Ohio Restaurant Magazine, Spring 2015 - page 10

Spring 2015 Issue
Was it a risk putting something so
different in downtown Columbus?
Who are your patrons?
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. It was
risky in that it was a new concept for our
friends downtown, but it wasn’t like we were
doing anything revolutionary. It was risky
in that rent in the area is high, but we also
have 40,000 people within a few square
blocks of us looking for a good place to
eat lunch. We knew we would have trouble
getting people downtown on the weekends
(although with all the new development in
the area, we plan on opening for lunch on
Saturdays starting this spring), but we also
had a built-in crowd during the week. So it
definitely goes both ways, but we knew if
we could provide a quality product served
by a friendly team who took good care of
the folks in the area, we had a good chance
at success.
Do you find it difficult to
source local ingredients?
We had some friends in the restaurant and
local grocery store business who pointed
us to some great local partners early on.
Once we got rolling, the word spread,
and now we’re often approached by new
farmers/bakers/brewers in the area.
It’s not always easy though. It’s obviously
difficult to find Ohio produce during the
winter months, but we’re always able to
serve Ohio meats, cheeses, grains, and beer.
The truth is, we just look for the best food
available. And because we live in Ohio, when
produce is in season, it’s an easy choice to
go local. My favorite time of year is when we
get our local heirloom tomatoes in during the
late summer/early fall.
What advice do you have for other
restaurants that source locally or
want to source locally?
Local producers really want to be a part of
your restaurant, but at the beginning you
have to find them. Swing by your local
independent grocery store (Hills Market
and Weinland’s, in our case), and talk to the
people who work there about their favorite
local suppliers. Then reach out to them.
And never turn anyone down who wants to
stop by and drop off samples - that’s how
we find 90% of our partners. Plus, you get
free samples...
What advice do you have to new
restaurant owners in general?
Embrace the process (good and
bad). Never become complacent. Show
your patrons and associates that you
appreciate them. Work with passion.
Co-owner Anthony Micheli, left, oversees daily operations at Market 65.
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