In a downtown that's busy with beef options, Matt Rootes and Tony Wildman are counterprogramming with their new Columbus steakhouse.

In a downtown that's busy with beef options, Matt Rootes and Tony Wildman are counterprogramming with their new Columbus steakhouse.

Certainly, Matt and Tony's Wood Fired Kitchen is meat-centric, using prime rib-eye and New York strip as its signature steaks, along with filet and roasted prime rib -- all of which have launched a thousand, often posh, competitors nationwide.

But Rootes and Wildman, partners in the Pat and Gracie's burger joint, are offering a comfy but not too stuffy place where people can dine before a show at the Ohio Theatre or rock concert at Nationwide Arena.

"We still want people to feel comfortable with shorts and a T-shirt," Rootes said.

Matt and Tony's opened Sept. 17 inside the former Columbus Brewing Co. Restaurant, 525 Short St. in Columbus' Brewery District. The restaurant closed last year after 21 years in business.

Matt and Tony's seats 130 inside and another 40 outside.

The wide-ranging lunch menu includes a salmon BLT, a chimichurri burger and a prime rib French-dip sandwich, Rootes said.

No individual lunch item tops $17.

The dinner menu is upscale casual, with lots of chef-oriented touches and such items as pork-shank osso buco, "fork and knife" barbecue ribs, rack of lamb, fresh seafood, salads and starters.

The restaurant has no freezers or microwave ovens, Rootes said.

"We are fresh," he said.

No dinner item is priced at more than $32, which is at the lower end among Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse and Ruth's Chris Steak House; the latter is set to open in a few weeks at 511 S. High St. in Columbus. All are essentially clustered downtown.

"Downtown needs something like this, somewhere you don't have to spend $200 on dinner," Rootes said. "I would describe it as American casual dining serving steak and seafood."

Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 614-732-5098.

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Ichi Japanese BBQ opened Sept. 21 in northwest Columbus.

The restaurant replaces General Tso's Chinese restaurant at 5227 Godown Road in a small strip center north of Bethel Road.

Like other do-it-yourself Asian barbecue restaurants, Ichi offers raw cuts of beef, pork, chicken and seafood that customers cook on special inset grills at the table.

Noodle and rice bowls and other dishes will be part of the lineup at Ichi, employee Tank Z said.

Vegetables and tofu also will be among the choices, he said.

The owners plan to apply for a liquor license once the restaurant opens, he said.

Off the gridiron and onto the griddle: Former Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer has partnered with Chris Corso of Corso Ventures on Urban Meyer's Pint House, which replaces Ram Restaurant & Brewery at 6632 Longshore St. in Dublin's Bridge Park.

The restaurant is scheduled to open at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, the day before the Buckeyes play the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln.

The casual, 8,000-square-foot restaurant will feature many dishes offered at Corso's restaurants: linguine with clams, skillet macaroni and cheese, pizzas, chicken and waffles and homemade cheesecake.

The Pint House's drink menu includes 50 beers and a number of signature cocktails.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary