Two diverse restaurant concepts are taking over the Juergens German Bakery and Restaurant in German Village.
El Lugar and Alpine are about a month from opening in the former Juergens, 525 S. Fourth St., which closed in January after 50 years.
Alban Ndreu, with partners Enis Ndreu and Elidon Hizmo, have refurbished the storefront and added a wall to separate the two ventures.
El Lugar, roughly meaning "the place," in Spanish, will be a Barcelona-style tapas restaurant serving wines and tapas and will use premium canned seafood and other products from Spain, Alban Ndreu said.
He said he got the idea after watching an episode of No Reservations, hosted by the late Anthony Bourdain.
Ndreu said the 40-seat space, with a new bar, chairs and tables, is well-suited to a true Spanish experience, which will include pinchos, which are skewered snacks.
"For tapas, it's perfect," said Ndreu, a fan of Spain and its dining culture. "I think it's the No. 1 destination for food."
Alpine, on the other side of the divide, will feature classic and modern Bavarian fare, such as schnitzel, potato pancakes, rouladen and imported pretzels.
There also will be servings of raclette, which is a type of cheese that is warmed to soften it and scraped onto a plate containing other items, such as fruit, cold meats or potatoes. There will be lighter dishes, too, including salads, Ndreu said.
The Alpine space will seat 30 with an updated kitchen visible from the dining room. A patio at the rear of the building is getting new brick pavers and should seat about 40, Ndreu said.
Ndreu, also a founding partner of Wurst und Bier in the Crosswoods north of Interstate 270, said El Lugar and Alpine are months behind schedule, mostly because of permit issues.
In other news from German Village, the Curio cocktail bar, 491 S. Fourth St., has been absorbed by Harvest Pizzeria, 495 S. Fourth St., its next-door neighbor and sister operation.
The emphasis will be more on food and less on drinks, bartender Hana Newfeld said.
It also will bear the Harvest Pizzeria name, although some craft cocktails will remain on the menu at the 30-seat annex, Newfeld said.
Harvest is part of the locally based Grow Restaurants group, which also includes the The Sycamore, 262 E. Sycamore St. in German Village, among other concepts across Columbus.