Creekside Outdoor Refreshment Area 'infused an energy' in Olde Gahanna
Participants in Gahanna’s new designated outdoor refreshment area are toasting to a successful beginning and expect it to eventually generate new activities.
The district, known in Gahanna as the Creekside Outdoor Refreshment Area, started Oct. 21 and is effective from 3 to 11 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.
The CORA allows visitors in Olde Gahanna to enjoy an alcoholic beverage while walking within certain areas.
The boundaries are Big Walnut Creek to the west, High Street to the east, Granville Street to the south and North Street to the north.
Carrin Wester, city communications manager, said the six qualified permit holders in the CORA are Barrel & Boar, Local Cantina, Signatures Mill Stone Tavern, Old Bag of Nails & Pour House Tavern, Nostalgia Brewing and Stadium Bar & Grill.
Gahanna Mayor Laurie Jadwin said CORA implementation has been well received, and thus far, she has heard nothing but excitement about the new program since it was launched Oct. 21.
“It’s infused an energy into the district, which is a positive trend for Creekside,” she said. “The CORA has already spurred other business and organizations to initiate new activities and programs for people at Creekside."
Most recently, Jadwin said, Visit Gahanna and the Creekside District Alliance held a Pumpkin Crawl on Oct. 28, when visitors were invited to check out and vote for their favorite pumpkin while enjoying drinks from participating CORA establishments.
“Our hope is that even through the winter months, Creekside can offer safe, socially distanced, outdoor recreational space for our residents to use,” Jadwin said.
Shawn White, owner of Nostalgia Brewing, 81 Mill St., said the CORA thus far has been great on warmer days.
“We’ve seen a very nice reception to it and are very excited about the opportunity to be part of this Creekside program,” he said. “We’ve set up a separate pour station that offers four different beers and a few mixed cocktails to make it quick and easy to grab and go.”
White said Nostalgia Brewing’s covered patio area has a very large heater running the length of tables.
“We are looking at options to keep the flow of air through the space while maintaining a decent temperature,” he said.
As for adjustments, White said, Nostalgia has added an extra bartender on the weekends to help with the flow of business.
“The pour station was planned ahead of time to ensure quick turnaround,” he said. “We’re checking into options for warmer beverages to be served in different cups. It’s something that we believe will help in the colder months but was not part of the original plan so will require some additional time and logistics.”
Wester said as a result of high demand, outdoor heaters won’t be available until early 2021.
“We are looking into other options to keep the outdoor patios comfortable for use during the winter months,” she said.
James Dawson, founder/co-owner of Stadium, 101 Mill St., said his business is looking into heaters, fire pits and patio coverings to keep patrons comfortable.
He said everyone has been pretty excited about the CORA.
“Business has increased, and I believe it’s bringing more people to the area,” he said. “Weekends are the busiest, definitely, with Ohio State football back.”
Eric Stammler, general manager at Old Bag of Nails, 63 Mill St., said he can see the value in the CORA and guests wanting to enjoy a beverage by the creek.
As the temperatures drop, he said, traffic drops, too.
“We’re doing our best,” he said. “I think it will definitely be utilized in the spring.”
During the Pumpkin Crawl, Stammler said, Old Bag offered a hot cider with Captain Morgan spiced rum.
“That’s something we can make,” he said.
Lew Griffin, president of the Creekside District Alliance, said the CORA opened quietly with little fanfare out of caution for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“A number of individuals who have worked hard to plan and see the CORA become a reality joined together for a group toast,” he said. “The owner and managers of the participating restaurants all worked together with the city and the Creekside District Alliance business association to open the much-anticipated open refreshment area.”
Already, Griffin said, the CORA has brought new energy to Creekside, with more people than anticipated having a refreshment and enjoying the open-air beauty of the district.
“Many COVID-safe outdoor activities are being planned to continue to offer the best of the Creekside district and CORA,” he said.
Gahanna Division of Police Chief Jeff Spence said the department has received very few calls of a police nature since the implementation of the CORA, with most contacts from those asking questions or seeking additional information regarding the operation of the CORA.
“We will continue to evaluate the CORA safety plan as warmer weather approaches next year and, hopefully, the impact of COVID-19 subsides,” Spence said.