DINING

Food News: Afra Grill opens Easton location; St. James Tavern is back

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

Erin Edwards
Jollof rice with beef, beans, kachumbari, plantains and green sauce at Afra Grill.

Openings & Announcements 

Fast-casual restaurant Afra Grill opens its second Central Ohio location today (Monday, May 2) at Easton Town Center. The Pan-African eatery from owner Abdirahman "Abcos" Ahmed is located at 3922 Townsfair Way, next to World of Beer. The original location at 1635 Morse Road was named one of Columbus Monthly’s 2021 Best New Restaurants.  

Bar owner Michelle Hill shared on social media that St. James Tavern (1057 N. Fourth St.) has quietly reopened. The bar shut down in March 2020 because of the pandemic, with Hill opting to keep its doors closed for more than two years while the pandemic raged on. 

More:Michelle Hill and St. James Tavern will (hopefully) see you next summer

A rapidly growing fast-casual chain is set to debut its first Central Ohio franchise. The Hummus & Pita Co. will kick off its grand opening Saturday, May 7, at 1777 Hilliard-Rome Road. The Hilliard location of the Mediterranean restaurant, owned by sibling franchisees Pranay and Ashish Patel, is the first of a three-unit expansion plan in Ohio. The festivities will kick off at 11 a.m. when the first 50 attendees will receive a free falafel pita. The Hummus & Pita Co. was founded in 2012 in Brooklyn, New York, and has storefronts in stores in New York, Connecticut and Michigan. 

In case you missed it, the Lindey’s (169 E. Beck St.) patio is now open for the season. The reopening of the beloved German Village patio coincides with the debut of a new wine and cocktail menu developed by Gregory Stokes, Lindey’s new-ish beverage director. 

All of those future Intel chip plant workers will have a spot for their morning coffee. Leonard’s Coffee Roasting Co., a small batch coffee roaster, is planning to open a coffeehouse and roastery in June at 32 S. Main St. in Johnstown, according to a post on the roaster’s Instagram account

Events 

Six One Pour: The Ohio Craft Beer Fest returns to Columbus Saturday, May 14, after a two-year hiatus. 8-11 p.m. The Center of Science & Industry (COSI) will host the popular beer festival, which will feature 55 independent Ohio craft breweries. Six One Pour is the signature event of Columbus Craft Beer Week presented by Giant Eagle, a nine-day celebration of craft beer running May 13-21 with events held at more than 40 local breweries, bars and restaurants. You can purchase tickets to Six One Pour here

The Hills Market Downtown (95 N. Grant Ave.) will also soon host its first in-person event in over two years. On Saturday, May 21, from noon to 3 p.m. the market is throwing A Downtown Picnic, a celebration of local cheese, snacks, wines and cocktails. The $10 ticket will get attendees samples from local food vendors, unlimited tastings of wines, cocktails and other beverages, and an entry to win a packed picnic basket. A DJ will also be on hand for the festivities. Tickets are on sale here

Chef News 

Chef Catie Randazzo, who assumed the role of head chef at Strongwater Food & Spirits (401 W. Town St.) in January, announced that they were recently “removed from my position” by the Franklinton restaurant’s owners. In a post on Randazzo’s Instagram account, the former Ambrose and Eve chef-owner stated: “I am still very much planning on being a part of the Franklinton community but will be focusing on nonprofit work.”