Middle West Spirits Announces Expansion; Valentina’s Opening in May

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

Erin Edwards
Columbus Monthly
A rendering of Middle West Spirits' expansion on Alum Creek Drive in Columbus.

Openings & Announcements 

Central Ohio’s first craft distillery, Middle West Spirits, announced big expansion news on Monday. The Columbus-based distillery unveiled plans for a multiyear buildout of its distillery and operational facilities at a 14-acre campus at 1165 Alum Creek Drive in the Driving Park community. According to a press release, the expansion will make Middle West Spirits “a top 10 grain-to-glass whiskey and spirits producer in the U.S. overall and the largest distillery in Ohio.” Middle West’s growth is also expected to create 80 new jobs over the next three years. The addition of the Alum Creek campus was initially announced in 2020, with plans for new offices, warehousing and operations space. Today's announcement includes a 75,000-square-foot distillery, a grain recycling center, packaging and bottling facility, as well as a possible bar/restaurant site. Distilling will continue to take place at the original Courtland Avenue facility in the Short North. “We are excited about the Alum Creek development and the future of our company. The expansion of our operations allows us to hit capacities, aging goals and the volumes needed to continue to develop our brands and partnership programs,” said Ryan Lang, founder and chief executive officer of the 15-year-old distillery. Hiring is set to begin immediately. 

Also on Monday, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants announced an opening date for Valentina’s, its latest addition to the Central Ohio dining scene. The Italian restaurant, located at 4595 Bridge Park Ave. in Dublin, will debut Tuesday, May 30, for lunch and dinner. CMR has opened hiring for the Bridge Park restaurant and expects to add 110 new jobs. The concept’s inspiration is Valentina Abbona, the winemaker and owner behind Italy’s Marchesi di Barolo Winery. CMR’s senior leadership team traveled to the vineyard in 2018 to celebrate the restaurant group’s 15th anniversary. 

The Italian Village ice cream sandwich shop S’witch Social will reopen for the season on Wednesday, March 29. S’witch Social is a build-your-own sandwich concept that allows customers to choose from a variety of cookies and ice cream. The shop has been closed since November, when a vehicle crashed into its storefront at 869 N. Fourth St. 

YF Chinese Cuisine has replaced Ichi Japanese BBQ at 5225 Godown Road in Northwest Columbus. Already garnering some buzz, YF Chinese specializes in authentic dishes such as dry pot cauliflower, ma po tofu, squid with garlic chives, eggplant with minced pork and much more. 

The owners of Zeno’s have opened the Vic Village Tavern at 251 W. Fifth Ave., formerly home to the Shrunken Head. The neighborhood bar will offer live music, trivia nights and karaoke.  

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing announced its new executive chef last week. Chef Kristopher Ludwig has been elevated from the role of sous chef to lead the Wolf’s Ridge kitchen as well as the Downtown taproom and events space, the Hickory Room. Read more about chef Ludwig here

Little Cat, a boba tea shop from the owner of Koso Hae, is now officially open for business inside East Market at 212 Kelton Ave. Little Cat offers a menu of milk teas, specialty boba teas, coffee pourovers, espresso drinks, hot teas and fun sippers like a yuzu spritz or umeboshi espresso tonic. 

The Mexican food truck La Poblanita reopens for the season today, March 27, at 3825 Indianola Ave. in Clintonville. 


Short North Piece of Cake has shuttered at 772 N. High St., not long after the bakery’s 25th anniversary.