Food News: Bojangles Coming to Columbus; COVID-19 Relief for Restaurants Passes Senate

Restaurant openings, closings and more Central Ohio food and drink news

Erin Edwards

In news that seemed to rock the region last week, Bojangles announced it is opening 15 restaurants in Columbus. The fast-food chain, founded in Charlotte, North Carolina, is best known for its fried chicken and biscuits. Specific locations in Central Ohio have not yet been announced. Bojangles’ first entry into Ohio comes at a time when locally owned fried chicken spots keep popping up, including The Crispy Coop, Honey’s Fried Chicken & Biscuits (from the owners of Preston’s), Boxwood Biscuit Co. and Meshikou Chikin. 

Today is International Women’s Day 2021, which means several Ohio breweries are marking the day with a women's “brew day” and beer releases. Locally, Wolf’s Ridge Brewing is planning a release of its Ladies Who Brunch imperial breakfast stout, and Nocterra is releasing a raspberry milkshake blonde ale, dubbed Take A Hike. The Ohio Craft Brewers Association has a list of Ohio events and releases related to International Women’s Day here

Cleveland-based Barrio Tacos has announced a second Columbus location — this one coming to the University District. Barrio, a competitor of locally owned Condado Tacos, is expected to open this summer in the 15+High development at 15th Avenue and High Street. The build-your-own-taco chain opened its first Central Ohio location last year at 1416 W. Fifth Ave. in Grandview.  

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package passed by the U.S. Senate on Saturday includes $28.6 billion in debt-free relief for restaurants and bars, one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. The amended bill now heads back to the House, which is scheduled to vote on the legislation Tuesday. The $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (increased from $25 billion) will offer grants to small- and medium-sized businesses, such as independent restaurants, bars, breweries, taprooms and more. A proposed $15 minimum wage raise was left out of the Senate bill. 

Last week, the food delivery service DoorDash announced the winners its COVID-19 Restaurant Relief Grant program, including 32 Central Ohio businesses. The $5,000 grants can be used to cover operating costs such as rent, payroll, expanding outdoor dining capacity and other expenses. Here's a list of Central Ohio’s 32 grant recipients