Things We Love: Liz Lessner edition
1277 Grandview Ave., Grandview
Stauf’s Coffee is the oldest craft coffee roaster [in Columbus]. They opened in the ’90s and I had just moved to Columbus from San Francisco. It was the only good coffee. And since then a lot of coffee has sprung out of there. It’s been kind of an incubator of a wave of wonderful new coffee roasters. We actually have a scene here, a really strong scene, and it’s taken off from one place. I’m just really proud of the influence this place has had. It’s nice to see these pioneers that have had a ripple effect on the rest of the city.
Director of public services, City of Columbus
She’s a badass. She was the former director of building services and these things sound boring, but it’s important to growing Columbus. I’ve built six restaurants so far, seven on the way … in the urban core and it takes a lot of public/private partnerships to get that done. Public service oversees roads, streets, sidewalks and trash — all these things that seem boring, but are huge when you’re talking about cycling and patios and sidewalks. I’m really excited about her new role and mark my words, Columbus is going to really thrive under her leadership. She’s exactly the type of official we need to get things done here. She gets it. And that’s awesome.
3415 E. Broad St., Bexley
They’re a classic old bagel place, and they make them exactly right. I eat them every holiday … and they’re a staple of my diet. I think they’re overlooked because of their location. They’re the authentic New York-style bagel; they have this old school quality. I get an everything bagel with olive cream cheese on it.
Strongwater Food and Spirits
401 W. Town St., Franklinton
I have been so impressed with Chris Sherman and Kris Howell. They’ve been overseeing that [400 West Rich] project. It’s a really ambitious project. There are a thousand things happening there — The Dinin’ Hall and the market — and Chris Sherman has really been invested in that space. Strongwater is the sort of crowning triumph. It’ll open soon, and it’s the jewel on the entire project. You actually feel energy when you walk down the street. It’s been very inspiring, and the bar’s representative, the sort of stake in the ground, that’s jumpstarting the growth around it.
Franklinton is Columbus’ oldest neighborhood, and it’s nice to see it come back. It caught my eye when I moved here in ’96 because it’s so close to Downtown, it hugs the river and it’s really just been ignored and not very loved for a long, long time. People who are from Franklinton are proud of that neighborhood, and it’s an inspiring place when I think of the history and the flooding. There are these mainstays there, like Tommy’s Diner, one of the best diners in town, and Milo’s Deli, and like Block’s they’re in unsung parts of the city that matter. Central Ohio’s a place where we knock stuff down and build new, and I really want to embrace our past and history and identity, and Franklinton has a lot of that.
Restaurateur, People to Watch alumna