Table Talk: Spaghetti Warehouse will keep recipe for success during refresh

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
The venerable Spaghetti Warehouse is at 397 W. Broad St. in Franklinton.

The Spaghetti Warehouse, that aging paragon of pleasantly prepared pasta, is undergoing a few key changes that will make the restaurant fit for another several decades, according to a company official.

Even so, the improvements are going to be subtle and relatively drawn out, said Jeremy McLean, operating partner of BLD Brands, a California-based investment group that owns the Franklinton Spaghetti Warehouse.

Jeremy McLean is operating partner of BLD Brands, a California-based investment group that owns the Spaghetti Warehouse in Franklinton.

Four other Spaghetti Warehouses in Dayton, Toledo, Akron and Syracuse, New York, are not affiliated with BLD.

The Columbus restaurant is 43 years old, situated in a historic 20,000-square-foot building at 397 W. Broad St. (The front door actually faces West State Street.)

The brick building, believed to be 130 years old, has seven dining rooms and seating for 800, or 500 with COVID-19 restrictions and some rooms currently off limits.

“We know this restaurant has been a legacy for a long time,” McLean said. “We don’t have any intention of going away.”

Many could very well agree that an update is the ultimate dream of any restoration expert, as the interior consists mostly of dark wood floors and ceiling, brick, wooden stairs and railings, aging furniture, yellow and black vents, and checkered tablecloths.

So what’s to become of the clusters of American bric-a-brac, colored glass, antique overhead lampshades and remnants of the building’s days as an icehouse?

The trolley car in the main dining room, where meals also are served, isn’t going anywhere, McLean said.

A trolley car doubles as a dining space inside the Spaghetti Warehouse.

“People love coming in and looking at the artifacts,” he said. “There is a ton of history in this building.”

The floors, fixtures, furniture, restrooms and a fresh coat of paint are the first priorities, he said.

The work, to begin in a month or so, will be subtle so guests won’t be too inconvenienced, he said.

As for the menu, the 15-layer lasagna and homemade meatballs – two of the staples – will remain true to the original recipes, McLean said.

“We’re not going with the cutting edge because we’re more comfort food,” he said.

Spaghetti Warehouse also is known for its combination platters, such as an “ultimate feast for two” – lasagna, spaghetti with marinara sauce, pork sausage, meatballs, ravioli with alfredo sauce, chicken parmesan and garlic bread for $35.

“It’s a massive meal,” McLean said.

There are some recent additions, such as the Tuscan ribs served with a tangy dipping sauce. The stuffed mushrooms also have returned.

Soups, burgers, sandwiches, salads and desserts round out the menu.

For the person who simply can’t live without a steak, the restaurant serves an 8-ounce sirloin with fettucine alfredo and broccoli.

McLean said the restaurant is looking to add gluten-free and vegan meals in the near future.

A place that seats 800 most certainly felt the effects of COVID-19, he said.

At first, a skeleton crew was overwhelmed with to-go orders. Then, as patrons returned to the dining room, the demand for carryout food remained in demand.

In addition to adding third-party deliverers, Spaghetti Warehouse intends to build a permanent carryout stand near the entrance, McLean said.

“The idea behind the refresh is not going to take away the character of the restaurant,” he said.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 614-464-0143.

Community spirit

Comune, the locally planted veggie-forward restaurant at 677 Parsons Ave. in Columbus, is slated to reopen for dine-in service May 26.

The restaurant will transition to serving dinner only, both dine-in and carryout, from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

The restaurant will be closed through May 20 to prepare for the transition.

The restaurant has been offering only carryout since summer of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masks will be required in common areas and when not seated. Reservations are required, with bookings opening this month. Patio reservations will be on a first-come, first-served basis, and Comune will accept reservations up to three months in advance.

Running hot and cold

Tortilla and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams are open for the season at the John F. Wolfe Columbus Commons, 160 S. High St. in downtown Columbus.

Both are open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Tortilla, formerly Taquero, has food to pick up via the Street Food Finder app.

Jeni’s has individually packaged street treats, not ice cream, to pick up.

There is limited, physically distant seating at the Commons for those who want to enjoy lunch or ice cream in the park.

Meanwhile, the Food Truck Food Court is returning in June, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary