The Flatiron Bar & Diner was known for its Cajun and creole-influenced menu, house-smoked barbecue and nightly specials.

The new version, known as Flatiron Tavern at 129 Nationwide Blvd. in Columbus, is even more laid-back, with a focus on burgers, sandwiches, salads and appetizers.

The restaurant, under new ownership, has a fresh look and menu, but it retains the same character that made it a cherished casual spot for 30 years in downtown Columbus.

Housed in a building known for its distinct shape, the former Flatiron closed in December, as property owners planned to find a different use for the parcel.

Then business partners Scott Schweitzer, Rachel Frye and Chris Huda noticed the space was back on the market. They worked with a broker to secure a lease and reopened Oct. 4.

"We feel we're doing familiar tavern food done well," Frye said. "We feel like it will continue to evolve after we get over some growing pains."

The interior, which seats 70, has been spruced up with new flooring, paint, tables, chairs and a stainless-steel backsplash in the open kitchen. A patio with seating for 30 remains.

The trio of restaurateurs also own Columbus establishments Park Street Tavern, 501 Park St.; Ledo's Tavern, 2608 N. High St.; and City Tavern, 697 N. Fourth St. -- all close to the Flatiron and sharing the mission of keeping it simple.

Philly-style sandwiches are highly touted, starting with protein, cheese, vegetables (50 cents extra) and sauce on a crusty bun made locally at Auddino's Italian Bakery.

Protein choices are rib-eye, chicken, vegetable and the Impossible, the plant-based edible by Impossible Foods Inc. that is showing up on menus across the city. An Impossible burger also is available.

"It looks, tastes like ground beef," Huda said. "It's hard to tell sometimes."

Burger fans also may order the real thing: the Smash Burger, featuring one or two patties, and the Blue Line burger, two blackened patties with blue cheese crumbles and the typical garnishes.

A "twice-grilled" cheese sandwich uses a spike of crispy-fried mozzarella between layers of melted American.

All sandwiches and burgers come with potato chips. A side of fresh-cut fries is $3.

Schweitzer said he believes Flatiron, across the street from the south end of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, has carved out a nice niche on Nationwide Boulevard by providing a counterpoint to more-expensive nearby restaurants.

"Everyone looks for a tavern, especially when you're out of town," he said.

Kitchen hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 614-525-0091.

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Central Ohio's newest McAlister's Deli is open at 1593 Hilliard-Rome Road in Columbus, just south of Hilliard.

McAlister's is known for its sandwiches, fresh salads, stuffed baked potatoes and special brand of sweet tea.

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Frisch's Big Boy, 8121 N. High St. in Columbus, north of Interstate 270, has closed.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary