Guide: Everything You Need to Know about North Market Bridge Park
With sushi, vegan fare, a robust bar, a centralized point-of-sale system and lots of open air, the North Market up north embodies a modern public market
In the late 19th century, Columbus boasted four public markets: Central, North, East and West. But by 1966, the North Market was the sole survivor (despite being destroyed by fire in 1948). That’s why last year’s addition of a second North Market, aka North Market Bridge Park, feels momentous. Especially if you believe that public markets are vital to the cultural and economic life of a city. And especially given that the market, a place meant to bring people together, opened amid the pandemic.
“We used to have a public market system … and we’re the last one standing. So, we’ve created a market system again. … We have two, but there’s more opportunity potentially down the line,” says North Market’s executive director Rick Harrison Wolfe.
Even if you are a die-hard fan of the original North Market at 59 Spruce St., it’s worth visiting its smaller, more modern sibling in Dublin. Has it been a minute since you ate at Lan Viet, the historic North Market staple? Its second location in Dublin has a refreshed menu, making it a must-visit. Are you vegan? The new market has you covered thanks to The Little Kitchen, Kintsugi Sushi Bar and Falafel Kitchen. Enjoy fresh air and adult beverages while you browse? The new market has both in spades.
When would-be investors have reached out to Wolfe over the years about opening another market in Central Ohio, his first question was: “Are you prepared to lose money for 10 years?” When Crawford Hoying contacted him in 2018 about opening a market in their budding mixed-use development in Dublin, he asked the same question but liked what he heard: The developer wanted the market to be a “resource for our community.”
“I said, ‘Well, you might’ve called the right person,’” Wolfe says. “What I’m feeling right now is we’re going to get on steady ground a lot more quickly than I thought we would.”
In terms of sales, Wolfe says the Bridge Park vendors are already performing at pre-pandemic projections. The recent passage of Dublin’s Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area will likely encourage foot traffic (and sales) even more. Customers will be able to grab a DORA drink at the North Market’s bar and wander outdoors to neighboring watering holes and even across the Dublin Link suspension bridge to the west side of Bridge Park and vice versa.
“Everything is busier because of [the DORA],” says Wolfe, who notes that the market sold 1,600 DORA cups during the first weekend the new measure was in place. “We have a whole night scene that doesn’t exist [Downtown],” he says.
And with the addition of the market’s new butcher shop/grocery, Saddleberk, the market will soon tick off staples like meat, milk and veggies for residents who live nearby.
“Saddleberk will be a major game-changer for all merchants,” Wolfe says. “We’re getting to a place where you can get [the makings of] a whole meal there.”
Here’s a guide to North Market Bridge Park (6750 Longshore St.) to help you get acquainted.
The North Market Bridge Park Vendors:
Pete Volker and Wayne Lin’s sizable bar and retail shop is the focal point of the market’s north end, offering local spirits, craft beer, wines and craft sodas to enjoy on-site or at home. The bar offers ample patio space as well.
Coastal Local Seafood
One of the first four vendors to open at Bridge Park last fall, this fresh seafood market boasts a premium corner location with wide-open garage doors and counter seats for enjoying fresh oysters and lobster rolls.
The family-run Northern Vietnamese eatery Lan Viet is one of the longest-running food merchants at the historic North Market on Spruce Street. As its owner, Lan Pham, eyes retirement, her son Khanh Le has taken the lead in refreshing the menu at Lan Viet’s new location at Bridge Park. With more space to work with up north and a fresh perspective, Le has expanded the menu to fantastic results from both a sales and culinary standpoint. (He says adding more appetizers has been good for business.) Highlights of the new menu include a flash-fried beef pho, addictive garlic noodles, lightly fried tofu bites, salt-and-pepper prawns (Le encourages you to eat them whole, shell and all) and some of the most flavorful chicken wings in town.
