Dempsey's, a new Downtown restaurant located across the street fromt he courthouse, officially opened its doors just before St. Patrick's Day. I stopped in for lunch today and had a very tasty Chipotle Steak Salad ($10.95), with perfectly cooked, Southwest-seasoned steak tenderloin on baby spinach with caramelized onions, chili-rubbed roma tomatoes and roasted corn. A honey-chipotle vinaigrette tied everything together nicely.

It's owned by Mark Dempsey, a restaurateur who used to be a deputy in the Franklin County Clerk of Courts office. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Dempsey hopes its proximity to the courthouse and setup (complete with a private back dining room) will help it supplant the Clarmont as a gathering place for Columbus polititicans.

Inside, Dempsey's is handsome and comfortable, with dark wood floors, exposed brick walls, a long bar and plenty of seating. Lots of historic photos of Downtown Columbus hang on the walls.

At dinner, the menu consists of steaks and seafood (like pan-seared salmon, crab cakes and sea scallops) plus salads and small plates. At lunch, the focus is on salads and sandwiches, including a few burgers and several grilled melts served on Texas toast. An extensive breakfast menu is highlighted by several types of French toast, omelets and loaded home fries.

Dempsey's Restaurant

346 S. High St., Downtown