Ex-repair shop revs up for new life as Mid City Garage bar

GARY SEMAN JR.
gseman@thisweeknews.com
Clay Bolton (left) is general manager and Jacob Ciampa is executive chef at Mid City Garage, a cocktail-forward bar with a light menu that has taken over the former Mid City Automotive Services building, 1179 Jaeger St. in Merion Village.

Central Ohio residents can get their cocktail fix at a place where people used to get their vehicles fixed.

An old service station at the northwest corner of Jaeger and East Mithoff streets near the border of Columbus' German Village and Merion Village neighborhoods has been transformed into a cocktail-forward bar with a light menu.

Mid City Garage is in the midst of soft opening with limited hours Thursdays through Sundays, said Leanna McKenney-Heath, director of operations for the George Tanchevski chain of local restaurants, which includes South Village Grille and Jonys Sushi in German Village, Old Skool in Clintonville and several Local Cantina taco joints.

The former Mid City Automotive Services building, 1179 Jaeger St., had been closed for several years.

Its updated look includes repurposed automobile parts for decoration, a garage door that leads to the patio and a pizza oven, McKenney-Heath said.

The interior seats just shy of 60, and the exterior has room for 50, though those figures don't take social distancing into account, she said.

The limited menu offers charcuterie, small plates, salads, sandwiches and "tearable" pizzas -- 8-inch uncut pies that allow customers to pinch off a bite at a time, she said.

The lone dessert option is a s'more cooked and served in a cast-iron skillet.

Jessica Norman, president of the Merion Village Association, said a representative of the property owner appeared before the group in October 2017 with variance requests seeking relief from the required number of parking spaces and change in use from an auto-repair business to a restaurant with a patio.

But the future use was shrouded in mystery, Norman said.

"The only thing we had heard was hearsay around the neighborhood," she said.

She said she likes the sound of Mid City Garage, a walkable destination for many people in Merion Village.

"Any time a vacated business is going to reopen, I'm excited about that because I love to see new growth and new business in the neighborhood," Norman said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary