Where are they now? Lisa McKivergin, restorer, restaurateur, real estate agent, entrepreneur

Kristen Schmidt

When Columbus Monthly was looking for people to feature in the magazine's inaugural issue, under the cover line "Will Victorian Village Make It?", they found McKivergin (her last name then was Galat) and posed her on a ladder in the front room of her house.

I had a couple of houses between Third and Fourth [streets] on Neil Avenue, and I was head of the historical society for Victorian Village. I wanted to be an architect. But I didn't need to be an architect; I just needed a sledgehammer. By the time it was '79 or '80, I had probably done six or seven [restorations], and then I did (prix fixe restaurant) A Matter of Taste, which was in this building I got at Dennison and Fifth [avenues], on Friday and Saturday nights. It was so ballsy to do a six-course menu with no choices. I had gone to La Varenne and Le Cordon Bleu [cooking schools in France], and I was this educated, unemployable person. I thought, I don't think I'm going to get a job. I couldn't type. Well, I have to get bigger so I can hire a few people. So I thought, I'll do The Clock. Restoration was my passion, and it was a real dive. I had to figure out how to borrow $570,000, and by then I was single. I hocked all my real estate. I thought, everything I touch, I do well, so this will never go bad. The Clock was so magnificent it won national awards. The reality of it is, I had the best education possible for what I do now. I have a small ownership of the Buxton Inn, and that is restaurant and restoration. And I live in Granville, a community I love and give back to in a lot of ways. Columbus has been good for me, and now Columbus is off and running. -As told to Kristen Schmidt