Bodega owner completes updates and teases Tavernesque opening

Nicholas Dekker, Columbus Alive contributor

Brian Swanson, new owner of Bodega, has completed renovations on the Short North eatery, including decorative updates and revamped seating inside and out. Swanson said he's "had to walk a fine line" between performing updates while maintaining the feel of the popular restaurant and watering hole.

Swanson said he's optimized the space to allow diners to sit and stay for while. He's updated the bar stools and added seating that wraps around the perimeter of the restaurant; he's also added more bar railings on the patio.

The menu retained popular dishes like shrimp and cheddar grits and the grilled cheese Mondays, but has been expanded to include burgers, nachos, pork bites with Ray Ray's dipping sauce and a PB&J made with Krema peanut butter, dipped in cornflakes and baked. Swanson has also strengthened the vegetarian menu with items like a veggie burger, grain salad with faro and a Thai peanut bowl.

Swanson completely revamped the brunch menu, too. The popular chicken and waffles have remained, but menu additions include burritos, egg sandwiches, Cocoa Pebbles waffles and huevos rancheros.

Swanson is also opening Tavernesque at 260 S. 4th St., next to the new brick-and-mortar Mikey's Late Night Slice. He describes it as a hip neighborhood diner, open from lunch to late night during the week, and from brunch to late night on weekends. He plans to take advantage of Tavernesque's corner location to install accordion windows that will open to the street. He's aiming for an early summer opening.

Nicholas Dekker writes about breakfast at and authored the guidebook "Breakfast With Nick: Columbus," with a second edition coming spring 2015. He leads breakfast and brunch tours for Columbus Food Adventures and brewery tours for Columbus Brew Adventures.