Karen Gaynor thought about not reopening the iconic Windward Passage restaurant.

After the death of her husband, Pete Gaynor, on April 4, Karen Gaynor thought it might be best to leave behind the venerable seafood spot at 4739 Reed Road in northwest Columbus.

But with a solid crew still manning the deck, Gaynor decided otherwise, opting to reopen in the next few weeks.

However, it won't be full steam ahead at first.

Windward Passage has prepared safe-distancing precautions in its bar and dining room, meaning it will allow about 30 diners at a time until statewide restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic are lifted.

Lunch will not be offered -- at least initially.

Otherwise, patrons will not notice much of a difference because the menu will be the same, but prices will be adjusted based on cost and availability, Gaynor said.

Call-ahead seating temporarily will replace the restaurant's longstanding policy of not accepting reservations. Patrons are not allowed to wait for a table by the host stand or in the bar, she said.

General manager BJ Belisle is known for enforcing the wait-your-turn policy, a stern directive by Pete Gaynor, who would not allow even his own mother to jump the line.

"Pretty soon you learn the exception is the rule," said Belisle, who's been answering the phone most days, with customers wanting to know when Windward Passage will reopen.

She said information would be posted at windwardpassageua.com, as well as the restaurant's Facebook page.

Gaynor and staff members warmly rhapsodized about Pete Gaynor, a somewhat quirky and earnest fellow who started out as a bartender at Windward Passage in the mid-1980s and bought it in 1988.

"It was pretty slow back then," chef Walt Eberst said. "He turned it into what it was."

Eberst said he had a gracious sense of humor, often turning the barbs on himself.

According to Eberst, Gaynor often would say, "I always asked my mom for a Mickey Mouse outfit, so she gave me money to buy this place."

He stubbornly refused to raise prices, making the restaurant renowned for its quality and its inexpensive fare and cocktails.

Warm cinnamon rolls with icing, served with entrees, still are free, but Gaynor reticently charged for seconds.

"The man did not like change," Karen Gaynor said.

The interior, which has been given a thorough cleaning, still has its nautical theme, and the menu has remained expansive and relatively unchanged for years.

Steaks, barbecued ribs, scallops, fish and oysters on the half shell all have equal billing, Belisle said.

"There's nothing on that menu that never sells," she said. "That's why it's on the menu."

"Pete's legacy lives on," Eberst said.

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Kolache Republic will be back in a new spot in Columbus' Brewery District.

The business that served savory and sweet Czech pastries is moving into the Daily Growler, 702 S. High St.

Cofounder Rick Jardiolin, who owns Kolache Republic with Dusty Kotchou, said the reopening is a few weeks away.

Kolache Republic is replacing Short & Stout Kitchen.

Jardiolin said the business has done beer pairings with local breweries before and the response was positive.

"I think it's going to be interesting," he said of the Daily Growler setup. "It's going to be a good fit. With this partnership, it will allow us to do more savories with the happy-hour menu."

The original Kolache Republic, which opened in 2013 at 730 S. High St., closed in the first week of February after its owners decided not to renew the lease.

Eyad "Eddy" Hussein is branching into the world of toasted sandwiches.

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The owner of Eddy's Chicken and Waffles is a few weeks away from opening Eddy's Subs & Stuff, serving turkey, roast beef, corned beef, clubs and such, plus burgers, chicken sandwiches and mini wing drummies and flats -- in an old Wendy's he had purchased at 4049 E. Livingston Ave. in south Columbus.

Eddy's Chicken and Waffles is at 3252 Noe-Bixby Road in Madison Township.

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The longtime Columbus chain, Max & Erma's has closed its two Dublin-area restaurants, as well as its Hilliard restaurant.

The chain, known for its burgers and decorative knickknacks, will not reopen its restaurants at 411 Metro Place North in Dublin and 7480 Sawmill Road in Columbus. The closures follow the decision to not reopen the Cemetery Road location in Hilliard.

The closings are the latest in a downsizing of the chain, which included the 2017 closure of its original German Village restaurant.

Max & Erma's continues to operate restaurants in six states, including central Ohio locations at John Glenn Columbus International Airport, downtown Columbus, Reynoldsburg and Lancaster.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary