Learn more about German Village venue High Line Car House.
Angela Petro had a decision to make. It was January 2013 and, after 16 years in business, her company, Two Caterers, had outgrown its tiny Westerville office. She could keep it simple and just find a larger space with a kitchen and offices. But the historic Brewery District building at 550 S. High St. was calling her name.
"When I walked in and saw this building, it smelled like sewer gas and it was moldy and gross," Petro says. "But I live in German Village, so I knew of this building. And I was intrigued. I mean, it spoke to me. The bones were good. You could see the brick walls; you could see the exposed ceiling."
Sure, it needed work-a lot of work. And it would put her over budget. But when Petro stood inside the former trolley barn, she saw the potential to transform it into a stunning venue space on the cusp of Downtown. So she took the plunge. "It was the best decision we could have made," she says.
Built in 1873, the building first served as a southern stop for horse-drawn trolleys, which were eventually electrified. "When we excavated to put in the new sanitary and water lines, they found all the tracks are still underneath the foundation," Petro says.
Now, after a complete renovation and a second-floor addition, the building houses Two Caterers' offices and commercial kitchen in addition to High Line Car House, the venue arm of the business. High Line, which can seat 250 people with a dance floor, hosts all types of events, with weddings being the primary use of the venue.
Custom is king for weddings here. "This is anti-package," Petro says. "We can help people if they prefer a package-type thing, but really this is a custom experience." The company provides couples with tables, fruitwood chiavari chairs and tents if they choose to use the patio. From there, it's a blank slate. "Even though this has a very strong design aesthetic, it is still something that you can make your own," Petro says. "Any colors work in here; any kinds of decor or florals work in this space. And so I think this is for a couple who really want to express their personal aesthetic."
That theme carries over to food and beverage, too. Couples who book the venue are required to use Two Caterers, which has a combined food and beverage minimum. "Our belief is food should be simple: few ingredients, big on flavor, with a contemporary, very clean presentation," Petro says, adding some of their most popular dishes include Asiago chicken, corn salsa (also served at their food truck, Sweet Carrot), seven-onion soup and short ribs.
This marriage of catering and event space is exactly what Petro envisioned when she first toured the historic building. Says Petro, "I started my company 18 years ago, and this [space] was a dream come true."