Justin Boehme said he was all set to sell Da Levee, his restaurant at 765 N. High St. in Columbus' Short North, a move that would have given him something he never had -- a retirement account.
But negotiations between the unnamed suitor and the landlord lapsed, meaning his IRA basically was DOA.
"I'm really happy the deal fell through," Boehme said. "I wasn't ready yet."
The situation, however, made him take stock: He decided he loved the restaurant business but didn't necessarily love running a restaurant.
So he rebuilt the concept restaurant and named it Eugene's Canteen, a laid-back tavern suited to all comers.
The restaurant remains a source for homemade Creole food, but it now plays host to local pop-up entrepreneurs, who offer a variety of items.
Boehme's hope is that Eugene's will have some permanent pop-ups, as well as others that come and go.
For now, Nate's Steamed Bagels is there Sundays, and Wednesdays are reserved for Oldani's Sauce N' Balls, which serves handmade tagliatelle with tomato sauce and three-meat meatballs.
Meanwhile, Boehme's small menu of Creole dishes is available six days a week.
Da Levee still is around at its Gahanna location, though not for long. Boehme said he will rename the restaurant Rouxpert's Cajun Xperts, and it will provide Eugene's with its Louisiana-style fare, as well as food for the company's Aramark corporate catering accounts.
Boehme's brother, Matthew Young, is the head chef, cooking recipes developed by Boehme. Al Smith is the operations manager.
"It's been awesome," Boehme said. "It's like I've been on vacation every day. We have a great staff."
The name Eugene's Canteen also has special meaning: It was named after Boehme's late grandfather, a World War II veteran.
Boehme himself is a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving in the Army Medical Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He said he is working with two groups, the Mission Continues and Team RWB Columbus, which help veterans get back on their feet. Boehme even has created a Wall of Heroes at the Short North location, where patrons can bring in pictures of loved ones who served in the military.
As for the retooling of the restaurant, the interior has been remodeled, and Boehme reoriented the bar and added a pool table.
It also will live up to its name as a canteen: Toothbrushes, mouthwash, candy and other odds and ends are available for nearby lodgers and other patrons.
"This is something the neighborhood doesn't have," he said.
Hours are 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays. For information, call 614-826-3739.
Central Ohio's second CoreLife Eatery opened June 29 at 1791 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, in the Lennox Town Center.
CoreLife specializes in layered bowls and plates assembled from scratch using healthful ingredients. Both meat and vegetarian options are offered.
The other Columbus restaurant is at 8742 Sancus Blvd.
L. Ginger Asian Fusion & Hibachi has ushered in a new era of dining in Capitol Square.
The spinoff of Blue Ginger Asian Fusion Bistro has taken over the former Lee's China Kitchen, which spent 25 years inside the mall at 65 E. State St., Columbus.
L. Ginger has a host of popular a la carte American-Chinese dishes, as well as a buffet, costing $6.99 a pound, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
Hibachi dishes are cooked on a flat-top grill in the kitchen, not at a big table in the dining room, and are served with yum-yum sauce.
Neehee's, specializing in vegetarian Indian street food, is scheduled to open in November in the former Aaron's furniture-rental store at 6080 Sawmill Road.
Business partners Rajiv Shah, Dinesh Danak and Sagar Patel are the local franchisees of Neehee's. Other Neehee's restaurants in this part of the world are in Troy, Michigan, and Canton, Michigan.
Shah said the menu has more than 150 items, priced mostly $5 to $7.
The Blarney Stone Tavern is setting up shop next to Borgata Pizza Cafe in Linworth Crossing.
Blarney Stone was in business for five years nearby at 2151 W. Dublin-Granville Road before closing its doors more than a month ago after its lease expired, owner Benny King said.
It is moving 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.
King has partnered with Kevin Fekete on the Blarney Stone reboot, which will include an overhauled menu.
Applebee's Grill + Bar at 480 Ackerman Road in Columbus -- just north of the Ohio State University campus -- has closed.