FOOD

Accent's Gregory Stokes Buys the Bottle Shop on King Avenue

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

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
Gregory Stokes

News

The funky cocktail bar and natural wine carryout the Bottle Shop (237 King Ave.) is now under new ownership. Gregory Stokes, the co-owner of Accent Wine and Ohio’s only Master Sommelier candidate, purchased the business last week from owners Barbara Reynolds and German Vasquez. Stokes was named a Columbus Monthly Tastemaker in 2019, and during his tenure as general manager and sommelier at Veritas, the Downtown restaurant was named one of America’s Best Wine Restaurants by Wine Enthusiast. Stokes is returning to the neighborhood where his fine-dining career began: He was the bar manager of Dragonfly Neo-V and Till Dynamic Fare, a pair of King Avenue restaurants owned by James Beard-nominated chef Magdiale Wolmark that were located just two doors up from where the Bottle Shop is today.  

Earlier this year, the Bottle Shop was recognized by Wine Enthusiast as one of America’s best wine shops, but it has also experienced controversy of late. The sale comes not long after a manager at the Bottle Shop was fired and seven other employees quit in solidarity, claiming untenable working conditions. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Reynolds and Vasquez had been negotiating with several staff members to sell them the Bottle Shop when relations “turned sour.”  

Stokes tells Columbus Monthly that he doesn’t plan to make any major changes to the Bottle Shop in the near term, though he may give the space “some polish” in a few months. “What Barbara has done is she has created her own niche in the wine drinking community. It definitely leans more heavily to the minimal intervention, natural wine side. I think a lot of the crowd that goes to shop there for wine is very different from the clientele that I have here [at Accent],” he says. “My intention really is to get to know the staff, get to know the people who go there, and really just kind of listen to them and understand what the space wants to be, rather than sort of impose my will upon [the Bottle Shop]." 

Openings & Announcements 

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing’s longtime executive chef, Seth Lassak, has departed the award-winning brewpub. His last day was Sunday. Lassak has been with the Downtown restaurant since its inception in 2013, and led the restaurant to a No. 1 ranking on Columbus Monthly’s 10 Best Restaurants list in 2018. “Our team wants to thank Seth Lassak for his dedication to Wolf's Ridge Brewing and his commitment to the success of the restaurant and his staff. We wish him the best of luck in his new endeavor and can't wait to see what he cooks up next,” Wolf’s Ridge said in a statement. 

Stone Bar & Kitchen, a 3,200-square-foot sports bar, is now open at 1045 Bethel Road, serving wood-fired pizzas, steaks, mussels, burgers and more.  

Closings

Phillip’s on Wheels food truck announced on social media this week that the longtime Coney dog business is shutting down, ending a run of 110 years for the family-run hot dog eatery. It first launched in 1912 as Phillip’s Coney Island.  

Events

Watershed Distillery’s Annual NocinoFest returns to the Grandview-area distillery, located at 1145 Chesapeake Ave., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Watershed, which began producing the Italian walnut liqueur in 2014, remains one of the few producers of nocino in the U.S. The holiday event will feature Watershed’s annual nocino release plus the exclusive unveiling of a new product: Watershed’s Black Walnut Old Fashioned, a bottled and ready-to-drink cocktail. The family-friendly event is free to attend and will feature complimentary bites from Watershed Kitchen + Bar, nocino-inspired cocktails for purchase at the bar and a chance to enter a limited-release lottery for Watershed’s Nocino Finished Bourbon 003. Columbus Humane will also have adoptable dogs on site for snuggles. Learn more about NocinoFest here.