appeared to have closed.

Swaim did not return multiple requests seeking comment.

It isn't clear who has the naming rights to the Blue Danube, also known as the 'Dube.

Margetis said it is his intention, if he can keep the name, to use it in some form when the restaurant emerges from the building-restoration project.

Meanwhile, the interior is going to be gutted and new windows will be added to the building, Margetis said.

The exterior will change, too. It will have a brick or sandstone facade, a look similar to the original Blue Danube that opened in 1940, he said.

Margetis' great uncle, Tass Sicaras, bought the place from its Hungarian founders and operated it until 1961, when he sold it to his three nephews: George Spandithos, George Sicaras and George Margetis. The latter is Steve's father and the surviving member of the partnership.

Steve Margetis said the new owner would downsize the menu, which should feature home-cooked meals and several Greek options, such as moussaka, spanakopita and pastitsio.

The site of a former auto-repair business in Merion Village is being converted into a restaurant.

David Catteeis prepping 1179 Jaeger St., former home of Mid City Automotive Services, to accommodate a full-service eatery.

Cattee said he is entertaining offers from several potential tenants but does not have a lease in place.

The 1,650-square-foot space has been vacant since March 2017.

Cattee, who has owned the building since 1980, said he has long intended to open a restaurant, not a bar, at the site.

"It's not going to be a beer joint, a beer garden," he said. "I don't want that."


Tickets went on sale last week for Flavored Nation, which will celebrate 50 iconic dishes from every state in the U.S.

Those signature dishes, as well as a roster of top national and local restaurateurs and chefs, will assemble in August at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High St.

(The buckeye, for obvious reasons, is Ohio's most notable dish.)

The event is being spearheaded by Richard Gore, executive producer of Flavored Nation and former president of live events for the Food Network.

GateHouse Media, which owns ThisWeek Community Newspapers and many other newspapers, is the presenter of Flavored Nation.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 11 and 12. Tickets are $35 in advance at or $45 at the door.