Northwest Columbus will welcome a new style of Indian restaurant this fall, and a popular tavern is relocating to fancier digs.
Neehee's is scheduled to open in November in the former Aaron's furniture-rental store at 6080 Sawmill Road.
The Blarney Stone Tavern, meanwhile, is setting up shop next to Borgata Pizza Cafe in Linworth Crossing. A mid-July opening is planned.
Business partners Rajiv Shah, Dinesh Danak and Sagar Patel are the local franchisees of Neehee's, a restaurant serving 100 percent vegetarian street food. There are also Neehee's restaurants in Troy, Michigan, and Canton, Michigan.
Shah said the menu has more than 150 items, priced mostly between $5 and $7. He said the food will be prepared on premises, but spice blends will be mixed in Michigan.
"The Indian spice is the main thing," Shah said. "If you don't do it right, you won't get the same taste.
Popular foods such as dosa, idly vada, pakora and chaat will be part of the lineup -- all served quickly for dine-in or carryout, he said.
In addition, there will be Indochinese fare, specialty sandwiches, desserts and drinks. The restaurant will not serve alcohol.
Neehee's will occupy 7,500 square feet of space in the same row of storefronts as PetSmart and Target, both with large setbacks from Sawmill. Neehee's will seat 150, with a 50-seat private-events space.
Shah said he likes the location, which is just south of Interstate 270, although the space is generally larger than many restaurants and somewhat hidden from the main roadway.
He said there are a number of Indian restaurants and related businesses in the area, including Gokul Cafe, Patel Brothers grocery store, Tadka, Amul Indian and Cake Walk Indian Bakery & Cafe.
"The Indian population is growing so much right now," Shah said.
The Blarney Stone was in business for five years at 2151 W. Dublin-Granville before closing its doors more than a month ago after its lease expired, owner Benny King said.
It is making a hop across Linworth Road to a vacant, 2,500-square-foot storefront, which will feature a modern interior and garage doors that open to a 1,600-square-foot patio featuring a fire pit, King said.
The plan is to open three more Blarney Stones over the next three to five years, he said.
King has partnered with Kevin Fekete on the Blarney Stone reboot, which will include an overhaul of the menu.
Fekete said plans call for many of the same tavern classics, plus many healthier options. The restaurant will brine its own corned beef for Reuben sandwiches, he said.
"We're going to do a lot of cool things with pork belly," Fekete said.
Most menu prices will be $10 to $14, he said.
King said the casual atmosphere will remain.
"We're trying to stick to our roots," he said.