Even with the proliferation of brewpubs in central Ohio, the Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery owners hope to find a niche with its botanical craft-beer program and creative tavern fare.

Forbidden Root opened Nov. 29 in 12,000 square feet at 4080 Worth Ave., part of Easton Town Center’s $500 million expansion that includes new dining, retailers, office, residential and an Aloft high-tech hotel.

The space is heavy on wood, windows and metal, with a big bar as the centerpiece of the first floor.

“It’s industrial meets farmhouse meets apothecary,” said Robert Finkel, the self-described “rootmaster” and founder of the Chicago-based concept. His partner is noted beer aficionado Randy Mosher, an author, brewer and recipe developer.

The northeast Columbus spot is the second location for Forbidden Root, founded in 2016 in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.

“It’s a really nice and accepting beer culture,” Finkel, a former venture capitalist, said of the Columbus market. “People are open to new things, and we like turning people on to new things.”

Forbidden Root has 3,000 square feet of brewing space, where notable beers, such as the strawberry basil hefeweizen; Snoochie Boochies, a double New England IPA; and a sparkling rose ale, will be made.

Forbidden Root has 12 taps. Ten will be reserved for its own beers, some of which will be shipped in from Chicago, and two will be for guest brewers. The brewery is expected to start growing hops next year in a small upper-level patio space.

Nick Gabriel, formerly of the shuttered local brewer, Four String Brewing Co., is the head brewer at Forbidden Root.

Local journeyman chef and former restaurateur Paul Yow has been tapped to lead the kitchen at the brewpub, Finkel said. Yow has been given a lot of latitude with the menu.

“My skills are needed in a place like this, doing more scratch cooking and always thinking about innovation,” Yow said.

The menu includes an 8-ounce burger, with a layer of giardiniera mayo using house-pickled vegetables that have small and larger bits for texture. The burger is garnished with aged white cheddar, onion, house-cured bread-and-butter pickles and a brioche bun.

Duck confit with ricotta gnocchi, a Reuben sandwich with house-prepared corned beef and homemade fettuccine with herbed walnut pesto also are on the menu.

“We are doing high-end food devoid of pretension,” Finkel said.

No current items are priced above $20.

Suds are infused in some dishes, such as the beer cheese dip, using the house saison; the dip is served with a sleeve of Ritz crackers.

Forbidden Root’s initial hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Mondays to Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays, with the kitchen closing at 10 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively, according to forbiddenroot.com/columbus. For more information, call 614-414-6127.

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The owner of Fukuryu Ramen restaurants is building a new central kitchen at 748 Harmon Ave. in south Columbus, across Interstate 71 from the Brewery District.

Jeff Tsao, founder of the two local Fukuryu Ramens and another in Australia, said the 3,000-square-foot space would be used as a production facility and for storage.

Construction is expected to begin this month on the facility, where soups, sauces, sliced pork belly, toppings and other creations will be made.

Tsao said it would free up space in the small kitchens at the two restaurants and improve consistency.

“This will allow us to have more control,” Tsao said.

The central kitchen also will have a carryout area with the full menu available, he said.

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Billing itself as a “rough-around-the-edges” casual joint, Belly Burger opened Dec. 6 at 26 N. High St. in downtown Columbus.

The independent restaurant, which takes over the former Oliver’s space, offers burgers, fries and other comfort fare, plus booze-infused milkshakes and wine slushies.

Belly Burger has plans to expand across Ohio, according to a statement from the company.

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HAPCO Development of Ohio has signed a franchise agreement that allows it to open Hummus & Pita Co. restaurants in central Ohio.

According to the New York-based Mediterranean chain, HAPCO plans to open a restaurant next year, with more to follow. No specific locations have been identified.

The Hummus & Pita Co. operates six restaurants in Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey and New York, with others under development in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Montgomery, Alabama.

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NYC Bagel and Sandwich Shop, 2245 W. Dublin-Granville Road in Linworth, has closed.

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gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary