Columbus Monthly took a look inside Cameron Mitchell Restaurants' food hall project in Italian Village.

Seventh Son Brewing Co. co-founder Collin Castore, speaking Tuesday during a tour of Budd Dairy Food Hall, recalls how empty Italian Village was just a few years ago when his Fourth Street brewery opened in 2012. The first time he saw people walking down Fourth Street, he remembers thinking, “All right, this is going to be a neighborhood.”

On Tuesday, two new businesses announced they are set to join the neighborhood.

Modern Southern Table, created by Sadaya “Daisy” Lewis, and Alphabetical Comfort Kitchen, founded by Jordan Lamatrice, will join previously announced “chef partners” Darista and Borgata Pizza Cafe, when the Budd Dairy Food Hall opens in Italian Village later this year.

Budd Dairy is a partnership between Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR) and local developer Kevin Lykens. Located at 1086 N. Fourth St. (across from Seventh Son), the building dates to 1916, with Budd Dairy Co. operating in the space until 1967.

Chef Daisy Lewis brings Modern Southern Table to Columbus after launching seven years ago. She operated in the food court of Zanesville’s Colony Square Mall after appearing in and winning Food Network’s “Food Court Wars” in March 2014. Lewis’ menu consists of Southern classics such as gumbo, fried chicken and mac ’n’ cheese. She also plans to introduce new menu items such as crab rice, a dish that celebrates the Gullah food culture of South Carolina. 

Lewis, who hails from Mobile, Alabama, says Modern Southern Table is about paying homage to African-American cooking traditions passed down through her family for generations and to memories like Sunday dinners at her grandmother’s house.

“I can’t wait to share a good, wholesome meal with the people of Columbus, a community I’ve considered to be family for a long time,” Lewis said in an announcement released Tuesday. “I’m looking forward to sharing meals made from scratch and with love; meals that will remind people of home.”

Meanwhile, Alphabetical, which started as a food truck and catering company, will offer Lamatrice’s twist on classic sandwiches, salads, soups and sides. The Braised and Confused sandwich, for example, combines braised beef topped with caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and a tangy jicama slaw. 

“No one does quality food and customer service better than Cameron Mitchell Restaurants,” Lamatrice said in the statement. “This is such an amazing opportunity to learn from the absolute best of the best.”

In restoring the historic dairy building, CMR and Lykens are keeping many original architectural elements—from white tiled walls to marble staircases—making the project arguably CMR’s most complex to date. “We’ve never done this before, but I know we can figure it out,” said Steve Weis, CMR’s vice president of development, speaking on Tuesday.

The 14,000-square-foot food hall will spread across two floors and feature a rooftop deck. The venue will include three bars, with CMR handling all aspects of service for the space. Its eight food vendors (or “chef partners”) have been selected from a pool of 110 applicants through what CMR describes as a “Shark Tank”-style process. The final four vendors (plus a dessert offering) will be announced at a later date. “Hatch,” another kitchen space, will give the opportunity for other vendors that didn’t make the cut to offer their food via pop-up.

For more information about Budd Dairy’s chef partners, visit budddairyfoodhall.com.