The Little Kitchen
Chloe Graffeo’s vegan eatery gained a loyal following as a food truck for the past three years. Graffeo serves 100 percent vegan and mostly organic salads, sandwiches, wraps, milkshakes and more.
A Spruce Street staple, Dos Hermanos offers Mexican eats such as tacos, quesadillas and tamales. On sunny days, customers can sit at the merchant’s welcoming outdoor counter.
Bake Me Happy
This is the second location for Bake Me Happy, the women-owned, gluten-free bakery that started in Merion Village. It specializes in nostalgic treats like Zebra Cakes and Oatmeal Crème Clouds.
BREaD Bakery + Café
This bakery from owner Kim Hendrix is the market’s primary source for baked goods such as French baguettes, ciabattas, sourdough and other loaves along with croissants, baguette sandwiches and some sweet pastries.
Katy Ailabouni’s Mediterranean food stall specializes in veggie-centric pita sandwiches featuring house-made falafel, red lentil soup, spinach pies, salads and more. Don’t miss the kitchen’s selection of savory and sweet baked goods such as za’atar bread and vegan baklava.
Kintsugi Sushi Bar
Despite his expertise as a trained sushi chef, Seigo Nishimura’s introduction to the local food scene started with Satori Ramen Bar in the North Market Downtown. It was only a matter of time before he opened a sushi spot, and Kintsugi does not disappoint. The new eatery offers familiar nigiri and maki sushi, sure, but not to be missed are its signature hand rolls and yakitori (grilled proteins and veggies on bamboo skewers). With both, Nishimura says he wanted to offer something that would be easy for guests to eat on the go. The temaki hand rolls (I recommend scallop or unagi) come with a soy sauce gelée that saves you from having to mess with dipping. There are also gluten-free and vegan sushi options. Kintsugi is named for the Japanese art of repairing cracks in broken pottery with gold or other precious metals, thus emphasizing imperfections. Nishimura says Kintsugi seemed like the perfect name for the time we’re living through. “Once COVID happened, the name had more meaning,” he says. “I like the idea that we are the gold. COVID happened and the community separated, but we wanted to be the ones that [brought] all of those people together.”
Christy Walters’ shop at North Market Bridge Park sells no food or drink. Instead, she focuses on helping consumers make more eco-friendly, sustainable choices in their lives. “Kitchen, bathroom and on-the-go are our three categories. We have those signs on the wall,” she says. “Within those three categories, we try to offer a curated selection of zero-waste, low-waste, sustainable products for conscious consumers.” Some of the items she carries include reusable stainless-steel straws, reusable wine and cocktail glasses, beeswax food wrap to replace plastic wrap, bamboo toothbrushes, bamboo toilet paper, reusable utensils and food containers, and much more. Walters says one of the shop’s most popular services is its refill stations. Customers can bring in their own reusable containers to fill with dish soap, hand soap, shampoo and other liquids. “We can make little tweaks in our purchasing every day” to combat plastic pollution, Walters says. “We created Reuse Revolution because there are all these huge, huge problems that feel very scary and hard to unravel, so we to try to [give] bite-size, digestible action steps so people can feel like they’re in control.”
Like Pastaria in the original North Market, Pasta Ditoni’s offers fresh pastas and sauces for making Italian meals at home. The spot also sells desserts and Lavazza espresso drinks.
Bubbles Tea & Juice Co.
Owner Eric Ling’s shop, which offers smoothies, bubble teas, cold-pressed juices and açaí bowls, opened its first location in the historic North Market more than 15 years ago. He now has nine in Central Ohio.
The market will feature one vendor that rotates in and out every few months. First up is Cody Miller’s ice pop cart, Rime Time Curiously Crafted Pops.
The Pit BBQ Grille
The growing chain, owned by four friends from Ohio State, specializes in Cleveland-style barbecue, Polish Boy sandwiches and comforting sides.
