Eric Rummel is reorienting his food mission by broadening its scope and narrowing its volume.
Rummel owns the recast Pizza Primo Grill & More, 895 High St. in Worthington, and recently sold Pizza Primo, 3027 Indianola Ave. in Clintonville, to friends Andrew and Bethany Cook.
Pizza remains the main attraction at Rummel's Worthington restaurant, but the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic played a part in the development of a new menu, he said.
He was going to expand his catering menu, but then state mandates restricted the size of gatherings.
So he developed a grill menu to better serve the bars with which he has a relationship.
"I wanted to give them a little bit more of a reason to draw people into their establishments," he said.
Among the key objectives was to create a top-shelf burger. The result: a 1/3-pound of fresh black Angus beef from Lanning's Foods in Mount Vernon. The burger, which comes with fries, is $8.95; an extra patty costs $2.50.
The menu also includes a black-bean chipotle burger, wings and grilled or breaded chicken sandwiches, with or without Buffalo sauce.
"Quality was the first goal," Rummel said. "I try to buy as much local as I can."
His next order of business is to create a catering menu for when coronavirus-related assembly restrictions are lifted.
Then it will be on to gourmet pizzas, the toppings for which are under development, he said.
"We're just scratching the surface on that," Rummel said.
Meanwhile, the Clintonville location remains largely unchanged because it has no grill and little seating in the dining room, Andrew Cook said.
Cook said he grew up in Worthington and was a frequent customer of Pizza Primo, formerly Antolino's. He said he would remain steadfast to the pizza sauce and crust recipes of Pizza Primo and plans to roll out some specialty pizzas, but he is unsure when.
"I wanted to sell to somebody I was friendly with and wanted to keep it a Pizza Primo," Rummel said.
Rummel said Pizza Primo would continue community-outreach efforts to schools and social organizations and hold fundraisers in both communities.
Rummel, 50, started delivering pizza while studying physical education at Ohio State University. He was manager for nine years before he bought Antolino's and renamed it in 2001. He opened the Clintonville location in 2003 and two more restaurants -- one in Westerville, which was sold, and another on Bethel Road in northwest Columbus, which has closed.
He said he never finished his degree but never thought he would end up in the pizza business, either.
"There's just something about it," Rummel said. "Your interaction with customers is always brief, but it's always friendly."
Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. to midnight Fridays, 3 p.m. to midnight Saturdays and 3 to 11 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 614-888-7979.
Mr. Hummus Grill is expanding to Columbus' Italian Village, with a November opening planned.
The Lebanese restaurant, which was born from a food truck, will open at 1131 N. Fourth St., near Seventh Son Brewing Co. and Fox in the Snow Cafe.
Tarek Albast, who owns the Mr. Hummus Grill at 1450 Bethel Road in northwest Columbus, said the new location would occupy 5,000 square feet, with another 4,000 square feet outdoors.
Chris Crader is dropping the Sycamore, 262 E. Sycamore St. in German Village, and Cosecha Cocina, 987 N. Fourth St. in Italian Village, from his Grow Restaurants portfolio.
Both sites are closed and for sale, according to Randy Sokol, Crader's broker.
Crader, founder and CEO of the local restaurant chain, which includes Harvest Pizzeria, could not be reached for comment. Sokol said the pandemic played a part in the sale.