Inside the closing of DeepWood

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

Downtown's DeepWood restaurant closed for good after dinner service on New Year's Eve. It was a sudden decision, says owner Amber Herron, who broke the news to the staff that evening.

DeepWood was located at the corner of High and West Swan street, across from the Convention Center. It's a part of town notorious as a restaurant dead zone with eateries seemingly coming and going every few years. But Herron says she loved their address, saying DeepWood drew a lot of business from nearby hotels and convention goers. It was a popular spot among locals for its happy hour deals and inventive American fare.

Herron stresses that DeepWood was not in financial trouble and they were not being kicked out by their landlord. When the restaurant opened in 2008, Herron took over a six and a half year lease from the previous tenant. That lease was up in November, and is what got her thinking it was time to move on.

"It just kind of felt like our time," she says. "We've done what we set out to do, we did it well, and now is our time."

When asked why she didn't offer her staff prior notice of the closing, Herron says she wanted to give them a chance to say goodbye the right way. The restaurant is traditionally closed for a holiday break the week after New Year's, so she felt the timing was right. All staff has been "financially taken care of," she says.

There's no word on what executive chef Brian Pawlak will do next. Herron says he is deciding whether to stay in Columbus or head back to the East Coast (he grew up in New Jersey).

Diners with unused DeepWood gift cards can reach out to Herron via email at, for a full refund.

"I don't think there's any reason to be sorry," Herron says. "Owning a restaurant was always my childhood dream and it got to be a reality. It's a bittersweet thing, not a sad thing. My heartfelt thanks to Columbus; it has been a great experience."