As a butcher, grocer and restaurant, Saddleberk has a star role to play in North Market Bridge Park’s lineup. The Urbana-based heritage-breed pork producer is run by two veterans of the food and drink scene, Watershed Distillery co-founders Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo. At 1,000 square feet, Saddleberk’s first-ever retail shop will be the largest in the Dublin market, offering Ohio-raised meats, farm-fresh produce, eggs, dairy products, spices and other specialty grocery items. The business will also offer a food menu put together by chef Jack Dale Bennett, a former Watershed Kitchen & Bar sous chef. “Crawford Hoying has done such a fantastic job in creating a community there,” Rigo says. “You go and there’s something for everyone and quite a few apartments and condos … and now the connection to old Dublin with the walking bridge. It’s a beautiful concept that’s worked really well.”
Hoyo’s Sambusas & Juices
The owners of Hoyo’s Kitchen, the popular Somali fast-casual restaurant in the historic North Market, are planning an abbreviated version at Bridge Park that will focus on savory Somali-style pastries, fresh juices and chai.
Black Radish Creamery
The sequel gourmet cheese shop from owners John and Anne Reese offers all the fixings you need for a stellar wine and cheese party: Black Radish’s award-winning preserves, curated cheeses, crackers and more.
Executive director Rick Harrison Wolfe says a pizzeria is planned for the space between Lan Viet and The Little Kitchen; a yet-to-be-named florist will take the space next to Reuse Revolution. At press time, Saddleberk, The Pit BBQ Grille and Hoyo’s Sambusas & Juices had not yet opened.
Editor’s Note: After this story ran in the July issue of Columbus Monthly, North Market Bridge Park named its forthcoming pizza vendor: Gallo’s Pizzeria, from the owners of Gallo’s Tap Room and Gallo’s Kitchen & Bar and Gallo’s on High.
Dream Market Matchups
Japanese takeout: sushi from Kintsugi, sake from Market Bar and reusable chopsticks from Reuse Revolution
Tex-Mex fiesta: street tacos from Dos Hermanos with salted-rim margaritas from Market Bar
DIY cheese board: cheeses and preserves from Black Radish Creamery, baguettes from BREaD Bakery and Saddleberk charcuterie
Bottoms up: $5 oyster shooters from Coastal Local Seafood and Market Bar during happy hour
Walk the Walk
Entertaining out-of-towners? Columbus Food Adventures has a new walking food tour that roams from historic Dublin to the modern Bridge Park development. Tastings will take place at each of the stops, including a visit to North Market 2.0. The tour takes place on Saturdays. Learn more about the Dublin Walking Tour here.
Market by the Numbers
- $5 million+ project cost, according to Crawford Hoying
- 18 permanent merchants
- 1 pop-up merchant
- 20,000 square feet in the front-of-house
- 8,000 square feet in the back-of-house
- 50 indoor tables
- 10–15 bistro tables along the market’s west side
- 15 bistro tables on Market Bar’s patio
State of the Art
Since the North Market Development Authority, the nonprofit organization that runs the market, was able to work with Crawford Hoying on the public market’s design from the start, Wolfe says the space has “everything we wanted and more.”
Here are some of the bells and whistles:
Centralized point-of-sale system
Data, data, data. Rather than waiting for monthly reports, the Bridge Park market’s vendors and leadership team have access to up-to-the-minute sales data and information about peak business times.
In an era in which good ventilation is highly desirable, the new North Market stands out for its combination of garage doors and folding NanaWall glass walls, which help create a breezy, open-air atmosphere in warmer months.
Probably one of the best features of North Market 2.0 is behind the scenes. The historic Downtown market has its charms, but the cramped basement storage is not one of them. The new market offers more space for merchant storage and prep, plus easy access via ramps—no stairs or elevator required.
Customers must pay to park at the original North Market (at a reduced rate with a stamped ticket), and its vendors must search for parking elsewhere. At Bridge Park, there’s ample free parking in a garage on the building’s east side.